The ‘North-South Divide’, still relevant today?

The sharp division between developed and developing countries is often described as the “North-South Divide.” The term was coined during the cold war as a way to geographically categorise countries on the basis of their socio-economic development level. With the rise of the Asian Tigers, Newly Industrialising Economies and not to mention Middle Eastern oil wealth, many has deemed the term passé. With the supposedly many examples of rich countries residing in low latitudes I thought it would be interesting to analyse the data statistically and to demonstrate the phenomenon graphically.

GDP per Capita vs Latitude

The chart clearly demonstrates the economic division between societies predominantly around the equator (0 degrees latitude) and the societies to the north and south. Using the term North-South Divide is clearly not passé, although one should be aware of the exceptions that proves the rule.


About J.F. Gjersø

PhD in International History, LSE.
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