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Geographic and Demographic Differences

Countries have geographic differences: some have extensive coastlines, some are landlocked. Some have large rivers that have been a path of commerce for centuries, or mountains that have been a barrier to trade. Some have deserts, some have rain forests. These differences create different positive and negative opportunities for commerce, health, and the environment.

Countries also have considerable differences in the age distribution of the population. Many high-income nations are approaching a situation by 2020 or so in which the elderly will form a much larger share of the population. Most low-income countries still have a higher proportion of youth and young adults, but by about 2050, the elderly populations in these low-income countries are expected to boom as well. These demographic changes will have considerable impact on the standard of living of the young and the old.

Differences in Industry Structure and Economic Institutions

Countries have differences in industry structure. In the high-income economies of the world, only about 2% of GDP comes from agriculture; the average for the rest of the world is 12%. Countries have strong differences in degree of urbanization.

Countries also have strong differences in economic institutions: some nations have economies that are extremely market-oriented, while other nations have command economies. Some nations are open to international trade, while others use tariffs and import quotas to limit the impact of trade. Some nations are torn by long-standing armed conflicts; other nations are largely at peace. There are differences in political, religious, and social institutions as well.

No nation intentionally aims for a low standard of living, high rates of unemployment and inflation, or an unsustainable trade imbalance. However, nations will differ in their priorities and in the situations in which they find themselves, and so their policy choices can reasonably vary, too. The next modules will discuss how nations around the world, from high income to low income, approach the four macroeconomic goals of economic growth, low unemployment, low inflation, and a sustainable balance of trade.

Key concepts and summary

Macroeconomic policy goals for most countries strive toward low levels of unemployment and inflation, as well as stable trade balances. Countries are analyzed based on their GDP per person and ranked as low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Low-income are those earning less than $1,025 (less than 1%) of global income. They currently have 18.5% of the world population. Middle-income countries are those with per capital income of $1,025–$12,475 (31.1% of global income). They have 69.5% of world population. High-income countries are those with per capita income greater than $12,475 (68.3% of global income). They have 12% of the world’s population. Regional comparisons tend to be inaccurate because even countries within those regions tend to differ from each other.


Retrieve the following data from The World Bank database (http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx) for India, Spain, and South Africa for the most recent year available:

  • GDP in constant international dollars or PPP
  • Population
  • GDP per person in constant international dollars
  • Mortality rate, infant (per 1,000 live births)
  • Health expenditure per capita (current U.S. dollars)
  • Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
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Prepare a chart that compares India, Spain, and South Africa based on the data you find. Describe the key differences between the countries. Rank these as high-, medium-, and low-income countries, explain what is surprising or expected about this data.

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International Labour Organization. “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013.” http://www.ilo.org/global/research/global-reports/global-employment-trends/youth/2013/lang--en/index.htm

International Monetary Fund. “World Economic and Financial Surveys: World Economic Outlook—Transitions and Tensions.” Last modified October 2013. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/02/pdf/text.pdf.

Nobelprize.org. “The Prize in Economics 1987 - Press Release.” Nobel Media AB 2013 . Last modified October 21, 1987. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/laureates/1987/press.html.

Redvers, Louise. BBC News Business. “Youth unemployment: The big question and South Africa.” Last modified October 31, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20125053.

The World Bank. “The Complete World Development Report Online.” http://www.wdronline.worldbank.org/.

The World Bank. “World DataBank.” http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx.

Todaro, Michael P., and Stephen C Smith. Economic Development (11 th Edition) . Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley: Pearson, 2011, chap. 1–2.

Questions & Answers

what is crowding out effect?
Sera Reply
What to read the introduction
prince Reply
Keynesian theory of employment
sainlangki Reply
it's about use of Fiscal policy.
yar what actually means of APc. averge means?. can someone give a best example plz
Asrar Reply
APC is average propensity to consume n this refers to ratio of consumption expenditure to corresponding level of income
then it means both MPC and ApC are same ?
No..... APC is average propensity to consume whereas MPC is marginal propensity to consume
which model predicted a global collapse in the world's social and economic system before the year 2010
Francis Reply
trade deficit
is trade deficit the correct answer?
what is the formula of mixed income ?
Sanjum Reply
labor force in.Nigeria is seen as .......?
Aisha Reply
Is demand the same as being in need of a product?
Aphiwe Reply
Demand is defer from only need of products
need is the primary and main root of demand. but demand is the result of combination of need; income capacity and desire to expend of money for that product.
products or services
what is price determination?
Alick Reply
why are imports subtructed when GDP is calculated in the expenditure approach
what is fiscalpolicy
nati Reply
The way of the government expenses and other analysis
It explains government spending and how it helps to direct the economy towards the desired direction. For instance, if the govt of a nation is desirous of achieving economic growth and development, then the govt will adopt an expansionary fiscal policy which imply more spending by the govt.
and politics party important
mujtaba Reply
politics party important
Which party is that
persons who stopped searching for jobs but would accept if the opportunity presents itself
Torissa Reply
persons who are unemployed whether they are underage, retired or incapacitated
the us economy is best characterized as?
what is the impact of fiscal policy in the short and long run in the AD/AS model...
Hydrammeh Reply
What is demand
Mohd Reply
Demand is the desire for a commodity backed by the willingness and the purchasing power too.
what is the impact of the higher tax rate on the business and the economy at large..?
Hydrammeh Reply
aggregate demand decreases and GDP decreases in the long run prices will decrease because aggregate supply will shift to the right and increase
Thanks, Murabit
But still I will need more explanation
no problem tax rate is a form of fiscal policy so any time the government changes spending or taxes it will directly affect the economy
but remember that there at different economic views on fiscal policy there is classical,Keynesian and moneterism
if taxes increase aggregate demand decreases causing a fall in prices causing a fall in the money demand lowering interest rate and increasing investment spending in turn increasing prices
thanks so much Murabit
what is Ricardo effect
why is direct tax superior than indirect tax?
@Saz Bh! The reason why direct tax superior than indirect tax because during a period of prosperity, direct tax fetch more revenue as they are progressive but indirect taxes are proportional and do not fetch as much revenue as direct taxes
thank u
what is the difference between demand and aggregate demand?
The difference between market demand and aggregate demand delineates the fundamental difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics is concerned with the supply and demand of specific goods and services. Macroeconomics is concerned with a nation's total supply and demand of all
thank u Pankaj 😁
most welcome
what is Function of Money in mixed economy.?
what is the pinnacle importance of the Banks in the country's Economy

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