Is Croatia A First World Country?

Croatia has only 3.7 million people living in a land area of around 56,594 km2. Nevertheless, this small country in the crossroads of Central and Eastern Europe has a strong claim to being a highly developed nation. Croatia has mentality of excellence despite few resources, and that mindset of excellence has made this small country very important, especially in the area of human capital development.

Croatia has an impressive history; it has been inhabited since prehistoric times. During the Roman Era this was an important province. Croatia even produced at least one Roman Emperor. There are many relics of Roman Civilization in and around the area.

Its recent history has been quite bloody; Croatia has been part of Yugoslavia, Nazi Germany and a Second Yugoslavia. All of this was because the country was deemed important enough. Despite all of these, Croatia has thrived as is shown below.

Is Croatia A First World Country?

By the old definition, the answer would be no, but by the current definition yes, Croatia is a First World country. Yes, the phrase “First World” has had two different definitions over the years, and it is important to understand the meanings so as to get a fuller sense of the idea behind the phrase.

Learning the history of the phrase may even give you ideas as to the intention of those who coined the phrase. One can then make the decision as to whether to use such a phrase or not.

The Old Meaning Of First World  

The phrase “First World” was invented by a French demographer during the Cold War. The meaning was purely political; it meant countries that supported the United States as it fought against the Soviet Union and its allies. History remembers that the Cold War was an ideological conflict between the forces of Capitalism and Communism.

Capitalism was championed by the US, and Communism was championed by the Soviet Union.

First World countries by that definition included countries like the US, The UK, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, and New Zealand.

On the other side of the divide were countries like the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Romania and Poland. These were members of an understanding called the Warsaw Pact.

Capitalist countries were more prosperous, and gave more freedoms to their citizens, while Communists had fewer resources which they sought to distribute equitably. Communist countries were mostly militarized; and many of them were held by despots.

The Current Meaning Of First World

When the cold war ended, the phrase First World had to be redefined because it remained quite popular. It was redefined to have an economic meaning: rich countries, industrialized countries, and developed countries- depending on the context of the particular usage.

Characteristics of “First World” countries include high income among citizens, highly industrialized economies, stable democratic societies, and low levels of unemployment.

Other important metrics include high literacy rates, high human development index, and low mortality rates. First world countries usually have governments that are accountable to the people, and the wealth is usually held in private hands.

It is important to mention that the political structure of the country is very important in making a country prosperous. Investors only invest in a country when they are convinced that it is not about to go to flames. Therefore, it is not surprising to see countries like Germany, USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand topping the list of First World countries because these are all stable societies.

Now there is a pyramid instead of another side; countries are arranged according to their economic strengths.

Second World Countries

Second World countries are mostly those in the eastern part of Europe, as well as some countries in Asia. Some countries in North Africa also fall under this category; they have industry, but have not been able to maximize their effects on their economies.

Third World Countries

Third World countries are mostly those in sub Saharan Africa; the Caribbean, and Oceania. Many of the countries that fall under this category have highly combustible societies; they are prone to war. They have the least productive economies in the world, as well as the poorest systems of education and healthcare.

How Does Croatia Fare?

Croatia is a developed country with wealthy citizens profiting from an industrialized economy. Despite being small, Croatia offers its citizens with every good thing they can want.

The country prides itself in its rich history, its level of development so far, and its prospects for the future. The following give insights as to why Croatia is a First World country.

Croatia Has A Stable Society  

Croatia is a stable constitutional state which has a President, Parliament, a Prime Minister, and a Judiciary. The constitution is the document that supersedes all offices and their actions. This balance of power has kept the country stable, and the transfer of power from one administration to the next is usually peaceful.

Croatia Has A Good Economy

Croatia has a good economy; its GDP per capita stands at $32.942. Croatia’s economy is driven by Services, Industry, Agriculture, Tourism, and Energy. Croatia’s main exports include; ships, timber, processed foods, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products. However, the biggest single sector is the services industry, which is tied to the tourism industry.

Croatia’s tourist attractions are scattered throughout the country, and tourists need to use services like transportation, hospitality, and so on, in order to enjoy them.

Other Metrics

Croatia has a life expectancy of 77.72 years, as well as a high literacy rate. The country has very good healthcare, and a high rating on the human development index makes it no surprise that the hospitals are manned with very good doctors with vast training and experience.



Croatia is applauded for its sound economy and high rating on the human development index for which it has been given First World status. However, the country also struggles with internal problems such as an inefficient judiciary, corruption, and a public administration that is not working.