This interactive graphic shows how the world is divided according to six different socioeconomic variables. The land area of each country represents its share of the worldwide total.
Click on a circle to reshape the map
For attribution and data sources, scroll to the bottom.
I have been having fun experimenting with cartograms lately. As maps go, they have their shortcomings. But when it comes to communicating magnitude, I think they are much more effective than maps that do so with color alone.
For more information about what a cartogram is, have a look at my last two posts, The Housing Value of Every County in the U.S. and A Striking Perspective on New York City Property Values.
For this map, I looked at several different socioeconomic variables to include. I went with these six because I thought they each revealed something interesting about the world.
The GDP-scaled map makes it clear how dominant the U.S. economy is. The next closest country, China, has only about half the economic size, despite having a population four times as large.
Looking at the world scaled by government debt, the first thing that jumps out is Japan. Their national debt is 2.3 times as large as their GDP. The U.S. debt is small by comparison, roughly equal to the U.S. GDP.
Population / Births
Asia is home to about three fifths of world’s population, and arguably the 10 largest human settlements in the world. On their own, China and India each have more people than Europe, Africa, or the Americas. However, the balance is shifting toward Africa, which is not far behind Asia in terms of annual births. According to a report by UNICEF, 40% of the world could be African by the end of the century.
On the topic of inequality, most of the talk is about income, which is more or less represented by GDP. However, wealth is arguably a more relevant measure. Compared to the income gap, the wealth gap shows a more pronounced divide between developed and developing nations.
The last variable, number of billionaires, was the one that surprised me most. 15 of the 20 richest people in the world are American, so I expected to see the U.S. dominate this category.
The U.S. has the highest number of billionaires, but relative to population size, it has fewer than either the U.K. or Germany. There are also many billionaires living in small Middle Eastern and fiscal paradise countries.
Hope you enjoy playing with the map. If you want to dig through the data yourself, you can download it here.
- Wealth and population data is from the 2014 Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse.
- Government debt, GDP, and births are from The World Factbook.
- Information about billionaires comes from the Wealth-X / UBS Billionaire Census.
- The cartograms were made using ScapeToad and animated with D3.
- Responsive iframe via pym.js.
I'm fascinated by data visualization and the ways that data is transforming our understanding of the world. I spend a lot of time with my face buried in Excel, and when I find something interesting I write about it here and as a contributor for the Huffington Post.
More about my background
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