Mapped: The World's Countries Compared by 20 Key Metrics
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Mapped: The World’s Countries Compared by 20 Key Metrics

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Mapped: The World’s Countries Compared by 20 Key Metrics

Which countries have the largest populations? What about the rural versus urban population divide? And which countries have the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP), military expenditures, or tech exports?

Instead of comparing countries by one metric, this animation and series of graphics by Anders Sundell uses 20 different categories of World Bank data to compare countries. The data was sourced in July 2022 and contains the latest available data for each country.

Below, we provide some context on eight of the 20 categories, and share some facts on the top ranking countries for each category.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by GDP

this map compares countries by GDP

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With a GDP of nearly $23 trillion in 2021, the United States has the largest economic output of any country in the world. While China is currently second on the list, some projections have China’s nominal GDP surpassing America’s as early as 2030.

And even more evident on this map is the weight of economic power to Western countries and just a few Asian countries. Africa, South America, and the rest of Asia are tiny in contrast.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by Population

this map compares countries by total population

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China ranks first as the world’s most populated country, with a population of 1.4 billion. China has been the world’s most populated country for more than 300 years, but this could change in the near future.

According to the UN’s latest population prospects, India’s population is expected to surpass China’s as early as 2023. However, it’s still unclear what the consequences of this shift will be.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by Population 65+

this map compares countries by population aged 65+

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While China also takes the top spot when it comes to total elderly population, it’s worth noting that Japan has a larger per capita population of people aged 65 and over.

According to the ​​Population Reference Bureau, nearly 12% of China’s population is 65 or older, while in Japan, more than 28.2% of people are 65+.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by Urban Population

this map compares countries by urban population

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Until the Industrial Revolution, most of the world’s population lived in rural areas. But by the early 1900s, urbanization started to skyrocket, and now more than half of the world’s population lives in cities.

China’s urbanization really took off as soon as the country’s economic reforms began in the late 1970s. As of 2021, China’s urban population of roughly 861 million people made up 63% of its overall population.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by Rural Population

this map compares countries by rural population

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Many Asian and East African countries rise to the front when it comes to rural population comparisons, but India easily has the world’s largest share with around 898 million people.

As of 2021 figures, about 65% of India’s population is rural. This is actually a significant drop compared to the 1960s, when the country’s rural population made up a whopping 82% of its overall population.

Still, that’s still significantly higher than Western countries. For instance, only 17% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by Land Area

this map compares countries by land area

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When it comes to comparing countries by sheer size, Russia comes first with a land area of 16.4 million square kilometers—that’s nearly 2x bigger than China, which comes second on the list.

According to National Geographic, Russia is so big, it accounts for one-tenth of all land on Earth. The country has 11 different time zones, as well as coasts on three separate oceans.

Why isn’t Canada ranked second? Though it is generally accepted as the world’s second largest country, around 8.9% of its total area is made up of water. In pure landmass, China and the U.S. have an edge.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by Fuel Exports

this map compares countries by fuel exports

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The U.S. ranks as the world’s top fuel exporter, with the United Arab Emirates in close second.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, the oil and gas sector is responsible for about 8% of America’s total economic output, measured by GDP.

And this map also highlights the many other countries dependent on energy for GDP. This includes OPEC members like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iran, as well as well-known energy exporters like Norway and Russia.

Top 10 Countries Worldwide by CO2 Emissions

this map compares countries by CO2 emissions

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While China ranks first as the world’s biggest carbon emitter, it’s worth mentioning that the country is not even in the top 10 when looking at per capita carbon emissions.

That being said, China’s annual emissions of 10.7 billion tons CO₂ make up a massive share of global emissions. They are more than double the second largest emitter, the United States.

Comparing Countries by Other Metrics

This series of graphics shows 20 distinct measures of comparing countries, but they are just a few of the hundreds of possible examples.

From different economic measures like remittances, employment, and GDP to the multitude of factors that one can find in a demographic census, each comparison can yield different results and shed new lights on how countries relate to each other.

What other comparisons do you want to see on a global scale?

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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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