Is El Salvador a Third World Country?

people walking on pedestrian lane during daytime

To cut to the chase, yes, El Salvador is a third-world country. In fact, a vast majority of countries in the world, excluding the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, and Western European countries, are considered developing countries. These countries include El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

In this article, we’ll look into the details that make El Salvador a third-world country. If you’d like to know more than what is stated here, then you’ll have to read this through.

Let’s begin!

Why’s El Salvador a Third-World Country?

Being third-world is not such a terrible thing. It’s just the proper description for every country that is still developing. We all know that development takes time, but to take the title “First World,” then much development must be achieved.

Back in the day, being third-world was only a description for countries that were not aligned with communist blocs. In that case, your independence earns you the third-world tag. It didn’t seem derogatory until recently when countries were bad-mouthed for their government’s ineptitude.

By and large, the World Bank makes it clear that a country’s Gross National Income (GNI) is what determines whether a country is first-world, second-world, or third-world.

How to Identify Third-World Countries

There are features in an economy that leads you to one conclusion— it must be a developing country. Here are some of them

1.   Non-Alignment

This is the primary definition of a third-world country. These countries are not aligned with NATO or the Warsaw pact during the Cold War. At the time, countries aligned with NATO were called first-world countries.

Those countries aligned with Warsaw were called the second world. Non-aligned countries then fell into the third-world category. Though these realities no longer exist, categorization is still important in teaching history.

2.   They’re Mostly Developing Countries

All first and second-world countries are developed countries. Developed countries barely have limitations as to health care, low gross domestic product, or high mortality rates.

So, it’s safe to say that El Salvador is third-world because it’s not affiliated with intergovernmental alliances. Nonetheless, most third-world countries are identified as developing countries. And this shouldn’t be a disease. It’s only a label that reflects a country’s economic performance.

3.   Human Development Index is Low

Human development is at the heart of economic development. A country low in human development is said to lack knowledge, a decent standard of living, and healthy life for its citizens. The United States published these three elements as the core needs of human life.

4.   Gross National Income is Low

In 2016, the World Bank classified world economies according to their Gross Domestic Income (GNI). Countries with low GNI were defined as those with $1,025 per capita or less.

Middle-income economies were those with GNI between $1,026 and $4,036. High-income countries were those with GNI of $12,476 and above. At the time, high GNI countries like the United States had a GNI of about $12,700 per capita.

GNI is a major determinant of economic growth. No country can become a developed nation without a rise in GNI. In 2021, El Salvador’s GNI was $4,140.

5.   Traces of Economic Dependence

Most third-world countries heavily rely on developed nations to boost their economy. Though it helps, it often leads to their being controlled by these powerful nations. This dependence has been a major tool for exploiting a country’s natural resources.

6.   Lack of Social, Economic, and Political Rights

Lack of civil liberties may be a major hint that a country is the third world. Just to be clear, most third-world countries like the Philippines are fast evolving and breaking limits. Nonetheless, the absence of these rights is primary evidence that a country is developing.

Frequently Asked Questions About El Salvador

What is the poverty rate in El Salvador?

According to the World Bank, the poverty rate in El Salvador experienced a decline from 39% in 2007 to 22.3% in 2019 (that is, based on the U.S. poverty line of $5.5 per person daily).

Based on the U.S. poverty line of $1.9 per day, extreme poverty declined from 13% in 1995 to 1.5% in 2019. However, between 2019 and 2020, there was an increase in poverty by 4.6% — no thanks to COVID-19, violence, and crime that continue to stifle economic growth.

Does El Salvador experience natural hazards?

Yes, El Salvador is highly exposed to hazards like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. There’s also high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Hence, occurrences like storms, floods, and droughts are very likely.

What countries are still third-world countries?

In addition to the other countries mentioned in the introduction, here are other third-world countries

  • Bangladesh
  • Angola
  • Afghanistan
  • Bhutan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Bolivia
  • Algeria
  • Mexico
  • Barbados
  • Venezuela
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Grenada
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Somalia
  • Tuvalu
  • Burundi

What are the 7 oldest countries of the world?

The 7 oldest countries in the world are

  • Japan
  • Hungary
  • China
  • San Marino
  • Hungary
  • Greece
  • Egypt

What is the least developed country in Latin America?

Bolivia is the least developed country in Latin America. About 80% of its population lives in poverty, and extreme poverty is at 15%. News is that Bolivia’s poverty is caused by its reliance on mainly small-scale agriculture.

Bolivia is the poorest nation in Latin America. More than 80% of the nation’s population lives in poverty, and 15% is considered extremely poor. The high poverty rate is attributed to the country’s reliance on small-scale agriculture.