Unit Aims

In this unit you will;

  • Gain a greater understanding of how “Development” is related to Economic, Social, Political and Environmental Factors
  • Be able to define and use a range of Development Indicators to assess a country’s level of development.
  • Be aware of global variation in development. 
  • Use maps and data to describe the global pattern of development. 
  • Understand the links between different development indicators.
  • Understand the limitations of using single development indicators to assess relative development
  • Know what the Human Development Index is and how it is calculated.
  • Be able to discuss why HDI gives a better indication of relative development.
  • Know what the Happy Planet index is and how it differs from the HDI.
  •  Be able to assess the relative development of countries using a range of development indicators.

Part 1: Measuring Development

We have learned what Development is, the next question is how do we measure it?

In order to understand which countries are the most developed, we must have ways to measure it. This is not a simple thing to do as development is a complex issue.

Look at the image below. What could we use to compare the lives of people living on opposite sides of the road. 

unequalscenes.com produces great photos of the differences in development within countries. This photo shows inequality in South Africa, on the right is the Kya Sands Slum, on the left the luxury homes of the suburb of Bloubosrand. Johannesburg, South Africa.

1) Look back at the, “What is Development?” worksheet we did from this page.
It asked us to consider Development from the point of view of the country’s Economy, Politics, Society and Environment. Can you think of a way to measure each of these?
If you have not completed it then do so now. The file is below.

2) Look at the mind map below. Insert it into a word document under the heading, “Development Indicators.”

3) Beneath the diagram create a table with four columns (Economy, Politics, Society and Environment). Write the Indicators below into the relevant column of your table.

Can you arrange these into Economic, Social, Political and Environmental?

4) Complete the worksheet below using the information on this geographyalltheway.com page.

You will need to collect data from the CIA Factbook. Click on the banner below to go to the page.

5) Development Top Trumps.This activity is from the same geographyalltheway.com page you have been working from. 

We will be creating a game of Development Top Trumps using data from the CIA Factbook. To do this we will all create 4 cards using the document below. 

For now you should only get data for GDP/Capita (US$), Life Expectancy, Birth Rate. We will be discussing the Human Development Index and Happy Planet Index later in this unit. 

6) Which country is the most developed. Use the data you have collected on your two countries to write a summary stating which country is the most developed and why. You must refer to the data you added to your Top Trump Card. 

7) Which of the three indicators GDP/Capita (US$), Life Expectancy or Birth Rate gives us the best indication of a country’s level of development. Explain your answer. 

Part 2: Mapping Development:

We now have an idea of how we can use different indicators to measure development. We will now use maps and data to;

  • Describe the global pattern of development.
  • Understand the links between different development indicators. 

1) Global Variation in GDP/Captia

GDP(Gross Domestic Product) is the total value of all goods and services produced in a country.
Per Capita means per person.
GDP per Capita is the total amount of money made by a country, divided by the countries population

  1. Name 2 countries on each continent with GDP per Capita over $35,710
  2. Name the continents on which there is no country with a GDP/Capita over $35,710
  3. Name 2 countries on each continent with GDP per Capita under $20,000.
  4. Describe the global distribution of the countries with a GDP/Capita of less than $5,000/year. Do these countries have anything in common? 

2) Global Variation in Life Expectancy

  1. What is meant by ‘life expectancy?’
  2. Name 3 countries on each continent where you can expect to live past 75.
  3. Describe the global distribution of countries with life expectancy below 55 years.

3) Global Variation in Birth Rates

  1. Write a definition of Crude Birth Rate.
  2. Name 3 countries with a birth rate less than 10.20
  3. Describe the distribution of countries with birth rates above 23.79 births /1000

What’s the link?

We have now looked at the global variation for 3 indicators of development. We must now investigate whether these indicators are in some way connected. 

Look at the graph above produced by the brilliant Gapminder Foundation. It shows the relationship between Wealth (GDP/Captia) and health (Life Expectancy). Below the graph is a time slider that allows you to see how these two indicators have changed with time. 

  1. Use the slider to go back to 1800. Describe the general change in wealth that has taken place between 1800 and 2019.
  2. Use  the most recent data from the graph to describe the link between a) GDP/Capita and Life expectancy and b) Describe the link between Life Expectancy and Crude Birth Rate. To do this you will need to change the data shown on the x-axis. 

Part 3: Where did the “Development Gap,” come from?

Work through the following worksheets and get a better idea about why some countries have developed and others have been left behind.

Read 1 and 2 and then answer the questions on 2.
The development gap 1.pdf

The development gap 2.pdf

Read 3 and 4 and then answer the questions on 4.
The development gap 3.pdf

The development gap 4.pdf


This site from BBC bitesize is an excellent summary. Read through the revision pages and then complete the Test at the end. Post a screen shot of your