The two countries I chose are New Zealand and Afghanistan. I chose these countries because I wanted to contrast a MEDC country and a LEDC. MEDC country stands for More Economically Developed Country, and LEDC stands for Least Developed Country. New Zealand is a MEDC country and Afghanistan is a LEDC, so I wanted to contrast the two countries. I contrasted the two countries using an app called Gapminder. Gapminder allows you to compare and contrast countries by using a scatter graph.
Life expectancy and GDP
Life expectancy(how long people lives on average in a country) of Afghanistan and New Zealand in the 1800 are very low. In Afghanistan, the life expectancy is 28 years and in New Zealand, it is 34 years.The main cause of the low life expectancy is that the medical care in these countries were not high, and people in these countries did not know how to effectively cure diseases such as the flu. But on the other hand, there are other reasons too. Before 1800, in Afghanistan there were many wars such as the fight against the Maratha empire. This might have caused some decrease to the population, causing the country to have less life expectancy compared to New Zealand. The GDP(The total money the country produces divided by the number of the total population of the country) of these two countries are both low because these countries were not industrialized at 1800. GDP in New Zealand was 450 dollars annually, and in Afghanistan it is 440 dollars. But at 1840, the GDP of New Zealand suddenly started to increase significantly, and Afghanistan got left behind. And by 1870, New Zealand became one of the country that has the highest GDP in the world. This rapid increase of GDP was caused by the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi).The Treaty was signed by the representatives of the British Crown and Māori in 1840. The purpose of the Treaty was to enable the British settlers and the Māori people to live together in New Zealand under common sets of laws. By doing this, the money that the country creates increased significantly. Oh tho there was a rapid increase in terms of GDP, I thought something was strange. The GDP was increasing, but the life expectancy was not increasing. Looking at all other countries in the scatter graph, I could see that as the GDP of these countries are increasing, the country’s life expectancy was increasing as well. This was because people in high GDP countries are able to buy healthy food and have access to clean water. Also, because people who lives in high GDP country have access to high medical care, they can also go to doctor to live longer. Because of this, many people lives longer, causing higher life expectancy. But on the other hand, oh tho New Zealand was developing in terms of GDP, their life expectancy stayed the same. I researched and found out that many maori died because of diseases such as influenza that the settlers brought into the country. Because Maori’s were not immune to these diseases, many of them died. But as many Maori died, many settlers started to live in New Zealand, causing the graph to seem like the population is not increasing nor decreasing. As the time progresses at the 19’s, New Zealand grew in terms of GDP per capita. As the GDP of the country increases, people had more money to buy healthy food and drinks and also go to doctors when sick. But at 1914-1918, there was the world war 1. The war caused approximately 17 million people do die, changing the life expectancy of both two countries massively. The life expectancy of Afghanistan dropped to 7 years old, and in New Zealand, the life expectancy was about 52 years old. Because many people died, the people who died decreased the average life expectancy of the country, causing the number to drop down. As the time progress, both countries became more developed, and as the GDP of both countries increases, the life expectancy increases at the same time. By 1950-1960, Afghanistan started to become much more modularize and many buildings and factories were made, causing the life expectancy and the GDP starting to increase significantly. By 2015, has developed massively in terms of GDP and life expectancy . But because of the head start that the New Zealand had such as the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand became a MEDC country and Afghanistan became the LEDC country.
Fertility rate and birth rate
The fertility rate indicates the total number of live births per 1000 of a population in a year, and the birth rate indicates the total number of live births per 1,000 of a population in a year. In the 1800’s, The fertility rate of Afghanistan and New Zealand were both high, meaning that many women had many children. In addition, the child molarity is pretty low, meaning that many children died before the age of 6. Looking at the data, it is clear that many women had many children, to make sure that enough of them survived to be able to help the family farm, hunt and etc. As the time progress to 1935, we could clearly see that New Zealand had fewer total fertility compared to Afghanistan. The total fertility of New Zealand was 2.2 but in comparison, Afghanistan still had high fertility with 7.3 children per woman. The change happened because New Zealand was more advanced with birth control and also had higher medical development, causing people to just have 2-3 healthy babies. But in comparison, Afghanistan had to still make sure that enough babies survive to help farming, hunting and etc. This is a clear example of the difference between a MEDC country and a LEDC country. As the time progress to 2015, babies born in developed countries costs a lot of money, due to the money spent to go to school/college, food supplies, and hobbies when the baby gets older, it is very difficult to have 7-8 children per family. This changed cause more change to New Zealand and the fertility dropped significantly compared to the 1800.
Infant mortality rate is the number of infants dying before reaching one year of age, per 1,000 live births in a given year. New Zealand has been steady from 1980-2015, and it is very low. Around 1980, the infant mortality was only 9 -11 and in 2015, the infant mortality is 5. But in comparison, the Infant Morality of Afghanistan in 1980 is 140-123, and in 2015, it is still 73-66. From my research I am sure that the difference is caused by diseases in LEDC countries that kills many infants, and also the medical care for babies are not very advanced compared to MEDC countries like New Zealand, causing the major difference. But both Afghanistan and New Zealand is becoming more advanced at decreasing Infant Mortality.
Human Development Index/Literacy rate
The Human development is a calculation of life expectancy, education, and income per capita indicators. Countries are ranked from 0-1. By looking at the data, I could observe that not all but many countries that has low HDI such as Afghanistan also has low literacy, and countries that have high HDI has high literacy rate. In 2003, New Zealand had the literacy rate of 99%, but on the other hand Afghanistan’s literacy rate is 38.2%, which is significantly lower. The cause of this problem is that countries with lower HDI have a harder time paying for education. And in addition, families that are in low HDI countries need helps from their children to work for the family, especially girls. This also answers the reason why more girls do not go to school compared to boys.
Population growth (annual%)
The Looking at the population growth, I could see that the population of Afghanistan and New Zealand is both growing. The dots that represent the two countries:Afghanistan and New Zealand, almost never crossed the 0 line, meaning that the population of New Zealand and Afghanistan almost never went down. This means that more people are born then more people are dying. As we learned in class, the majority of these deaths are caused by diseases, natural disasters, suicide and murders(mostly terrorist, and gang attacks) But because we have developed massively in terms of knowledge about the world. We have learned how to cure diseases, avoid natural disasters, and protect citizens from murders. This is the reason why the population of these two countries are growing.
In conclusion, it is clear that many MEDC countries like New Zealand are more advanced economically, compared to LEDC countries like Afghanistan. They are more advanced in terms of literacy rate, GDP, life expectancy and much more. But on the other hand we could see that New Zealand had a head start because of the Treaty of Waitangi giving the key to become an MEDC country. But I am sure Afghanistan will develop massively like New Zealand as well. By finding out why the life expectancy of New Zealand did not increase, I was able to understand that numbers do not always explain everything in detail, so I will have to occasionally research about something, to “find the truth” behind the numbers.