The least developed countries (LDCs) is a list of developing countries that, according to the United Nations, exhibit the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development, with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world. The concept of LDCs originated in the late 1960s and the first group of LDCs was listed by the UN in its resolution 2768 (XXVI) of 18 November 1971.[1]

A country is classified among the Least Developed Countries if it meets three criteria:[2][3]

  • Poverty – adjustable criterion based on GNI per capita averaged over three years. As of 2018 a country must have GNI per capita less than US$ 1,025 to be included on the list, and over $1,230 to graduate from it.
  • Human resource weakness (based on indicators of nutrition, health, education and adult literacy).
  • Economic vulnerability (based on instability of agricultural production, instability of exports of goods and services, economic importance of non-traditional activities, merchandise export concentration, handicap of economic smallness, and the percentage of population displaced by natural disasters).

As of 2018, 47 countries are classified as LDC, while five have been upgraded between 1994 and 2017.[4] The WTO recognizes the UN list and says that "Measures taken in the framework of the WTO can help LDCs increase their exports to other WTO members and attract investment. In many developing countries, pro-market reforms have encouraged faster growth, diversification of exports, and more effective participation in the multilateral trading system."[5]


In the Americas, there is 1 country that is classified as a least developed country:


In Asia, there are 9 countries that are classified as least developed countries: