Is Ecuador a Third World Country?

Is Ecuador a Third World Country

In the recent past, third-world countries have been defined as countries with economic instability, high rates of poverty, and insufficient human resources. However, the term was initially used to describe countries that were neutral during the cold war.

Is Ecuador a third world country? Yes, it is. The economy is poor and a big part of the population lives below the poverty line. The country’s rural poverty is severe.

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Nations are commonly characterized based on their GDP, employment growth, GDP per capita, and unemployment rate. Third world countries generally have lower results than first and second world countries those aspects. They may have poor infrastructure, low education levels, and poor access to health care. If you are curious about the classification of Ecuador, then keep reading to learn more.

Is Ecuador a Third World Country?

The Republic of Ecuador is in South America. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Peru, and Colombia. Its capital is Quito. The middle-income republic has a developing economy that is dependent on agricultural and petroleum products. In Latin America, Ecuador’s economy is ranked 8th. It continues to grow steadily over the years.

The country exports lots of flowers, bananas, and cocoa. It is the world’s top banana exporter. The country also produces potatoes, cassava, balsa wood, and plantains.

The Poverty Rates

Ecuador’s poverty rate in 2017 was 23.20 %. In 2016, it was 23.90%. For a long time, the country has struggled with an unequal distribution of resources.

By 1996, 20% of the country’s population earned half of all income. 20 % of the poorest people earned 5%. Even though the gap has reduced, there is still a significant gap between the rich and the poor. In 2000, half of the country’s population lived below the poverty line. 70% of rural dwellers lived in poverty. In 2017, about 8.7% of the population earned less than $3.20 per day. The poverty rates vary depending on the region.

The Education System

The country’s public education has been expanded to improve universal literacy. Primary education is compulsory from age six. It is free and the country has done a lot to avail it to disadvantaged groups. Even though enrolment to primary schools is over 95%, about 25% of children drop out before getting to the sixth grade. The country has about 1088 primary schools. There are approximately 1.5 teachers for about 63 pupils.

Secondary education is diverse. There are lots of public, overcrowded schools. Private schools have better standards and are less crowded. Secondary education is divided into two cycles of three years.

There are more than 100 secondary schools and education is free from Grade seven to nine. After that, parents have to incur the fees.

In Ecuador, there isn’t much information on vocational training. Some of the country’s top universities include; Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Pontificia, Universidad Catolica del Ecuador, and Universidad Politecnica Salesiana.

Infant Mortality Rate

According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), the infant mortality rate in Ecuador was ranked 45 out of 84 in 2018. In 2020, the country’s infant mortality rate is 12. 83 per 1000 live births. It was 13. 21 deaths in 1000 live births. The rates continue to decline.


The government consists of five arms; the judicial branch, the executive, the electoral branch, the legislative branch, and the Transparency and Social Control. The government is democratic and presidents have four-year terms. The government is stable. It has improved greatly since the beginning of the 21st century. The stability of Ecuador’s economy depends on its economy.

Is Ecuador Friendly to Tourists?

I found Ecuador to be a great country for tourists. It is a perfect gem with lots of attractions and wonderful people. It is a biodiverse country with entertainment opportunities for everyone. However, the country presents its fair share of issues.

There are many cases of human and drug trafficking. Some parts of the country can be very unsafe. Manta, Quito, and Machala have high cases of taxi robbery. Even though the chances of a terror attack are low, I suggest that you remain vigilant at all times.

The risk of natural disasters is medium and transportation is fairly safe. Like in any other country, there is a risk of being conned. Stay vigilant at all times. Even then, you can never be assured of 100% safety.

The most common safety concerns in Ecuador are robbery and pickpocketing. Beware of pickpockets when walking through crowded areas. When using taxis for transportation, you are at risk of getting rob. Avoid walking around with valuables.

When going on adventurous activities, consider working with professional and experienced service providers. Ensure that your equipment is safe and in good condition.

Even though there are various cases of insecurity, safety isn’t a major issue for most tourists. With some common sense, you can tour most parts of the country without any challenges.

What Are the Best Things to Do in Ecuador?

The country is diverse. Its small size makes it possible to see most of the attractions during a short visit. Some of the most amazing things to do include;

  • The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands were discovered in the 16th century. Since then, they have attracted plenty of tourists. The islands are home to a unique ecosystem. It has a unique ecosystem including a variety of bird species and wildlife. There are no natural predators and the wildlife is generally friendly. You can get as close to the wildlife as you please. The Galapagos Islands consist of 19 islands and lots of smaller islets.

  • Quito

Quito is Ecuador’s capital. It is a beautiful city filled with colonial architecture and monuments. Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is popular for its museums, old churches, and arts. The San Francisco Church is the city’s main attraction. I suggest that you visit it if you are in Quito. The church dates back to the 1500s. Other attractions include Basilica del Voto Nacional, La Compania de Jesus Church, and Plaza Grande.

  • The Devil’s Nose Train

A trip to Ecuador is not complete without taking a ride on the Devil’s Nose Train. Devil’s Nose was built in the 1900s. A ride on the train allows you to enjoy beautiful views of incredible gorges, rivers, and waterfalls. The ride is spectacular regardless of when you visit it.

  • The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador is rich in wildlife. It has a wide variety of plants and animals. It is a great destination for adventurers who enjoy watching different bird species, monkeys, and spider monkeys. The Yasuni National Park and Cuyabeno Reserve are some of the most special parts of the rainforest. They have an amazing amount of wildlife.

  • Otavalo Market

Otavalo Market is a popular attraction for many tourists. The indigenous town is popular for its amazing markets. You can easily find indigenous textiles and clothing in the town. The markets sell a wide variety of colourful bags, jewellery, ornaments, and table cloths. It is a great place to experience the country’s culture.

The market dates from the pre-Colombian period and remains to be interesting and different. Otavalo is close to the waterfall Las Cascadas de Peguche and some beautiful lakes.

What are the Biggest Problems Facing Ecuador?

Even though Ecuador is an amazing country, I think it has a few problems. The country faces human rights challenges, limited free speech, and limited access to women’s reproductive health care.

In some parts of Ecuador, crime is a major health concern. Poor education is one of the causes of poverty and high crime rates. Even though primary education is free, some children may be unable to access it.

A big part of the population lives near or below the poverty line. They may resort to child labour to generate more income. In the country’s capital, it isn’t uncommon to see children selling water and fruit.

The judiciary is one of the arms of the government. However, its independence is questionable. The judicial system is known to have cases of judge interference and impunity.

The prison standards are poor. Most of them are overcrowded and they have many cases of violence. In 2016, there were leaked video recordings of prison guards assaulting inmates. In the next year, the office of the Attorney General announced that the investigation would be changed to ‘Overreaching in the execution of an act of service’ rather than torture. Some of the officers involved were never implicated.

Many women in Ecuador are at risk of getting unsafe abortions for the fear of prosecution. The right to get an abortion is limited. Those who violate the law may face a prison sentence.

In summary, Ecuador is a third-world country. It meets the standards that are currently used to describe third-world countries. The country has high rates of poverty, a high infant mortality rate, poor prison conditions, and poor education levels.

However, it also has lots of amazing things to offer. Ecuador has amazing people, plenty of attractions, and a stable government. It is friendly to tourists and ex-pats.

About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago 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.