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Living Standards in Developing vs. Developed Countries

Discuss whether living standards are always lower in developing countries than in developed countries.


Economic Growth and Development

Frequently asked question



Pay attention to the specific keywords in the question and ensure you address them.

Living standards in developing countries are often lower than in developed countries due to several factors. Here are some points to consider:
➡️1. Lower Income per Capita: Developing countries generally have lower income per capita, resulting in reduced purchasing power for individuals. Limited economic opportunities, lower productivity, and income inequality contribute to lower average incomes, leading to lower living standards.
➡️2. Higher Population Growth and Dependency Ratio: Developing countries often experience higher population growth rates, which can strain available resources and infrastructure. A larger population can increase the dependency ratio, meaning there are more dependents (such as children and elderly) relative to the working-age population. This reduces the resources available for improving living conditions, healthcare, and education.
➡️3. Lower Life Expectancy and Healthcare Access: Developing countries may have lower life expectancy due to inadequate healthcare systems, limited access to quality healthcare services, and higher incidence of preventable diseases. The lack of comprehensive healthcare coverage and infrastructure affects the overall well-being and life expectancy of individuals, contributing to lower living standards.
➡️4. Education Disparities: Developing countries often face challenges in providing quality education to their populations. Limited access to schools, lower enrollment rates, and inadequate resources can result in lower levels of education attainment. This can lead to limited employment opportunities, lower wages, and reduced upward mobility, impacting overall living standards.
➡️5. Primary Sector Dominance: Developing countries often rely heavily on the primary sector, such as agriculture and natural resource extraction. Work in the primary sector tends to be physically demanding, labor-intensive, and characterized by lower wages. The dominance of low-skilled and low-paying jobs in the primary sector contributes to lower living standards for individuals in these countries.
It is important to note that these points represent general trends and there can be variations across developing countries. Additionally, the concept of living standards encompasses various dimensions beyond income, such as access to basic services, infrastructure, social protection, and quality of life. Developing countries may make progress in improving living standards over time through economic development, investment in human capital, social programs, and policy reforms.



Title: Exploring Living Standards in Developing and Developed Countries

- Definition of living standards and its importance in measuring the well-being of individuals in different countries.
- Overview of the debate surrounding living standards in developing and developed countries.

Reasons why living standards might be lower in developing countries:
➡️1. Lower income per capita and higher poverty rates:
- Developing countries often have lower average income levels, resulting in reduced purchasing power and limited access to goods and services.

➡️2. Higher population growth and increased dependency ratio:
- Developing countries frequently experience higher population growth rates, which can strain available resources and limit investments in improving living conditions, such as housing and infrastructure.

➡️3. Lower life expectancy and limited healthcare access:
- Healthcare infrastructure and services in developing countries may be less developed, leading to lower life expectancies and reduced access to quality healthcare.

➡️4. Lower standard of education:
- Developing countries often face challenges in providing quality education to their population, resulting in limited opportunities for higher education, well-paid employment, and increased productivity.

➡️5. Greater employment in the primary sector:
- Developing countries typically have a larger proportion of their workforce engaged in the primary sector, which tends to involve physically demanding work and lower wages compared to the secondary and tertiary sectors.

Counterarguments and factors challenging the assumption:
- The presence of certain developing countries that have made significant progress in improving living standards and narrowing the gap with developed countries.
- The importance of considering other factors such as social development, access to basic services, and subjective well-being.

- Recap of the reasons why living standards might be lower in developing countries.
- Acknowledgment of exceptions and progress made by some developing countries in improving living standards.
- Overall assessment of the statement regarding living standards, emphasizing the need for nuanced analysis and consideration of various factors beyond income levels in comparing developing and developed countries.


than in developed countries.
Up to ➡️5 marks for why they might be:
• Developing countries tend to have lower income per head / greater poverty - reducing the goods and services their people can buy -.
• Developing countries tend to have higher population growth - this can increase the dependency ratio - reducing resources available to e.g. improve housing conditions -
• Developing countries tend to have lower life expectancy - health care tends to be less readily available / lower quality -.
• Developing countries tend to have a lower standard of education - children likely to have fewer years at school / attend university / gain well paid employment / more productive -
• Developing countries tend to have more people employed in the primary sector - work in the primary sector tends to be more physically demanding/lower paid -.




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