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What Types of People Appear Most on International Currencies?

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What types of people are celebrated on the world's money?

What Types of People Appear Most on International Currencies?

On currencies throughout the world, you’ll see everything from revolutionaries to poets featured prominently. But how does this mix of notable people break down quantitatively?

This graphic by NetCredit shows the types of people, by their main occupations and roles, that are featured on banknotes and coins worldwide.

Global Money Features Power

To find out the types of people most featured on money, NetCredit analyzed all the banknotes and coins in circulation in every country across the globe in 2022.

From monarchs to athletes, the analysis found that many types of people appear on banknotes and coins worldwide. In fact, 51 different main occupations and roles were identified, which were then organized into eight overarching categories:

  • Leadership
  • Government
  • Society
  • Sport & Recreation
  • Military & Espionage
  • Religion
  • The Arts
  • Humanity

Here’s a breakdown of all 51 different occupations, and what percentage of worldwide currencies they’re featured on:

OccupationCategory% on Currencies
MonarchLeadership30.24%
Head of governmentGovernment20.74%
PoliticianGovernment10.03%
MilitaryMilitary & Esionage8.22%
PoetThe Arts5.13%
Religious leaderReligion3.02%
AuthorThe Arts2.26%
ArtistThe Arts1.73%
WriterThe Arts1.51%
MusicianThe Arts1.51%
ActivistSociety1.28%
ScientistScience & Humanities1.21%
Movement leaderLeadership0.98%
SaintReligion0.98%
ExplorerScience & Humanities0.90%
InventorScience & Humanities0.83%
ScholarScience & Humanities0.83%
RevolutionaryLeadership0.60%
BusinessSociety0.60%
HeroSociety0.60%
AthleteSport & Recreation0.60%
Supreme leaderLeadership0.53%
EducatorScience & Humanities0.53%
HistorianScience & Humanities0.45%
SingerThe Arts0.45%
Nationalist leaderLeadership0.38%
DoctorScience & Humanities0.38%
MathematicianScience & Humanities0.38%
ChiefLeadership0.30%
ArchitectScience & Humanities0.30%
EconomistScience & Humanities0.30%
PhilosopherScience & Humanities0.23%
ActorThe Arts0.23%
Chief of stateGovernment0.15%
Revolutionary leaderLeadership0.15%
IntellectualScience & Humanities0.15%
LawyerScience & Humanities0.15%
WifeSociety0.15%
SpyMilitary & Esionage0.08%
RectorReligion0.08%
Civil engineerScience & Humanities0.08%
LinguistScience & Humanities0.08%
PhilanthropistScience & Humanities0.08%
AnthropologistScience and Humanities0.08%
Social workerSociety0.08%
BallerinaSport & Recreation0.08%
Chess championSport & Recreation0.08%
MountaineerSport & Recreation0.08%
ActressThe Arts0.08%
Film directorThe Arts0.08%

The analysis shows that over 50% of the people featured on money are either monarchs or heads of government, many of which are no longer in power.

For instance, Belize was once a British colony and still features the late Elizabeth II on all of its currency—even though the country gained independence from the UK in 1981.

And everyone featured on U.S. currency is also a historical figure. Putting living celebrities on U.S. money has been banned since 1866, after Spencer Clark, who was the Superintendent of the U.S. National Currency Bureau at the time, printed his own face on the 5-cent banknote instead of the explorer William Clark of “Lewis and Clark.”

International Currencies: The Most Popular Figure Heads

Featured on over 100 different currencies around the world, the late Elizabeth II is the most featured person on banknotes and coins.

This makes sense considering the UK’s widespread historical reach. During the height of its reign in the early 20th century, the British Empire ruled nearly a quarter of the world.

"Most common faces on international currencies"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 6 of the top 10 most-featured people on currencies are monarchs, while the rest are heads of government.

Women on Banknotes

While Elizabeth II is the most featured person on currencies around the world, it’s worth mentioning that few other women have been given the same honor.

A study analyzed 1,006 current international banknotes and found that only 15% featured images of women.

However, some countries are actively trying to celebrate more women on their money. For example, the U.S. has been planning to put Harriet Tubman on the U.S. $20 bill for years, and while there have been some delays, the bill is currently on track to get released by 2030.

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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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Personal Finance

Mapped: The Income a Family Needs to Live Comfortably in Every U.S. State

Families in expensive states require over $270,000 annually to live comfortably.

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A map showing the income that two working adults with two children need to live comfortably in each U.S. state.

The Income a Family Needs to Live Comfortably in Every U.S. State

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Families in the top five most expensive U.S. states require an annual income exceeding $270,000 to live comfortably.

This visualization illustrates the income necessary for two working adults with two children to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in each state.

“Comfortable” is defined as the income needed to cover a 50/30/20 budget, with 50% allocated to necessities like housing and utilities, 30% to discretionary spending, and 20% to savings or investments.

The calculations for family income needed in each state were done by SmartAsset, using the cost of necessities sourced from the MIT Living Wage Calculator, last updated on Feb. 14, 2024.

Massachusetts Tops the List

Massachusetts is the most expensive state to live comfortably in, requiring a total family income of about $301,184. Hawaii ($294,611) comes in second, followed by Connecticut ($279,885).

Housing is one main reason Massachusetts is an expensive state to live in, particularly in the Boston area. In addition, the state also has a high cost of living, including expenses such as healthcare and utilities.

RankStateIncome for 2 working adults raising 2 children
1Massachusetts$301,184
2Hawaii$294,611
3Connecticut$279,885
4New York$278,970
5California$276,723
6Colorado$264,992
7Washington$257,421
8Oregon$257,338
9New Jersey$251,181
10Rhode Island$249,267
11Vermont$248,352
12Minnesota$244,774
13New Hampshire$244,109
14Alaska$242,611
15Maryland$239,450
16Nevada$237,286
17Virginia$235,206
18Illinois$231,962
19Arizona$230,630
20Pennsylvania$230,464
21Maine$229,549
22Delaware$228,966
23Wisconsin$225,056
24Utah$218,483
25Michigan$214,490
26Nebraska$213,075
27Georgia$212,826
28Montana$211,411
28Iowa$211,411
30Idaho$211,245
31North Carolina$209,331
31Ohio$209,331
33Florida$209,082
34Indiana$206,003
35New Mexico$203,923
36Wyoming$203,424
37Missouri$202,259
38North Dakota$202,176
39Texas$201,344
40South Carolina$200,762
41Kansas$196,768
42Tennessee$195,770
43Oklahoma$194,106
44Alabama$193,606
45South Dakota$192,608
46Kentucky$190,112
47Louisiana$189,613
48West Virginia$189,363
49Arkansas$180,794
50Mississippi$177,798

Meanwhile, Mississippi is the least expensive state for a family to live comfortably, requiring $177,798 per year. Arkansas ($180,794) comes in second, followed by West Virginia ($189,363). In common, all these states share low prices of housing.

Learn More About Cost of Living From Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic, which ranks the median down payment for a house by U.S. state.

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