Mexico is a first world country

Third World

In Liberia (West Africa), the need is great for many people. (& copy picture-alliance / AP-images)

Developing countries

The term "Third World" is hardly used today. Rather, one speaks of "developing countries". About two thirds of all people live in developing countries. This means all the less developed countries in Africa, Asia, South and Central America as well as the Caribbean and Oceania.

Cold War era term

The term "Third World" originated during the Cold War when two military blocs faced each other. The countries that did not belong to any of these blocs were the so-called non-aligned countries. They got the name "Third World". One bloc was led by the US. This was called the "First World", and that included the democratic industrialized countries. The other bloc was led by the Soviet Union. That was the "second world," and that included the industrialized socialist states. The "second world" has not existed since the end of the Soviet Union and the term "first world" is no longer used.

Fourth world

Occasionally one hears the term “fourth world” for the very poorest countries that could not survive without foreign help.

Source: Gerd Schneider / Christiane Toyka-Seid: The young politics encyclopedia from, Bonn: Federal Agency for Civic Education 2021.