It has been well-known for some time that Bangladesh has been a country with high poverty rates. As such, the government of Bangladesh has been working hard on strategies to improve living conditions in the country. So is Bangladesh a third-world country, or have these governmental efforts worked?
Bangladesh is no longer considered a third-world country, a low-income country, or an underdeveloped country. Bangladesh is on its way to becoming officially classified as a developing country; this status change has been put on hold so that the country can recover from the pandemic.
The country of Bangladesh has had to work tremendously hard to make the strides that it has, which shouldn’t be discounted. The government still needs to continue to expand and improve economic development in order to bring more people out of poverty and strife.
Is Bangladesh A Third World Country?
Bangladesh has emerged from being a third-world country, based on the most modern definition of this concept. A third world label used to be used to refer to a country without allies, but the terminology was informally changed to classify a country as having low income opportunities, high poverty rates, and low quality of life among other factors.
Bangladesh has a very large population, despite the most recent figures stating population growth has actually decreased. In Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka alone, there are 14 million people. The population is large because the birth rates and frequency of families expanding has been high comparatively in the country.
Is Bangladesh Developed, Developing, Or Underdeveloped?
Bangladesh was considered to be an underdeveloped country for many years, but has since grown into a developing country. Bangladesh as a country has a goal to become a developed country. They have implemented strong plans to achieve this goal, which is projected to be met by 2031.
Several projects have been planned in order for Bangladesh to improve its development, which by extension, creates more working opportunities for Bangladesh citizens in order to get these projects completed. The country is making efforts to improve transportation opportunities throughout the country, such as a new expressway, the building of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge, and railway systems.
All that said, there are still people in the country who lack access to basic necessities, including safe drinking water. Sanitation issues also cause distress for many in Bangladesh. Access to education for some is still a struggle, especially considering so much of the population is still young.
Is Bangladesh Low Income, Middle Income, Or High Income?
Bangladesh has fallen under low income status for many years. Since the designation of least developed country, or low income countries, was enacted, Bangladesh met that marker in 1975. It has been difficult for many countries to rise above that status, but Bangladesh has managed to.
Bangladesh has been able to improve income per capita rates throughout the country, helping the country move above low income status. Based on GNI, or gross national income, the income per capita threshold to meet was $1222 in 2019. Bangladesh surpassed this number with their income per capita being at $1827, and that number has since increased.
Poverty rates in Bangladesh are still high, and many improvements to quality of life and income opportunities still need to be made. However, it should be noted that over a period of about 15 years, Bangladesh managed to cut their poverty rates almost in half. As with every country, COVID-19 has had an impact on economic progress.
The Economy In Bangladesh
When Bangladesh first became an independent nation, one of the first moves by the new government caused some hiccups in economic and industrial innovation. These initiatives were led by people without adequate experience, causing some disruption in the economy. However, in the years since, Bangladesh’s government has been able to learn from past mistakes.
The government of Bangladesh has been working very hard to make moves towards economic diversification. As a result, there have been many successes towards making Bangladesh’s economy much more stable and healthy. There are several strategies that have been used to achieve this growth.
Agriculture has been the lifeblood of Bangladesh for many, many years, but the unreliability of such a sector has made it difficult for agriculture alone to both stabilize the economy and provide reliable income for workers. As such, the Bangladesh government understood that building industries based on accessible commodities was necessary, as can be seen with their burgeoning garment production.
Bangladesh has also made it a priority to improve the forestry industry, transportation, and the sewage, water, and electricity industries. Bangladesh is not home to much in terms of natural and mineral resources, but some of what Bangladesh does possess, such as coal and oil, has yet to be tapped into.
Remittances And The Bangladesh Economy
The remittance system also exists in Bangladesh, and not only helps citizens contribute to the economy, but it also helps families who lack access to income-generating opportunities. Essentially, people will move outside of Bangladesh in order to gain an education or earn income, much of which will be sent back to family members still living in Bangladesh.
Remittances can generate economic growth as the government is able to benefit from that influx of income coming into the country. This is a billion dollar earning system in Bangladesh, and the country has been touted as one of the highest earners in terms of remittance income.
This is a system that is regulated by the government, as the government actually tries to encourage people to become involved in remittance work. It is mutually beneficial for both the government to have more money coming into the country to convert into ways to help Bangladeshi citizens, but it also affords citizens to have another method of supporting their family.
Quality Of Life In Bangladesh
Bangladesh does not have a lot of urban areas, as this aspect of development has not been the highest priority. As such, many people in Bangladesh live in rural settlements. Within these rural settlements, it can be difficult for people to access or afford reliable electricity, food sources, and clean water. In urban areas, crime is a distressing issue for many.
Finding proper housing that is safe, warm, and has workable utilities such as electricity, sanitation, and water has been a concern for some living in Bangladesh. As discussed, poverty has decreased in the country, but some still have to deal with lack of access to basic needs. Bangladesh also has to deal with frequent cyclones, landslides, and other inclement weather conditions.
Women also face unique safety concerns, especially if caught dressing immodestly, such as punishment, kidnapping, and dealing with corrupt police. It is often recommended that women shouldn’t be outside alone at night. Female travelers aren’t often targets for violence, but the women who live in Bangladesh do have to deal with the anxiety of being potential targets.
Bangladesh is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes, but tourism is not a growing industry due to concerns around safe travels. Bangladesh can be a difficult country to travel around, though the country is working on improving transportation options. The biggest threat to tourists regarding crime would be pickpocketing and potential robbery. Some Bangladeshi citizens have to be cautious in order to avoid becoming victims of crime and corruption.
Bangladesh has a large indigenous and ethnic population, though it is estimated the majority of the population are native Bengali. The small percentage of the population that don’t identify as Bengali are members of various ethnic tribes, including Marma, Chakma, and Kuki. A large percentage of people in Bangladesh practice the Muslim faith, but some practice Hinduism or Buddhism, for example.
Bangladesh used to be considered a part of Pakistan as encompassed by British India. However, in 1971, Bangladesh was able to achieve independence and become its own freestanding country. Geographically, the country is nestled between parts of India.
The people of Bangladesh hold their customs and traditions very dear, and they are extremely family-oriented. Many people also observe traditional religious practices such as arranged marriages and established gender roles within families. Music and art are two very important aspects of Bangladesh culture, and portions of the population also enjoy sports such as football and cricket.
Is Bangladesh a third world country? Not anymore, thanks to various efforts made within the country to make strides towards modernization and economic stability. There are still portions of the country experiencing conflict and poverty, so the country still has a lot of work to do. The future of Bangladesh is very promising, and the country is on its way to become a developed nation.
There is still room for Bangladesh to grow in terms of income opportunities for its citizens by continuing to innovate and add new sectors and industries to the country. This will not only bring income into the country, but will give its citizens access to disposable income to cycle through the economy. There also needs to be opportunity for enhanced education and skill building to produce a capable workforce.
About the author: Marta Kovachek graduated from the university with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.