Monday, March 16, 2009

World Mapper

Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest.

World Population:
In Spring 2000 world population estimates reached 6 billion; that is 6 thousand million. The distribution of the earth's population is shown in this map.India, China and Japan appear large on the map because they have large populations. Panama, Namibia and Guinea-Bissau have small populations so are barely visible on the map.

Population is very weakly related to land area. However, Sudan which is geographically the largest country in Africa, has a smaller population than Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Tanzania.

The size of each territory shows the relative proportion of the world's population living there.
Note: Many of the maps' subjects relate to people, so this map serves as a good reference map for comparison with many other maps.

Wealth:
This wealth map shows which territories have the greatest wealth when Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is compared using currency exchange rates. This indicates international purchasing power - what someone’s money would be worth if they wanted to spend it in another territory. For some their money will gain value when they move - others’ money will lose value. This facilitates the movement of some people, whilst severely limiting that of others.

Wealth, as reflected by GDP per person, is highest in Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland. It is lowest in Ethiopia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Absolute Poverty:
Absolute poverty is defined as living on the equivalent of US$2 a day or less. In 2002, 43% of the world population lived on this little. This money has to cover the basics of food, shelter and water. Medicines, new clothing, and school books would not be on the priority list.

When almost an entire population lives on this little, it is unsurprising if undernourishment is high, education levels are low, and life expectancy short. In both Nigeria and Mali, 9 of every ten people survives on less than US$2 a day.

South America has a relatively small poor population, yet 39 million people have less than US$2 a day in Brazil.

Territory size shows the proportion of all people living on less than or equal to US$2 in purchasing power parity a day.

"Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows." John Kenneth Galbraith, undated
Human Poverty:
Poverty is not just a financial state. Being poor affects life in many ways. The human poverty index uses indicators that capture non-financial elements of poverty, such as life expectancy, adult literacy, water quality, and children that are underweight. The 30 territories of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development use a different index which includes income and long-term unemployment; and not water quality or underweight children. This implies that the poor in richer territories are materially better off.

The highest human poverty index scores are in Central Africa, the lowest are in Japan.

Territory size shows the proportion of the world population living in poverty living there (calculated by multiplying population by one of two poverty indices).

"My field experience of the complexity and variety of country situations made me chary of stylised generalisations about ‘the third world’." Angus Maddison, 2002

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