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A developing country, also called a less developed country or underdeveloped country, is a nation or sovereign state with a less developed industrial base and a low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, since the late 1990s developing countries tended to demonstrate higher growth rates than the developed ones. There are no universally agreed-upon criteria for what makes a country developing versus developed and which countries fit these two categories, although there are general reference points such as a nation's GDP per capita compared to other nations. Also, the general term less-developed country should not be confused with the specific least developed country.
There is criticism of the use of the term developing country. The term implies inferiority of a developing country or undeveloped country compared to a developed country, which many countries dislike. It assumes a desire to develop along the traditional Western model of economic development which a few countries, such as Cuba and Bhutan, choose not to follow. An alternative measurement that has been suggested is that of gross national happiness. Countries on the boundary between developed and developing are often categorized under the term newly industrialized countries.
According to authors such as Walt Whitman Rostow, developing countries are in transition from traditional lifestyles towards the modern lifestyle which began in the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In the 2016 edition of its World Development Indicators, the World Bank made a decision to no longer distinguish between “developed” and “developing” countries in the presentation of its data. Nobody has ever agreed on a definition for these terms in the first place.
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