How programming languages differ between wealthy countries and developing countries

High Score Labs News   •   Oct 21, 2021

Does it really make sense to segment the software development sector into high-income countries and low-income countries? Well, as odd as it may sound, there may be a need for this.

As a developer, do you sometimes wonder how your counterparts halfway across the world go about their work? You may have seen these differences because of some hiccups when there’s a need to collaborate with developers in other countries. This article uncovers the differences between programming languages used in wealthy countries and developing countries. Then, we’ll see how the statistic can apply in the real world.

The Criteria

For this article, we stick to the preexisting World Bank income classification criteria, which is based on gross national income per capita. There are 76 high-income countries, including Canada, the USA, Australia, Western Europe, East Asia, and parts of the Middle East, etc. The low-income or developing countries include India, equatorial Africa, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brazil, Russia, and China.


The following disparities exist between programming languages and technologies used in wealthy countries and developing countries:

  • Data science technologies

Python and R have a much broader usage in wealthy countries than in developing countries. Renowned Data Scientist – David G Robinsonexplained that Python, for instance, is used two times more in rich countries than in developing ones; and R, three times as much.

This gap is quite reasonable considering the scientific and academic research applications of the technologies. And this is not hard to believe if you consider that scientific research makes up a larger portion of the economies of industrialized, high-income countries where developers are more likely to pursue and possess advanced degrees.

  • Android and PHP

Both Android and PHP have more significant usage in developing countries. As we all know, Stack overflow is home to questions from developers in both poor and affluent countries. Stack overflow revealed a negative correlation between the number of questions relating to android and the level of development in users’ countries. This implies that the wealthier a country is, the less likely it is for its developers to ask android related questions.

The tag that’s most inordinately accessed from developing countries is CodeIgniter, an open-source framework based on PHP. The margin is vast, especially in areas like Indonesia and the Philippines.

  • C/C++

As a result of the high level of education in wealthier countries, C and C++ are used extensively in American universities. The same pattern is seen in most other rich countries – C and C++ sweep the table among most programming languages used. Another reason for the divide may be the geographic distribution of electronics and manufacturing industries in wealthy countries.

Real-world Applications

These statistics help open our eyes to the wide differences that exist within the development community. For instance, in 2021, Python will be the most used programming language in wealthy countries, while it’s only the sixth most popular in countries like the Philippines. Therefore, obtaining two sets of data for both categories and juxtaposing the data will help provide better insights into the technologies available to developers worldwide. Analysis in this direction might also help recruiters know their target population when looking for IT talents to fill specific positions.

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