Third world countries are underdeveloped nations where poverty is rampant. Third world countries also referred to nations that never sided with the policies of the United States or the former Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Third world countries are the less developed nations of Latin America, Africa and Asia. Some nations on these continents are also called developing nations, but "third world" usually refers to countries with the least amount of economic progress. Since many of these nations were predominately poorer than the former Soviet Union and the United States, the term "third world" also became synonymous with poverty. The United States and other western nations were referred to as first world nations, and the Soviet Union and its allies were fashioned as second world countries.