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Mapped: The World’s Indigenous Peoples

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Map of the world's Indigenous peoples

Mapped: The World’s Indigenous Peoples

Humanity has spread to almost every corner of Earth, and while some peoples have continued to move, others have grown roots in one region.

Generally the term indigenous peoples refers to social or cultural groups with strong ancestral ties to their land of origin. Many times these are tied to ethnicity and still live in their land of origin, but some have been displaced, diluted, or become minorities in their lands.

This map by Bhabna Banerjee uses data from the Indigenous World 2022 report to show the population distribution of the roughly 476 million Indigenous peoples around the world. When 2022 data was unavailable, the latest available data was used.

What Are “Indigenous” Peoples?

Before diving in, it’s important to note that this map and report are based on the United Nations’ approach to indigenous peoples.

Due to the diversity and difficult history experienced by these groups, including countries that don’t recognize indigenous peoples in their lands, there is purposefully no official definition of “indigenous.”

Instead, the UN and other organizations working with indigenous peoples utilize an understanding based on self-determination that includes:

  • Self-identification as indigenous peoples at the individual level and accepted by the community.
  • Historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies
  • Strong link to territories and surrounding resources
  • Distinct social, economic, or political systems
  • Distinct language, culture, and beliefs
  • Forms non-dominant groups of society
  • Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems

Because of this, ethnic groups that are indigenous (as a dictionary term) to their lands like the Han people in China, the Turks in Turkey, or the Scots in Scotland were not included in this report.

On the flip side, groups like Greenland’s Inuit were included, because of their long history of colonial control as well as Danish influence.

Indigenous Populations Worldwide

Of all the countries included in the report, China has the highest number of Indigenous, with an estimated population of 125.3 million.

It’s worth noting that the Chinese government does not officially acknowledge the existence of Indigenous peoples. However, they do recognize 55 different ethnic nationalities across the nation, including the Zhuang, Mongolians, and the Hui.

CountryIndigenous PopulationYear of Data
China125,332,3352022
India104,000,0002022
Indonesia60,000,0002022
Pakistan35,000,0002010
Mexico16,933,2832022
Ethiopia16,500,0002022
Myanmmar14,400,0002010
Vietnam14,100,0002022
Algeria12,000,0002022
Nepal10,872,0002022
Morocoo10,000,0002022
Phillippines10,000,0002022
Kenya9,650,0002021
Bolivia7,000,0002013
United States6,600,0002022
Guatemala6,500,0002022
Thailand6,100,0002022
Malaysia4,683,0002022
Peru4,000,0002022
Laos3,500,0002022
Niger2,690,0002022
Namibia2,678,1912022
Chile2,185,7922022
Colombia1,905,6172022
Canada1,673,7852022
Iran1,617,0002021
Bangladesh1,586,1412022
Japan1,400,0002021
Mali1,200,0002016
Uganda1,138,2392022
Ecuador1,100,0002022
Cameroon1,044,3002022
Libya1,000,0002022
Tunisia1,000,0002022
Argentina955,0322022
Brazil896,9002022
Venzuela896,0002022
Australia881,6002022
New Zealand775,5002022
DRC700,0002022
Nicaragua612,0002022
SouthAfrica590,0002022
Taiwan580,7582022
Tanzania524,2462022
Panama417,5592022
Israel300,0002022
Russia260,0002022
Cambodia250,0002022
French Polynesia222,4002022
Paraguay122,4612022
Costa Rica104,1432022
Guyana78,5002022
Burundi78,0712022
Iraq78,0002007
Botswana73,1002022
Greenland56,5232022
Norway50,0002021
Rep. of Congo43,3782022
CAR39,2992022
Jordan27,0002021
Rwanda25,0002022
Angola24,3002022
Suriname20,3442022
Sweden20,0002021
Gabon16,1622020
French Guiana10,0002022
Finland80002021
Zimbabwe45332022
Sri Lanka12292012

After China, India has the second largest Indigenous populations, with over 700 officially recognized ethnic groups. Many of these are concentrated in the north-eastern region of India, from Rajasthan to West Bengal.

While different countries and territories have varying numbers of Indigenous peoples, one thing remains consistent across the board—on average, the world’s Indigenous populations typically face greater economic and social challenges than their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Disadvantages Faced by Indigenous Peoples

Research by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) found that, while Indigenous peoples make up only 6% of the world’s total population, they account for nearly 20% of the world’s extreme poor.

In addition, Indigenous peoples also have much lower average life expectancies than non-Indigenous people, according to a report by the United Nations.

Some countries and governments around the world are starting to implement laws and policies to support and recognize Indigenous communities, but there’s still work to be done.

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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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Misc

Ranked: The Cities with the Most Skyscrapers in 2023

We rank the world’s leading cities with the most skyscrapers, highlighting China’s remarkable dominance in building vertically.

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Ranked: The Cities with the Most Skyscrapers in 2023

When it comes to soaring skylines and architectural marvels, no country has embraced the vertical revolution quite like China.

In this graphic, which uses data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), we reveal the 25 cities with the most skyscrapers and supertall buildings globally.

Unsurprisingly, China’s cities dominate the list, solidifying the country’s reputation as a global powerhouse of tall buildings.

The 25 Top Cities by Skyscraper Count

Topping the charts is Hong Kong, with an impressive 657 skyscrapers, including six supertalls (buildings over 300 meters tall).

RankCityCountrySkyscrapers (>150m)Supertalls (>300m)
1Hong Kong🇨🇳 China6576
2Shenzhen🇨🇳 China51316
3New York City🇺🇸 United States42116
4Dubai🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates39528
5Guangzhou🇨🇳 China25411
6Shanghai🇨🇳 China2505
7Kuala Lumpur🇲🇾 Malaysia2115
8Chongqing🇨🇳 China2055
9Tokyo🇯🇵 Japan2000
10Wuhan🇨🇳 China1835
11Chicago🇺🇸 United States1787
12Jakarta🇮🇩 Indonesia1601
13Chengdu🇨🇳 China1500
14Bangkok🇹🇭 Thailand1333
15Shenyang🇨🇳 China1293
16Singapore🇸🇬 Singapore1280
17Nanning🇨🇳 China1226
18Mumbai🇮🇳 India1140
19Tianjin🇨🇳 China1093
20Nanjing🇨🇳 China1087
21Toronto🇨🇦 Canada1060
22Busan🇰🇷 South Korea1064
23Seoul🇰🇷 South Korea1042
24Changsha🇨🇳 China975
25Melbourne🇦🇺 Australia941

Hong Kong, along with Shenzhen (#2), and Guangzhou (#5) are part of the burgeoning megacity known as the Pearl River Delta, which is home to over 1,500 skyscrapers. This is even more impressive when considering that Shenzhen was a small fishing village until the 1970s.

New York City secures the third position on the list, boasting an impressive tally of 421 skyscrapers. Although it may have relinquished its title to Chinese cities, the city’s skyline endures as a globally renowned symbol, prominently featuring the iconic Empire State Building. Notably, while the Empire State Building enjoys widespread familiarity, it no longer ranks among the world’s 50 tallest structures.

Rounding out the top five is Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which grabs the fourth position with 395 skyscrapers, a staggering 28 of which are supertalls. This desert oasis has become synonymous with grandiose architecture and record-breaking structures, exemplified by the Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s current tallest building at 828 meters (2,715 ft).

China’s Numbers in Context

Looking at this data from another perspective, China actually has more skyscrapers on this list than the rest of the world combined.

CountryCities in Top 25SkyscrapersSupertalls
🇨🇳 China12277772
🌐 Rest of World13235067

China’s rapid urbanization, economic growth, and ambitious construction projects have fueled this impressive feat. There’s no doubt that the country’s relentless pursuit of vertical development, coupled with its booming population and thriving cities, has positioned China as the unrivaled leader in the global skyscraper race.

The Future of the Global Skyline

As the world continues to reach new heights in architectural marvels, there are even more supertall skyscrapers in the pipeline that will reshape skylines across the globe.

From the soaring Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, poised to surpass the Burj Khalifa as the world’s tallest building, to the remarkable Merdeka 118 in Kuala Lumpur, which is set to claim the title of the world’s second-tallest structure when it opens in June 2023, these projects will captivate city dwellers for years to come.

Even as these new monumental buildings rise, China’s prominence in the world of skyscrapers—with three cities in the top five globally—is likely to remain unchallenged.

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