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7 December, 2017

List of Western countries (Revised)


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. Since people are now visiting this page more frequently, I will present three definitions, which people can use depending on context:

The Latin West (cultural definition) – A broad definition of the West is all countries that were shaped historically by Western Christianity – today’s Catholic and Protestant churches. These countries use the Latin alphabet and have similar cultural and ethical values. They are not necessarily wealthy or politically aligned, however. This is my favorite definition, because I think it most accurately shows the divide between different worldviews.

The Cold War West (political definition) – These are the countries whose dominant culture is European that were aligned against the USSR during the Cold War. These countries had democratic, capitalist governments after World War II. They were not necessarily wealthy or even politically aligned, besides being against communism.

The Rich West (economic definition) – This is a narrower definition, but is commonly used nowadays. The Rich West consists of all European-settled countries whose GDP per capita is over US$10,000 (2016 World Bank estimate). This takes away many Central and South American countries that are not highly developed. On the other hand, this definition includes former communist countries like Poland and Latvia whose economies have improved greatly in the last generation.

Here are all the countries that fit any of these three definitions:

Country Cultural Political Economic
Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahamas
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bolivia
Brazil
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Grenada
Guatemala
Haiti
Honduras
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Jamaica
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Mexico
Monaco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Nicaragua
Norway
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Poland
Portugal
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent
San Marino
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Suriname
Sweden
Switzerland
Trinidad and Tobago
United Kingdom
United States
Uruguay
Vatican City
Venezuela

I am aware of the following things:

  • Former communist states like the Baltics, Romania and Bulgaria are now NATO and EU members, and thus could be politically considered Western.
  • Romania and Moldova speak a Romance language and use Latin script. By a different cultural definition they could also be Western.
  • The culture of Israel mostly comes from Europe, where a majority of Jews lived for centuries. It is also highly developed, and could be considered Western by these criteria.
  • 14 Comments on “List of Western countries (Revised)

    Alex
    17 July, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Romania and Bulgaria are also western countries

    Reply
    Sasha
    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.

    Reply
    Roccobot
    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.

    Reply
    Sasha
    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?

    Reply
    Yordan
    21 September, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Russia cannot be seen as democratic state.

    Blatt
    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

    Reply
    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.

    Reply
    Cristher
    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!

    Reply
    Sasha
    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.

    Reply
    Diego
    8 November, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Japan, South Korea, Costa rica, Uruguay

    Reply
    Jesús Mejías
    31 October, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Latin America in general is part of the West.

    Reply
    unknown
    11 November, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Almost every country on earth has been influenced by Western culture and ideology. Using the political and economic definitions, countries like Japan, India and most of South East Asia (obviously not Communist countries like China, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam) should be considered Western. Along with countries like South Africa or Brazil (pretty much all of South America) should be considered Western in this definition as well. The definition is too broad, too vague and really includes every country that has some kind of democracy or republic and has a fairly good economy.

    Reply
    Sasha
    2 December, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Don’t forget the requirement to have European or European-derived culture, which those Asian countries lack.

    Actually I would agree that Brazil is a Western country in most contexts. It all depends on context.

    Reply
    Bharath kumar
    15 November, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Afghanistan is also a western country

    Reply

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