Is Thailand a third world country?
Thailand is definitely not a third world country. It is a newly industrialized country, with a GDP of 17.367 trillion baht (US$536 billion) in 2022, the 9th largest economy of Asia.

Thailand is actually a first world country as it sided with the USA in the Cold War. Before you ask, “Isn’t Thailand poor???”, I have to clarify a few things.

Using 1st world, 2nd world, and 3rd world for economic development is pretty stupid. By this definition:

  • Nicaragua, Haiti, and Pakistan are 1st world countries because they are allied with the USA in the Cold War.
  • China, North Korea, and Russia are 2nd world countries because they are allied to the USSR in the Cold War (in the map below, China and the Soviets split apart in the 1980s)
  • Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland are 3rd world countries because they aren’t aligned to any country.

These terms are pretty dumb and American-centric. Using it as an economic indicator is also even more dumb.

But I get what the question means:

  • 1st world translates to developed countries.
  • 2nd world translates to developing countries.
  • 3rd world translates to least developed countries.

To answer the question, no, Thailand isn’t a least developed country. It is a developing country.

Blue: Developed

Orange: Developing

Red: Least developed