The Living World
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The Brandt Line and the World Bank Classification

Countries are constantly developing economically, culturally, socially, and technologically. Greater advancements in these areas indicate a country’s higher level of development.

Measuring development levels is complex, relying on various factors and available data. Countries are categorised into groups that reflect their level of development levels, and the criteria for this categorisation are evolving.

The Brandt Line

In the past, the Brand Line divided the world into two sections:

  • The rich North
  • The poor South

This division placed South America, Africa and Southern Asia in the ‘poor’ category, indicating little to no development. However, many changes in the 21st century have challenged this binary classification. many countries no longer fit a simple classification as ‘poor’.

A simplified world map highlighting the continents in green and red. North America, Europe, Asia and Australia are labelled in green, while Africa and South Africa are labelled in red. An orange line labelled 'Brandt line' divides the northern and southern parts of the map, indicating a socio-economic division between the more developed regions in the north and less developed regions in the south.

The World Bank Classification

The World Bank is an international financial institution. Part of its purpose is to provide loans and grants to countries with less advanced economies, aiming to help with reaching development targets in areas such as infrastructure, healthcare and more.

The World Bank’s classification system is used globally to categorise different countries into one of three groups based on their Gross National Income (GNI) per capita:

  • Low Income Countries (LICs) – Countries that have a GNI per capita of $1,045 or less.
  • Medium Income Countries (MICs) – countries with a GNI per capita between $1,045 and $12,695.
  • High Income Countries (HICs) – countries with a GNI per capita above £12,696
Gross National Income (GNI)The total domestic and international income earned by residents of a country, divided by the country’s population. It represents the average income of a country’s residents.

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