Absolute poverty:
Absolute poverty is poverty as defined according to standards that are fixed and valid for all societies. People who do not reach these standards are considered to be poor.
Developed countries:
Developed countries are high-income countries in which most people have a high standard of living. They are also sometimes referred to as "the North", the "First World" or "industrialised countries".
Developing countries:
This is a term used to refer to low- and middle-income countries in which most people have a lower standard of living with access to fewer goods and services than do most people in high-income countries. They are also sometimes referred to as "the South", "Third World" or "non-industrialized countries".
The long-term process of improving the quality of people's lives inside a country. It includes the chance to have an education and to earn a living in a society where human rights are respected and where women, as well as men can participate fully in the life of their communities.
Economic growth:
Quantitative change or expansion in a country's economy. It is conventionally measured as the percentage increase in gross domestic product (GDP) or gross national product (GNP) over one year.
First World:
See Developed Countries. The term "second world" was reserved for socialist countries that followed another path to development. After the demise of the Soviet Union and its partner states, these countries are often referred to as transitional or transition countries because they are in transition from a planned economic system to a capitalistic system.
GNP per capita:
A country's Gross National Product (GNP) divided by its population. Shows the income each person would have were GNP to be divided equally. Also called income per capita. GNP per capita is a useful measure of economic productivity, but by itself it does not measure people's well-being or a country's development success. Moreover, it does not show how equally or unequally a country's income is distributed among its citizens. (see also Gross National Product (GNP))
Gross Domestic Product (GDP):
The value of all final goods and services produced in a country in one year. Gross domestic product is an aggregate measure of production equal to the sum of the gross values of all resident institutional units engaged in production (plus any taxes, and minus any subsidies, on products not included in the value of their outputs). The sum of the final uses of goods and services (all uses except intermediate consumption) measured in purchasers' prices, less the value of imports of goods and services, or the sum of primary incomes distributed by resident producer units (Source: OECD,, 21.12.2011).
Gross National Income (GNI):
GNI is the sum of value added by all resident producers plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad.
Gross National Product (GNP):
Gross National Product (GNP) is GDP minus net taxes on production and imports and minus employee compensation and property income payable to the rest of the world, plus the corresponding items receivable from the rest of the world (in other words, GDP less primary incomes payable to non-resident units plus primary incomes receivable from non-resident units). An alternative approach to measuring GNP at market prices is as the aggregate value of the balances of gross primary income for all sectors (note that gross national income is identical to gross national product as previously commonly used in national accounts) (Source: OECD,, 21.12.2011).
High-income countries:
Classified by the World Bank as countries whose GNP per capita is $12,996 or more.
Human development:
Human development is the process of expanding people's opportunities. The three essential opportunities are to lead a long and healthy life, to acquire knowledge and to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living.
Human Development Index (HDI):
A composite of several social indicators that shows the level of development by considering the progress made towards greater human capabilities and choices.
An indicator is an observable measuring tool, which enables us to understand specific aspects of complex phenomena by simplifying and quantifying them. Indicators should allow to grasp specific problems and to provide information for decision-making.
Industrialised countries:
See Developed countries
Inequality, when considered in economic or social dimension, refers to the disparity in resources within a society or at international level.
Landlocked Developing Country (LLDC):
Landlocked developing countries are developing countries that have no access to the sea.
Least Developed Country (LDC):
This term refers to a developing country without significant economic growth, with a very low per capita income and a low literacy rate.
Life expectancy at birth:
The number of years a newborn baby would live if, at every age, the chances of his/her survival were the same as they were for that age in the year of his/her birth. The change in this indicator reflects changes in the overall health of a country's population, in people's living conditions and in the quality of healthcare.
Literacy rate:
The literacy rate refers to the percentage of individuals who are able to read and write at a level that allows full participation in a society (for instance understanding administrative documents, being able to read operation instruction, etc.).
Low-income countries:
Classified by the World Bank as countries whose GNP per capita is $995 or less.
Middle-income countries:
Classified by the World Bank as countries whose GNP per capita is between $996 and $12,995.
Millennium Declaration:
Approved in September 2000 by the United Nations, the Millennium Declaration calls for a halving, of the number of people living on less than one dollar a day by the year 2015.
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):
The MDGs are a set of 8 time-bound goals to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by the year 2015. They were agreed upon by the world's leaders at a special United Nations assembly in September 2000 to mark the turn of the century.
Non-industrialised countries:
See Developing countries
See Developed countries
Participatory Poverty Assessment (PPA):
A participatory poverty assessment is analysis of poverty that includes the views of the poor people in its definition of poverty as well as in its strategies to reduce it.
Poverty defines the living conditions of individuals or groups lacking the resources to reach a minimum standard of well-being. These can be material resources (such as sufficient and healthy nutrition, housing…) or immaterial resources (such as education, political power, social status and ability to interact with other members of society).
Quality of life:
People's overall well-being. Quality of life is difficult to measure because, in addition to material well-being, it includes such intangible components as the quality of the environment, national security, personal safety, and political and economic freedoms.
Relative Poverty:
Relative poverty defines poverty relatively to each social setting (usually at the level of the nation-state). Standards are usually set with reference to divergence from the average situation within a society.
See Developing countries
Third World:
In the 1960s, during the Cold War, the world was divided into two power blocs, namely the capitalist West (United States and Europe) and the communist East (Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China). These were respectively called the first and the second worlds, while the rest was referred to as the third world. Later this term was used (among others) as a synonym for developing countries.

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