21 December, 2015

What is the list of “Western countries” in the world?

There is no single definition of what the West is, so the list of countries changes depending on context. The different contexts are outlined in this Wikipedia article.

To sum it up (quotes from WP):

Cultural definition – From a cultural and sociological approach the Western world is defined as including all cultures that are directly derived from and influenced by European cultures. This is probably the broadest definition.

Political definition – Countries of the Western world are generally considered to share certain fundamental political ideologies, including those of liberal democracy, the rule of law, human rights, equality.

Economic definition – The term “Western world” is sometimes interchangeably used with the term First World or developed countries, in context with the cultural definition.

Taking: (1) European culture; (2) very high human development; and  (3) liberal democratic principles, we get these countries:

Here are these countries listed in alphabetical order:

  1. Andorra
  2. Argentina
  3. Australia
  4. Austria
  5. Belgium
  6. Canada
  7. Chile
  8. Croatia
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Denmark
  11. Estonia
  12. Finland
  13. France
  14. Germany
  15. Greece
  16. Hungary
  17. Iceland
  18. Ireland
  19. Israel
  20. Italy
  21. Latvia
  22. Liechtenstein
  23. Lithuania
  24. Luxembourg
  25. Malta
  26. Monaco
  27. Netherlands
  28. New Zealand
  29. Norway
  30. Poland
  31. Portugal
  32. San Marino
  33. Slovakia
  34. Slovenia
  35. Spain
  36. Sweden
  37. Switzerland
  38. United Kingdom
  39. United States
  40. Vatican City

It is debatable whether Israel has “European culture”, though the centuries of European influence are undisputed. Many would also assert that Israel does not truly embody liberal democratic principles. Therefore the status of Israel on this list is debatable.

Poland and the Baltic States are European in culture, but distinct from Western Europe, albeit not as much as Russia or other East Slavic countries.

9 Comments on “What is the list of “Western countries” in the world?

17 July, 2017 at 8:08 am

Romania and Bulgaria are also western countries

17 July, 2017 at 10:10 am

Bulgaria is not considered a highly developed country by the United Nations as of 2016 (most recent development data).

A case could be made for Romania, but I don’t think incomes are high enough for it to qualify. There is still a massive gap in income and purchasing power.

27 August, 2017 at 8:03 am

I don’t think EU countries can be excluded from the list of the Western anyway, because of the definition itself of the EU. If you’re not an European, higly developed, fairly ‘rich’ democracy you can’t be in the EU. Romania and Bulgaria should definitely be here, and maybe Montenegro, Serbia and Albania as well.

27 August, 2017 at 12:44 pm

This is a difficult question because if we include Bulgaria, what about Russia which has higher income and development?

21 September, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Russia cannot be seen as democratic state.

7 August, 2017 at 4:18 am

This looks more like “the first world”. I would consider the whole south-America to be “West”. Regardless the economic income, they are undoubtedly European-based culture. One can see them as “poor West” countries.
btw, it’d be grate if you include a Twitter sharing button

Scott Perry
23 August, 2017 at 12:33 pm

There is one divide, between the old Western and Eastern Roman Empires, that some would define as the divide between East and West, That was a very genuine divide. It was a divide between Greek and Roman, and a divide between Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic. Still both halves of that divide were largely descended from the old Roman Empire itself.

Within the larger view of today’s wider world, I think it’s probably safe to say that the old “Eurpoean divide” is perhaps less of a divide, than the modern day divide between Occident and Orient.

Is Eastern Europe a part of the “West?” From Oriental eyes, probably “yes.” How about from Eastern European eyes? Perhaps maybe?? The verdict remains out.

8 October, 2017 at 9:56 pm

I know you were providing scholastic definitions of what constitutes Western Countries but these definitions are extremely problematic.

“Political definition – Countries of the Western world are generally considered to share certain fundamental political ideologies, including those of liberal democracy, the rule of law, human rights, equality.”

These quote on quote share values of liberal democracy or human rights and equality only apply to the rights of whites. Liberal democracy for the few at the expense of many has always been the structure of western law. To provide these definitions without providing proper context and establishing that these definitions have been created by the very people it represents, is problematics. I think it is important to mention that it is not an unbiased definition!

11 October, 2017 at 1:15 am

Name a single country where the rights of people of any background are better protected than in the West.


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