Today, the term “Third World Country” is used to describe a nation that is in a low state of development, and is often applied with a rather derogative bent. However, when the term was originally coined by French historian Alfred Sauvy back in the 1950s, it had more to with a country’s political alignment and much less to do with their economic stability and degree of modernization.

Those countries who were considered to be Third World countries weren’t directly aligned with either their foils in the Communist Bloc or the NATO nations.

NATO countries included most of Europe, the United States, Japan, and others were looked at as First World countries, while China, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, and a plethora of other communist countries were considered to be Second World countries.

Truth be told, in America we should use the term Third World with more than just a single grain of salt, and not just because it’s a very pejorative and disrespectful assessment to any country.

In fact, many American neighborhoods and even a few entire cities and towns in the United States look about the same as what one likely imagines when they’re thinking about anything of the Third World.

Some of these towns that are very broken down are remote and rural, left to wallow far far away from any other population centers, while others have been tucked away into a corner of other major metropolitan centers. Some Third World neighborhoods that can be found in America were simply created and designed by the acute ravages of fire, storms, or riots, while others are the products of human history and what they’ve done within those affected areas.

Here are 15 American neighborhoods that look like Third World countries. Let us know your honest opinion and what your take on these neighborhoods is!

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South Los Angeles


The area we know today as South Los Angeles was called South Central for many years before official of the city thought it would be a good idea to rebrand the region in an attempt to help rehabilitate its image and ideally, its essence.

Neither the reality nor the optics changes very much, sadly. While some parts of South Los Angeles have grown to become more pleasant and safer over the years, such as the streets around the University of Southern California, many other parts of this region remain the exact same as they’ve been for years and years.

A dangerous ghetto that has been plagued by gang activity, crime, violence, drugs, and with little hopes for any improvement anytime soon.

The fifty-plus square mile region is home to well over a quarter million people presently. Interestingly enough, 15 years ago as many as double today’s numbers called South Los Angeles their home.