Is Jamaica a Third World Country?

Is Jamaica a third country?

Jamaica is a third-world country, given the state of its economy. In our previous article, we mentioned that the reason most countries kick against the tag “third world country” is because of how derogatory it has become over the years.

However, records show that most third-world countries are developing countries. To this end, we maintain that being third-world does not necessarily undermine a country’s economy.

This article will discuss the features that make Jamaica a third-world country and frequently asked questions about Jamaica.

What Makes a Country Third World?

Affiliation, more or less. The phrase “third world” became a thing during the cold war. The expression was used to categorize countries that did not align to NATO, capitalism views, SOVIET UNION, or communism views.

In recent years, the World Bank set a standard on categorizing a country as first world, second world, and third world based on 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 from $12,476 and above.

These yardsticks still play a key role in determining what threshold countries fall under. Today, certain pointers easily reveal the cadre countries fall under.

Developing countries particularly have features that prove they’ve not attained the level of most developed, in other words, first-world nations. These characteristics will be discussed in the next part of this article.

Characteristics that Make Jamaica a Third World Country

There are special incidences that tell you which cadre a country falls under. If you check the records, you’ll notice that many developing countries have one or all of the characteristics discussed below.

1.   Non-Alignment

As mentioned earlier, this is the primary definition of a third-world country. During the Cold War, countries aligned with NATO were called first-world countries.

Those countries aligned with Warsaw were called 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.   Jamaica is a Middle Income Economy

Jamaica relies solely on Mining, Tourism, and Agriculture. In 2007, the country experienced a rapid economic downturn that affected its GNI.

Today, Jamaica can be said to be a developing nation, given its economic standing. From the World Bank categorization, Jamaica falls under the middle-income economy with a GNI of about $8,850.

3.   Crime Rate is Terribly High in Jamaica

Jamaica has the worst murder rate in the Caribbean. In 2021, Jamaica recorded a 49.4 rate of homicide per 100,000 residents. This shows how much work the government still needs to do in terms of security.

This is as opposed to a developed nation that has risen to have a firm grip on the security situation in their territories. Needless to say, crime is a core barrier to development and advancement in any nation.

4.   Poverty is Still a Thing in Jamaica

Corruption, unemployment, violence, and low income are the major stiflers of Jamaica’s economy. Following this, poverty has a ripple effect all over the nation.

You’ll notice the same cycle in other developing countries trying to seek better ways to run their economy like Brazil, and Costa Rica.

5.   Traces of Racism

Jamaica is deeply rooted in historical slavery. To date, this reality finds expression in how the country is run. The Blacks who were descendants of these slaves still live in poverty as opposed to privileges given to the white population.


While we can’t say how soon Jamaica would be moving up to the cadre of developed nations, its economic situation leaves much to be mentioned. Nonetheless, Jamaica is making moves to reduce its public debt and in turn, increase GNI.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jamaica

What is the poorest country in the Caribbean?

Haiti is the poorest Caribbean country. Even with this, Haiti is still ranked as one of the most populous countries in North America. According to the World Bank 2020 report, Haiti had a GNI of $1320 — a very poor figure when compared to other economies.

What’s the richest Caribbean Island?

Bermuda tops the list of richest Caribbean Islands. With a GNI of $85,748, Bermuda boasts of 181 Islands in all. Nobody living in Bermuda is poor! Thanks to investment in tourism and offshore investment. Other rich Caribbean Islands include

  • The Cayman Islands
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • US Virgin Islands
  • The Bahamas
  • Anguilla
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • St Martin
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • St Kitts and Nevis

What places do I avoid in Jamaica?

Jamaica is known for crime and corruption. This makes it a dicey situation for tourists. If you’re visiting Jamaica, here are some places to avoid

  • Grants Pen, Kingston
  • Cassava Piece Road, St Andrew
  • Rose Heights, Montego Bay
  • Norwood, Montego Bay
  • Canterbury, Montego Bay
  • Flankers, Montego Bay
  • Salt Spring, Montego Bay
  • Spanish Town, St. Catherine

Is Canada a third-world country?

Certainly not. Canada ranks in the cadre of The United States, Japan, Western European nations, South Korea, and their other allies. They fall under the first-world countries.

What are other third-world countries?

Here’s a list of some third-world countries in the world

  • Costa Rica
  • Brazil
  • Eastern Donbas
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Crimea
  • Libya
  • China
  • Sudan
  • Yemen
  • Cuba
  • Venezuela
  • Chad
  • The Philippines
  • Belarus
  • Vietnam
  • Republic of Congo

What country has the best healthcare?

Switzerland ranks as the country with the best healthcare in the world. However, the World Health Organization in its last global report listed 10 countries as countries with the best world healthcare. They include France, San Marino, Malta, Singapore, Italy, Oman, Spain, Singapore, Austria, Andorra, and Japan.