This chapter will focus on the notion of quality-of-life measures, livable cities and some social issues.
In Geography, economic development analysis often focuses on a core-periphery global divide based on advanced technological economies versus less-developed countries (LDCs) or what is sometimes referred to as the Global South or the Third World.
Economic development is measured based on a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), gross national income (GNI) and purchasing power parity (PPP).
Gross domestic product (GDP) is usually used as an estimate of the total value of all materials, foodstuffs, goods and services that a country produces in one year. As GDP is a measure of commodities, the figure for each country is divided by the total population of the country in order to get the per capita GDP.
Gross national income (GNI) is a measure of the income that flows into a country from production no matter where in the world companies from that country may be operating.
Purchasing power parity (PPP) is the third important measurement of economic development. This tool calculates how much the local currency of a country can buy locally (i.e., what can you buy with CAD 20 in Canada compared with its equivalent in Colombia.
There are a number of other tools used to measure economic development and these are available in the resource section.