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LDCs in Facts and Figures



  • In 2014, the population of LDCs was 898 million—1/8 of the world’s total.
  • The population in LDCs is expected to more than double between 2010 and 2050. In the same time period, the total world population is expected to grow less than 40%.

Projected future population in as a percentage of current population


  • In 2012, the LDCs averaged a per capita GDP of only USD 802. That is less than 1/12 of the world average.
  • LDC economies grew at a rate of 5.7% in 2013—up from 4.0% in 2012. This is down significantly from 2007, when they grew at 9.0%.
  • GDP growth for least developed countries is projected to reach 5.7% in 2014.

GDP per capita in current US dollars, 2012

Productive Capacity

  • The share of manufacturing in LDC economies is less than 10%, compared to 21% in all developing countries.
  • Least developed countries lag behind the world in terms of access to electricity, telephone services and Internet usage, despite making substantial progress.

Productive Capacity


  • In 2012, the combined exports of all 48 LDCs made up 1.11% of worldwide exports. Although a small percentage, it is nearly double the fi gure in 2001.
  • Fuels dominate LDC exports, making up 53% of LDC exports. This is up from only 37% in 2001. However, two-thirds of these fuel exports came from Angola alone.
  • The 2 largest LDC exporters, Angola and Bangladesh, export nearly as much as the other 46 combined.

LDC Exports


  • 50.8% of the population in LDCs—450 million people—lives on less than $1.25 per day.
  • 72.5% of the population in LDCs lives on less than $2 per day.
  • It is estimated that 252 million people live with hunger in LDCs.


  • According to the latest national fi gures, over 18 million children of primary school age in LDCs are not enrolled in primary education.
  • If current trends continue, LDCs will not meet the MDG 2 goal of universal primary education by 2015.
  • In LDCs, 16.1% of government expenditures were spent on education, compared to 13.9% in the world as a whole.



  • Despite progress, the LDCs continue to have very high child mortality rates. While only 12% of the world’s population lives in LDCs, 36% of under-five deaths occurred in LDCs in 2012.
  • Maternal mortality in LDCs was estimated at 430 per 100,000 live births in 2010—more than double the rate of the world as a whole. A woman’s lifetime risk of death as a result of childbirth complications was 1 in 52, which is more than 3 times the worldwide rate.
  • Malnutrition affects many children under five in LDCs, with 25% underweight and 40.3% exhibiting stunting.
  • Although HIV prevalence is relatively stable at 2% of the overall LDC population, four LDCs continue to have prevalence rates above 10%.

Under-five mortality rate, 1990-2012

Water and Sanitation

  • Water and sanitation services are under-provided in LDCs, even compared with other developing countries. Only 65% of LDC residents had access to an improved water source.
  • Rural areas are particularly behind: only 31% of rural populations in LDCs had access to improved sanitation facilities; 58% had access to improved drinking water sources.

Water and Sanitation

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

  • In 2014, women held an average of 19% of parliamentary seats in LDCs, up from only 9% in 2001.
  • LDCs have achieved near parity in primary (48% female) and secondary (46% female) education. However, male students continue to dominate tertiary education (35% female).
  • Although progress has been made, LDCs continue to be difficult places for women, in part due to weak enforcement of laws protecting women, underinvestment in women’s health and enduring prejudice.

Foreign Direct Investment and Remittances

  • FDI flows reached USD 25.7 billion in 2012, up from 21.4 billion in 2011. FDI stock was USD 185.4 billion in 2012. Resource-rich LDCs continued to account for the largest share.
  • Officially recorded remittance fl ows to LDCs stood at $30.5 billion in 2012. This represented an 11% increase from 2011.


  • Official Development Assistance to LDCs from OECD DAC countries totalled USD 43.1 billion in 2012, down from USD 45.5 billion in 2011.
  • ODA increased consistently in current terms over the 2003–2011 period, though there was a deceleration in the wake of the global financial crisis.
  • Only 7 advanced countries met the ODA target of 0.15% of GNI going to LDCs in 2012, down from 9 in 2011 and 10 in 2010.