Interactive: Natural Disasters Around the World Since 1900
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Interactive: Natural Disasters Around the World Since 1900

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Interactive: Natural Disasters Around the World Since 1900

While natural disasters are inevitable and commonplace within the context of human history, that doesn’t lessen our collective shock when they occur.

Here are just a few of the natural disasters that made headlines last year:

  • Haiti was rocked by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed more than 2,000 people Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.
  • Super typhoon, Rai, killed 375 people in the Philippines. The storm brought winds as high as 120 mph (193 kph)
  • Landslides in China’s Henan province kill more than 300 people
  • Historic flooding results in more than 200 fatalities in Germany and Belgium
  • Hurricane Ida battered the Gulf Coast, killing 91 people across nine U.S. states

And these are just some of the many events that rounded out a long list of disasters in 2021.

The interactive dashboard above was created by Our World in Data, using data came from EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database. The database aims to rationalize decision making for disaster preparedness and to provide an objective base for vulnerability assessment.

Total Deaths by Natural Disaster in the Last Decade (2010-2019)

In the past decade, approximately 60,000 people per year died from natural disasters. This represents 0.1% of total deaths worldwide.

The chart below breaks down the total deaths by type of natural disaster in the last decade.

Type of Natural DisasterTotal Deaths (2010-2019)
Earthquakes267,480
Extreme Temperatures74,244
Floods50,673
Storms27,632
Droughts20,120
Landslides10,109
Volcanic Activity1,363
Wildfires881
Mass Movement100
TOTAL452,602

Historically, droughts and floods were the most fatal natural disasters.

However, deaths from these events are relatively low now compared to earthquakes, which are by far the most deadly natural disaster in modern times. Over the past decade, earthquakes have killed 267,480 people worldwide, followed by extreme temperatures, which killed 74,244.

The Decline of Deaths from Natural Disasters

Is planet Earth really more dangerous than ever? Let’s take a look at what the data says:

natural disasters

The chart above shows a sharp decline in deaths from natural disasters over the last 100 years.

In the 1920s, the world averaged over 500,000 deaths from natural disasters per year. These were caused by several outlier events: for example, a Tokyo earthquake in 1923 killed over 146,000 people, and drought and famine killed 3 million people in China between 1928 and 1930.

In the 1930s, the number dropped below the 500,000 deaths per year average, but a number of events still put their thumb on the scale. In 1931, floods in China killed over 3.7 million people, and in 1935, an earthquake killed up to 60,000 people in Pakistan, and so on.

But luckily over time, the decadal average has dropped to fewer than 100,000 deaths per year. And if we consider the rate of population growth, then the decline over the past century has been even more dramatic.

Our awareness of natural disasters has increased dramatically along with global access to real-time information, and thankfully, these occurrences are less deadly than they once were.

How to Navigate this Interactive Visualization

how to use this viz

The dashboard above is packed with useful views and data. Some of the features to highlight are:

The Top Navigation
– Type of disaster: The options include: drought, earthquakes, floods, storms, volcanoes, extreme temperatures
– Impact: The impact of the natural disaster is measured in: deaths, injuries, affected, homeless, and more
– Timespan: The selection allows for average by decade and year
– Per capita: The impact is measured in per capita terms instead of total numbers

The Left Bar
– Filter the data by country and region
– Filter the data by type of disaster and related effects (e.g. deaths, economic impacts)

The Bottom Tabs
– Bar Chart: All data selected is displayed in a bar chart format
– Map: Data is shown by country in a heat map. Click “Play” at the bottom left to view data for different decades
– Table: The same data that is displayed in the visualization is shown in table format
– Sources: All the data sources and calculations are clearly displayed in this tab
– Download: This option allows downloading the image in PNG, SVG, and full data in CSV

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Demographics

Mapped: The Population of India’s States Compared with Countries

This map juxtaposes nations and Indian states to provide a new perspective on the world’s soon-to-be most populous country

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The Population of India’s States Compared with Countries

In a world with eight billion people, even the numbers of the largest population centers like China and India can start to lose their impact.

The visualization above looks to give people a different frame of reference to think about the country’s massive population figures.

The Population Breakdown

Similar to other big countries, the gap between India’s largest and smallest states is quite wide.

Uttar Pradesh is the most populous country subdivision in the world at 232 million people, while Sikkim, in the northeast of the country, is the least populated state in India (0.7 million).

Here are India’s 28 states and 8 union territories compared to other countries and territories with comparable sizes:

State Population (2022)CountryPopulation (2022)
Uttar Pradesh232M🇧🇷 Brazil + 🇪🇨 Ecuador234M
Bihar129M🇲🇽 Mexico132M
Maharashtra125M🇯🇵 Japan126M
West Bengal101M🇪🇬 Egypt107M
Madhya Pradesh85M🇹🇷 Turkey87M
Tamil Nadu84M🇩🇪 Germany84M
Rajasthan80M🇺🇦 Ukraine + 🇵🇱 Poland81M
Gujarat70M🇹🇭 Thailand70M
Karnataka70M🇬🇧 UK69M
Andhra Pradesh54M🇲🇲 Myanmar55M
Odisha47M🇪🇸 Spain47M
Jharkhand40M🇮🇶 Iraq42M
Telangana38M🇲🇾 Malaysia + 🇸🇬 Singapore39M
Assam36M🇨🇦 Canada39M
Kerala35M🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia36M
Chhattisgarh32M🇵🇪 Peru34M
Punjab31M🇦🇺 Australia + 🇳🇿 New Zealand31M
Haryana29M🇻🇪 Venezuela28M
Delhi19M🇷🇴 Romania19M
Jammu and Kashmir15M🇿🇼 Zimbabwe15M
Uttarakhand12M🇧🇴 Bolivia12M
Himachal Pradesh7.5M🇭🇰 Hong Kong7.6M
Tripura4.2M🇭🇷 Croatia4.0M
Meghalaya3.8M🇪🇷 Eritrea3.7M
Manipur3.4M🇺🇾 Uruguay3.5M
Nagaland2.1M🇸🇮 Slovenia2.1M
Puducherry1.6M🇧🇭 Bahrain1.8M
Arunachal Pradesh1.7M🇱🇻 Latvia1.8M
Goa1.5M🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea1.5M
Mizoram1.3M🇪🇪 Estonia1.3M
Chandigarh1.2M🇨🇾 Cyprus1.3M
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
& Daman and Diu
0.8M🇬🇾 Guyana0.8M
Sikkim0.7M🇲🇴 Macao0.7M
Andaman & Nicobar Islands0.4M🇧🇸 Bahamas0.4M
Lakshadweep0.07M🇰🇾 Cayman Islands0.07M 

Hypothetically, if India’s states were to all became countries today, they would take up half the spots in a ranking of the world’s top 20 most populous countries.

A number of Indian states match up evenly against some very large countries, including Maharashtra (Japan), West Bengal (Egypt), and Tamil Nadu (Germany). Of course, the largest is Uttar Pradesh (Brazil+Chile), which also happens to measure up to neighboring Pakistan.

For people living in countries such as Canada or Australia, it may be humbling to know that these countries are equal to a smallish Indian state.

The Big Get Bigger

According to United Nations projections, India is on track to become the most populous country in the world in 2023.

The population of India’s growth is fueled by several factors, including declining mortality rates, increased life expectancy, and high birth rates. While India’s population growth has slowed in recent years due to factors such as urbanization and increasing access to contraception, the country’s population is still expected to continue growing at a significant rate for the foreseeable future.

Where does this data come from?

Source: Population projections for India are from indiacensus.net. Population figures for comparison countries are from the UN’s World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision (medium-fertility variant), accessed via Worldometers‘ live tracker. All population figures shown are 2022 projections.

Data note: Because there are only so many countries, the populations of comparison countries may not perfectly match that of the various Indian states and union territories. Numbers are rounded.

Map note: A number of borders and regions in India are disputed with other countries. Our depiction of borders is a good faith, apolitical attempt at reflecting the “de facto” situation in each region.

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