Category Archives: Europe

12 Data viz that show poverty’s biggest challenges

infant-fuzzy-nichols_5895_990x742

Here’s a collection of some of the best data visualizations on global literacy, mortality, birth rates and more that will help put some of the biggest issues surrounding poverty today into perspective. The good news: Extreme poverty is declining, and life expectancy and incomes on the whole are on the up and up. The bad news: We still have a lot of work to do!

1. Changes in Life Expectancies and Incomes

Hans Rosling’s Gapminder project has long been one of the best data visualization tools for understanding how poverty and welfare are changing. Countries’ life expectancies and incomes per person have increased significantly in the past two centuries. This is true for every single country of the world, though needless to say there are some countries that have developed more rapidly than others. Notice how in 1800 the world starts as a clump of consistent figures. But as time progresses, the inequality between countries increases.

2. The World’s Remaining Extreme Poor

tumblr_inline_n3v531FPKt1rpp551

Extreme poverty is most commonly referred to as those making under USD $1.25 a day. This statistic is most often brought up to address how there remain areas in the world where people suffer from extreme lack of resources, and are likely stuck in the poverty cycle.

According to a World Bank Report, the nation with by far the highest existence of extreme poverty is India, followed by China and then Nigeria. These are perhaps unexpected countries to encompass the majority of the remaining extreme poor, for they all have relatively high GDPs and boast concentrated sectors of rapid industrialization. Notice how the top ten nations listed are all in Asia and Africa.

3. The World’s Access to Energy

20130601_gdc721

 Why focus on Africa? Because as you can see from the dark blue coloring, Sub-Saharan Africa is by far the region with the least access to energy. In 2010, the percentage of sub-Saharan African people who lacked proper access to energy was well over 50 percent. Limited or no access to energy has serious implications. Without energy to light up a house, heat a house, refrigerate food or recharge a phone, necessary steps towards improving education, income and health become much more difficult.

4. The Dwindling of Extreme Poverty

tumblr_inline_muieciez5X1rpp551

The Brookings Institute designed this graphic to show exactly how quickly the number of people living in extreme poverty in the world are disappearing. Starting in the early 2010s, figures turn to predictions of the future, with the green area demonstrating the worst case scenario for future levels of extreme poverty, and purple demonstrating the best. As evident, the number of people (in millions) that are living in extreme poverty is falling dramatically, and all predictions expect a continuation of that decline. Mean daily consumption here is measured in purchasing power parity to allow for a better comparison across nations and regions.

5. The World’s Literacy Rates

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 4.28.00 PM

What regions would you expect to have the highest or lowest literacy rates? What are the differences in men and women’s literacy rates? The graph above answers just these questions, showing how “industrialized countries” have near total literacy, where as the MENA and sub-Saharan African countries still have large sections of their population unable to read or write.

The gender gap in literary rates grows more and more apparent with lower total literacy rates. This visualization is merely one graph of a more interactive copulation of data measuring worldwide education by Gregor Aisch, a graphics editor for The New York Times. His additional graphics also depict school enrollment ratios since the Millenium Development Goals were implemented and expenditures on education versus the military.

6.  National Population Growth Rates

birth-rates

The world’s population is always changing drastically, with some countries growing rapidly and others shrinking in population size. The Washington Post created this map to show just which countries are growing faster and which have the most negative growth. There is indeed a trend of countries with higher GDPs growing slower or stagnating, while the poorest countries are often the ones growing most rapidly.

This is largely due to the remaining high fertility rates in developing countries even as mortality rates are falling, resulting in enormous population growth. Africa has the most countries with high growth, while Eastern Europe, Russia, and Japan all have shrinking populations.

7. Forecasts of Population Growth

tumblr_inline_mp0opgbhjt1qz4rgp
This visualization is a little trickier to interpret, but it certainly shows how the world is changing. As can be seen at the bottom of the graphic, the majority of the most populous nations in 1950 were in Europe, with China and India sitting atop the list. Today, we see the South American nations of Brazil and Mexico enter the top 12 most populous nations, along with the African nation of Nigeria. The only European nation that remains is Russia.

The forecast for 2050, then, includes 3 African nations, no European nations, and India has replaced China on top. The regional percentage changes in population show how Africa and Asia are predicted to far and away lead the growth. According to the Economist and the ICEF Monitor, “more than half of the extra 2.4 billion people in 2050 will be African. India will swell to 1.6 billion people; it is on track to overtake China in 2028.” As Thomas Malthus can tell you, predictions on population can be tricky. But if the world’s growth rates were to continue as they are, the distribution of people in the world would be quite different from what we see today, and extraordinarily different from what we saw a half century ago.

8. The Relative Sizes of Africa’s GDPs

data-visualization-gelman

Curious which nations in Africa are the richest? Above you can see by a simple size-graphic which countries are the wealthiest measured by GDP. The relative sizes of the squares show just how much wealthier South Africa is than the other countries, etc. But fair warning, this graphic shows nothing about each nation’s measure of inequality. To do that, the Gini coefficients, which are numbers between 0 and 1 that measure the inequality of an economy, would also need to be included. Though Nigeria has one of the highest GDPs in Africa, its Gini coefficient and inequality is actually fairly high because the vast majority of wealth is concentrated among a select few.

9. The World’s Birth Rate Statistics

birth

As mentioned above, birth rates are so important because they are some of the best predictors of population growth rates, which in turn have implications for overall welfare. Notice a similarity in the top 12 countries with the highest number of children per woman? All of them except for Afghanistan and Timor-Leste are in Africa. On this link, you can also check out similar graphics on population, education, and energy.

10. The World’s Mortality Statistics

mortality

What is another important determinant of welfare and population growth? Certainly mortality rates. While this visualization is a bit of an assault of information, there are a couple important take-aways. On the left, check out the difference in developing countries and industrialized countries for mortailty rates of children under 5, for which the 2005 data is highlighted in green. Then on the bottom right you can see the 10 countries with the highest infant mortality rates, again all of which are in Africa except for Afghanistan.

11. Mapping Internet Against Population

This map is especially cool because not only does it show internet access by the location of IP addresses, but it geo-locates internet access against population size. This shows how huge population centers such as India may be lacking proper internet access (in blue), while other places like Australia and the central United States may have total access to the internet even with small populations (red).

 12. Demographics of a 100-Person World

if-the-world-were-100-people-1

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 10.05.55 AM

This might be the most simplistic graphic of the bunch, but it is also one of the most explanatory. If we were to imagine that the world’s population was comprised of just 100 people, holding constant the demographics that exist today, we can turn the percentage data of these demographics into hard numbers. This allows us to to see how if the world were made of 100 people, 60 of them would live in Asia, 17 of them would not be able to read, and 13 would not have access to clean water. That’s astounding!

See the original post on ONE.org!

Advertisements

World Population Shifts, 1950 to 2050

1446528

The World Bank Dataviz blog (through the Economist) has produced yet another prediction graphic that has immediately become one of my favorites-

tumblr_inline_mp0opgbhJt1qz4rgp

At the top is a percentage change forecast of population from present day up until 2050 by world region. Africa’s population change is spiking with its high fertility rates and decreasing child mortality rates, surpassing Asia with the population giants of India and China in rate of change. Europe, by this time, is expected to see negative population growth, as some northern European nations are already experiencing.

“The world in 1950 looked very different from how it does now. Europe was home to 22% of the world’s 2.5 billion people. Germany, Britain, Italy and France all counted among the 12 most populous countries. But strong economic growth in Asia coupled with high fertility rates in Africa have contributed to a big regional shift in the global population.”

Below the rate of change graph is a remarkable chart of the most populous nation within the 50 year intervals, color-coded by region. As would be assumed with the knowledge of the above graph, the blue of European nations quickly disappears as it is replaced by the yellow of Asia in the current year. Then the yellow is subsequently replaced by more of the red of Africa by 2050.

The world is changing. Rapidly. And it is important for people to understand where the trends of population are heading, for these trends predict where substantial development and social change is to take place. It would be best for the world to be a step ahead with these developments, as opposed to needing to shamefully catch up.

The World’s Children and their Valuables

May-21-2012-00-36-16-dfgfdgh

Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti traversed the globe to capture young children standing behind their most prized possessions. The goal of the collection is of course to accent the differences in the quantity and quality of toys found among regions of varying culture and wealth. The first photo, featuring Chiwa from Malawi, is undoubtedly my favorite. I have a soft spot for toy dinosaurs.

Here’s the original link.

gabriele_galimberti_12

Chiwa – Mchinji, Malawi

gabriele_galimberti_4

Stella – Montecchio, Italy

gabriele_galimberti_6

Pavel – Kiev, Ukraine

gabriele_galimberti_15

Arafa & Aisha – Bububu, Zanzibar

gabriele_galimberti_11

Cun Zi Yi – Chongqing, China

gabriele_galimberti_14

Bethsaida – Port au Prince, Haiti

gabriele_galimberti_7

Orly-Brownsville,Texas, USA

gabriele_galimberti_13

Botlhe – Maun, Botswana

gabriele_galimberti_2

Watcharapom – Bangkok, Thailand

gabriele_galimberti_1

Alessia – Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy

gabriele_galimberti_8

Norden – Massa, Morocco

gabriele_galimberti_10

Julia – Tirana, Albania

gabriele_galimberti_9

Keynor – Cahuita, Costa Rica

gabriele_galimberti_5

Shaira – Mumbai, India

gabriele_galimberti_3

Tangawizi – Keekorok, Kenya

Mali and the French Intervention

Lion_vs_Hyena,_Guess_who_wins

Last Friday France sent troops into Mali “with the aim of halting the Islamists’ advance south.” And it seems for the past week that whenever there has been a headline about insurgency in Mali, increasing French support has been the bulk of the article. Even today, more troops were sent into the country by France as the fighting continued, reportedly increasing the number from 800 to roughly 2,500. President Francois Hollande has said that France’s ultimate goals are “to stop the terrorist aggression… make Bamako safe… and enable Mali to recover its territorial integrity.” In addition, West African troops are also being sent in from Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Benin, Ghana, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Togo, and Burkina Faso. It seems that the southern nations of Mali’s region are making a statement.

So where does the United States fit into all of this? From a U.S. point of view it is interesting to be on the sideline of a terrorist intervention, for usually the U.S. is the acting forerunner in these situations. For an interesting op-ed on why the U.S. and Algeria should back the french support, read this.

What happened to the E.U.?

In the third quarter of this year, exactly one in four people in Spain are out of work with the unemployment rate still rising. And more government cutbacks are evident. Unfortunately, though an extreme, Spain is not an outlier in the European Union’s collapse.
So from an economist’s point of view, what happened? How did a cooperative system of developed states, collectively creating one of the largest world economies, fail so dramatically? And how are countries like Spain still feeling harsh repercussions from a crisis that started in late 2009?

A BBC News article written in June has one answer. Although it’s very difficult to identify all of the variables and conditions that cause an economic crisis, this article does a good job of articulating and diagramming the decisions that resulted in the huge amounts of debt. The short version is that the E.U. decided it would set a 3% borrowing limit for each nation. But many countries did not stay true on this promise, amassing large governmental deficits. In addition, investment in the private sector shot up due to extremely low-interest rates, adding to the “debt-fueled boom” and creating a trade surplus in Germany but trade deficits in the southern nations. Lastly, wages rose in some E.U. nations while others (Germany) kept the wage rates steady, resulting in a competitive price disadvantage for the rising wage nations. With a price disadvantage southern European countries found themselves in a hole, unable to make the capital needed to pay off their debts. Thus Spain and several other nations continue to have crippling unemployment today, and nations are asking for bailouts from the successful E.U. nations who arguably played a large role in their collapse.

A Foreign Perspective on the U.S. Presidential Debate

Last night saw the clash of U.S. President incumbent Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney over economic policies, healthcare, and tax cuts, all in the hopes they could win over American votes for the Presidential election in 2012. While most Americans tuned in, you can be sure that there were also foreign citizens watching the debate intensely, aware of the effect this election can have on U.S. international policies and trade.
The example World on Safari uses is Spain, the only nation mentioned in the debate other than China. It was Governor Romney who brought up Spain’s failing economy, warning the American people to steer clear of a similar economic path. Spain’s reaction to Governor Romney’s remarks were quite indignant. Spain’s Secretary-General Maria Dolores de Cospedal commented that many people who perhaps have an interest in an unstable euro are putting unfair blame on Spain, (similar to Greece). Spain touted that its nation was an example for economic recovery after hardship, and made clear that many Spanish took great offense to Governor Romney’s quip about spending too much on government. As Presidential nominees, both candidates should put American interests first without question. That being said, it is not a good idea to go out-of-the-way to bad-mouth other nations, especially those we are trying to build better relations with. Dealings with China are known to be tense, so to call the Chinese cheaters and the Spanish failures in a widely media covered debate is not the most diplomatic action a Presidential candidate can make.