Describing a country as being developed means that it has met particular criteria, and is considered to have a high level of development. The criteria for this classification are sometimes contentious and are still subject to debate from different organizations and authorities.
That aside, the USA is considered to be a developed country because one of the criterions is income per capita. Countries like America who have a high gross domestic product (GDP) per capita are labeled as developed. Industrialization is also taken into account, and those countries that have the tertiary and quaternary sectors of industry dominating are described as being developed.
Another, more recent, indicator of a developed country is the Human Development Index (HDI), which is a combination of economic measure, national income, life expectancy and education, amongst others. A developed country is one whose HDI rating figures highly. In 2010, the United States came fourth behind Norway, Australia and New Zealand, with Norway ranking first. However, research undertaken to illustrate standards of living and quality of life put the US in eleventh place, with Canada in seventh place; Australia in fourth place and Finland first.
There are many anomalies in the different methods of categorizing what constitutes a developed country. Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations made this definition: ‘A developed country is one that allows all its citizens to enjoy a free and healthy life in a safe environment’, but the United Nations Statistics Division believe that designating a country as developed or otherwise is arbitrary because definitions are so varied they belie other systems of judgment, with some people going as far as saying defining countries is a negative thing to do, and the current divide between what is considered to be a developed country and a developing, or under developed one is purely a 20th-century fixation.
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