The term The South is often used to refer to the poorer, less technologically advanced nations of the world as opposed to The North, which is richer and more developed. In some cases the compass direction south is not accurate; Australia is in this sense a Northern country, even though it is not north of the equator.

The term The South can also be used to indicate the southern part of a particular country or geographical region. Within that region, if places with a common characteristic are mostly found in the south, then the South becomes a synonym for that characteristic.

  • Italy is one of several countries with a north-south divide where the poorer regions are in the south. The South is mainly agricultural, whilst the North is the richer industrial and commercial heartland of the country.

  • In England, by contrast, the South (or more acurately the South-east) is relativelty rich. It is the home to two-thirds of the population, and attracts higher salaries and greater job prospects than the North.

  • In the United States of America, the South refers to those states which seceded at the time of the American Civil War (see U.S. Southern States and Confederacy). These states were also more agricultural, while the Northern states were more industrial, meaning the North benefited more from the Industrial Revolution than the South. This difference was important in the Civil War, as it allowed for better equipment and manufacturing overall in the North, contributing to the Union victory.