Charted: Four Decades of U.S. Inflation
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Charted: Four Decades of U.S. Inflation

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Four Decades of U.S. Inflation

Charted: Four Decades of U.S. Inflation

In May 2022, the annual rate of U.S. inflation grew to 8.6%—the highest it’s been in four decades, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What’s driving this surge, and what products are seeing the most significant price jumps?

This visualization by Pablo Alvarez shows U.S. inflation levels since 1982 and highlights a few product categories that have seen the biggest year-over-year increases.

The Category Breakdown

Perhaps unsurprisingly, energy sources have seen the biggest year-over-year climb. Gasoline has seen one of the biggest spikes, up 48.7% since May 2021.

Item% yearly change (May 2022)
Gasoline (all types)48.7%
Energy34.6%
Natural Gas30.2%
Electricity12.0%
Food10.1%
All items8.6%
Apparel5.0%

Across the U.S., the average price of gas sat at $4.807 per gallon as of July 4, and experts predict this figure could grow to $6 per gallon by the end of the summer.

While fuel prices were on the upswing prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, due to loosening COVID-19 restrictions and increased demand for travel, the conflict sent oil prices skyrocketing. This is because many countries placed sanctions on Russian oil, which put a squeeze on global supply.

Food has also seen a massive cost spike, up 10.1% since May 2021. This is largely due to supply-chain issues, increased transportation costs, and fertilizer shortages.

The Spending Spree Continues

Despite rising prices, many consumers have been continuing to spend. In May 2022, personal consumption expenditures (which account for inflation) were up 0.5% compared to the month prior, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Rather than adjust their spending habits, Americans have been relying on their savings to cope with price hikes. A recent survey of over 2,000 Americans showed that 67% of respondents have used some of their savings to deal with price increases, and 23% have made a substantial dent in their nest eggs.

To help combat inflation, central banks have been raising interest rates to encourage savings and ultimately slow down spending. But this is a delicate dance—if rates are raised too fast and spending screeches to a halt, this could lead to a recession.

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Misc

Countries with the Highest (and Lowest) Proportion of Immigrants

Here, we highlight countries that are magnets for immigration, such as UAE and Qatar, as well as nations with very few foreign born residents.

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countries with the highest proportion of immigrants

Countries with the Highest Proportion of Immigrants

For people living in cosmopolitan urban centers, it’s easy to overestimate the prevalence of immigrants around the world.

The median proportion of foreign-born people in all countries is just over 5%. In countries with a population greater than one million, only four are majority foreign-born, and only eight surpass the one-third mark.

Here are the top 20 countries with the highest proportion of immigrants in their populations:

CountryImmigrants as a percentage of population
🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates88%
🇶🇦 Qatar77%
🇰🇼 Kuwait73%
🇧🇭 Bahrain55%
🇴🇲 Oman46%
🇸🇬 Singapore43%
🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia39%
🇯🇴 Jordan34%
🇦🇺 Australia30%
🇨🇭 Switzerland29%
🇳🇿 New Zealand29%
🇱🇧 Lebanon25%
🇮🇱 Israel23%
🇨🇦 Canada21%
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan20%
🇸🇪 Sweden20%
🇦🇹 Austria19%
🇩🇪 Germany19%
🇬🇦 Gabon19%
🇮🇪 Ireland18%

Source: UN via World Population Review. Note: Only countries with a population of greater than one million are included.

The United Arab Emirates comes out on top for the highest proportion of immigrants in its population. Impressively, the small Middle Eastern nation ranks sixth in the world for total immigrant population (8.7 million people).

Other countries on the Arabian Peninsula also rank at the top of this list. In Qatar, current host of the 2022 World Cup, 3-in-4 people are immigrants. The high proportion of foreign workers in the country also results in an extreme demographic skew—approximately 75% of the population of Qatar is male.

The one extreme outlier in the region is war-torn Yemen, where only 1.3% of the population are immigrants.

Outside the Middle East, Singapore (43%) takes top spot, followed by Australia (30%).

Spotlight on U.S. Immigration

Although the United States is outside the top 20, it still has by far the most immigrants of any other country (50 million vs. 16 million in second-place Germany).

About 15% of people in the U.S. are immigrants—numbers which are comparable to the historic high in the late 19th century. The proportion of foreign-born people in the country has been on the rise since the 1970s, and is projected to continue rising in coming decades. Around 2030, immigration is expected to surpass natural increases as a driver of population growth.

Countries with the Lowest Proportion of Immigrants

A few countries are magnets for immigration, while a great many more receive very little immigration. This can simply be due to lack of demand, or because of more extreme circumstances such as war or a failing economy. In other cases, immigration policies may limit the number of people who can migrate to a country.

Here are the top 20 countries with the lowest proportion of immigrants in their populations:

CountryImmigrants as a percentage of population
🇨🇺 Cuba0.03%
🇨🇳 China0.07%
🇻🇳 Vietnam0.08%
🇮🇩 Indonesia0.13%
🇲🇬 Madagascar0.13%
🇲🇲 Myanmar0.14%
🇭🇹 Haiti0.17%
🇰🇵 North Korea0.19%
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka0.19%
🇵🇭 Philippines0.21%
🇲🇦 Morocco0.28%
🇮🇳 India0.35%
🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea0.35%
🇦🇫 Afghanistan0.37%
🇸🇴 Somalia0.37%
🇪🇷 Eritrea0.39%
🇭🇳 Honduras0.40%
🇬🇹 Guatemala0.47%
🇰🇭 Cambodia0.47%
🇹🇳 Tunisia0.51%

Cuba has the lowest level of foreign-born people in its population. The Caribbean nation makes it very difficult for foreign nationals obtain permanent residency.

China comes in second last. In absolute terms, the million or so immigrants living in China may sound like a lot, but pales in comparison to the overall population of 1.4 billion.

Interestingly, Japan–which is the poster child for low immigration–isn’t on the list above. The country’s foreign-born population sits at just over 2%.

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Money

The U.S. and China Account for Half the World’s Household Wealth

This visualization breaks down how household wealth is distributed around the world. Just 10 countries now account for 75% of total household wealth.

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The U.S. and China Account for Half the World’s Household Wealth

Measures like GDP are commonly used to understand the overall wealth and size of the economy. While looking at economic output on an annual basis is useful, there are other metrics to consider when evaluating the wealth of a nation.

Household wealth statistics reveal which country’s citizens are accruing the highest level of money and assets worldwide.

This visual utilizes data from Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report to break down the latest estimates for household wealth by country.

Household Wealth, by Country

Here’s how the world’s $463 trillion in household wealth is distributed:

RankCountryHousehold Wealth (2022)% of World Total
#1🇺🇸 United States$145.8T31.5%
#2🇨🇳 China$85.1T18.4%
#3🇯🇵 Japan$25.7T5.5%
#4🇩🇪 Germany$17.5T3.8%
#5🇬🇧 United Kingdom$16.3T3.5%
#6🇫🇷 France$16.2T3.5%
#7🇮🇳 India$14.2T3.1%
#8🇨🇦 Canada$12.4T2.7%
#9🇮🇹 Italy$11.5T2.5%
#10🇦🇺 Australia$10.6T2.3%
#11🇰🇷 South Korea$10.1T2.2%
#12🇪🇸 Spain$8.4T1.8%
#13🇹🇼 Taiwan$5.9T1.3%
#14🇳🇱 Netherlands$5.4T1.2%
#15🇨🇭 Switzerland$4.9T1.1%
Rest of World$73.6T15.6%
Total:$463.6T100.0%

As the table above demonstrates, global household wealth is far from being distributed equally.

Country-Level Wealth Concentration

Much of global wealth is concentrated in the biggest economies, with households in China and the U.S. combining to make up half of all personal wealth in the world. This differs slightly from using GDP as a measure, where the U.S. and China make up 24% and 19% of the world economy in nominal terms, respectively.

Today, just 10 countries account for 75% of total household wealth.

One of the biggest changes in recent years is the rise of wealth in China. A decade ago, China’s citizens were estimated to hold just 9% of the world’s wealth. That figure has now more than doubled, while median wealth in the country has skyrocketed from $3,111 to $26,752 between 2000 and 2021.

A Regional Look at Household Wealth

From a regional standpoint, wealth is equally split three ways, between North America, Asia, and everywhere else.

Chart showing global household wealth by region

In just one decade, Europe’s share of household wealth dropped by eight percentage points, which is due, in part, to the economic momentum of China.

Surprisingly, the regions of Africa, South America, Oceania, and the Middle East combine only for about 11% of the world’s total household wealth.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse

Data note: There is no straightforward way of estimating household wealth in various countries, so the report utilizes three main measures including: a country’s average level of wealth, the patterns of a country’s wealth holdings, and Forbes list of billionaires.

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