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This Map Compares the Population of the Real World vs. Social Media

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This Map Compares the Population of the Real World vs. Social Media

This Map Compares the Population of the Real World vs. Social Media

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

When you log on to Twitter or LinkedIn, it feels like you are connected to everyone on Earth.

Whether you want to get a taste of culture from other continents, or you want to stay on top of the latest opportunities and events in far flung places – social media allows you to connect with anyone with similar interests, no matter where they are located.

But how representative is the social media world of the real population, exactly? Today’s infographic from Raconteur breaks it all down.

Quantifying the Social World

There are roughly 2.8 billion social media users in the world – a penetration of about 37%, according to a recent report by Hootsuite.

RegionSocial Media PopulationActual Population% Penetration
Asia-Pacific1.51 billion4.15 billion36%
Americas0.60 billion1.01 billion60%
Europe0.41 billion0.84 billion49%
Africa0.17 billion1.23 billion14%
Middle East0.09 billion0.25 billion38%
Global2.79 billion7.48 billion37%

While there are not many surprises here, things get more interesting as we dive deeper into the data.

Specifically, as we break down Asia-Pacific’s massive population and level of social media penetration, you’ll see that sub-regions have attributes that are quite different.

 % of Global Social Media Users% of Actual PopulationDifference
North America8%5%+3%
Central America4%3%+1%
South America9%6%+3%
West Europe8%6%+2%
Middle East3%3%-
Africa6%16%-10%
East Europe7%6%+1%
Central Asia<1%1%-
South Asia9%24%-15%
East Asia33%22%+11%
Southest Asia11%9%+2%
Oceania1%1%-

The regions with plus numbers (i.e. North America, +3%) have a higher proportion of social media users relative to their actual population. The areas with negative numbers (i.e. Africa, -10%) have less people on social media than one would guess from their total population. These latter areas are also where social media will likely encounter the most growth in users in the near future.

The different sub-regions in Asia are particularly interesting to look at. East Asia is the most “over-represented” population in the social media world with a +11% differential. Meanwhile, neighboring South Asia (-15%) and Southeast Asia (+2%) are two regions that don’t have nearly as many people connected through those mediums.

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Data Visualization

Visualizing the Happiest Country on Every Continent

Where are the happiest, least happy, and fastest improving countries worldwide? We’ve broken down this annual ranking by region to answer that question.

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Visualizing the Happiest Country on Every Continent

The state of our world is shifting beneath our feet — economics alone no longer equate to satisfaction, let alone happiness.

Today’s visualization pulls data from the seventh World Happiness Report 2019, which ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels. We’ve previously shown the variables used to measure happiness in this report, but here, we break down rankings by continent and region for a clearer picture of where each country lies.

happiness north america map

North America

Unhappy Americans have caused the country to tumble in rankings for a third straight year, despite evidence that things are generally looking up. The report attributes much of this erosion to a variety of addictions: opioids, workaholism, gambling, internet, exercise, and even shopping are among them.

Haiti is the least happy country in this region. The country is still struggling to rebuild sanitation infrastructure and other educational and healthcare programs, despite foreign aid.

In brighter news, Nicaragua is seeing great gains in happiness levels, as the country makes a concentrated effort to reduce poverty.

happiness south america map

South America

In South America, the majority of countries cluster around a score of six on the happiness scale.

The one notable exception to this is Venezuela, which is faltering in both happiness rank and regional improvement. The nation’s hyperinflation and humanitarian crisis both show no signs of slowing down.

happiness europe map

Europe

Finland comes out on top of the world for a second consecutive year, and it’s not difficult to see why. The country boasts a stable work-life balance, bolstered by a comprehensive welfare state.

Scandinavian countries appear among the happiest nations for similar very reasons — elevating the region’s score to 16% above the global average.

On the flip side, Ukraine is the unhappiest, likely intensified by the ongoing war in southeastern Donbass. Greece is the least improved, as it continues to heal from the sovereign debt crisis.

happiness middle east map

Middle East and Central Asia

Uzbekistan shows the swiftest regional improvement, as the country has launched an ambitious reform agenda for greater economic, social, and political development and openness.

Unfortunately, Syria’s continued civil war comes with a heavy price for its people and economy, as does the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — although the latter doesn’t seem to impact Israel’s happiness ranking. In fact, Israel finished with the 13th best score, globally.

happiness asia 2019

Rest of Asia and Oceania

In East Asia, the average happiness score is quite close to the global average, with Taiwan standing out as the happiest country.

Singapore out-competes other countries within Southeast Asia, despite only being home to a population of 5.6 million. Its neighbor Malaysia, however, plunged from 35th to 80th place.

Oceania stands alone – Australia and New Zealand are closely matched in their individual happiness scores.

happiness africa map

Africa

The African continent as a whole fares 19.2% below the global average. But there are silver linings, with strong strides towards improvement being made.

Mauritius benefits from good governance and a buoyant tourism sector — with visitor arrivals equal to the island’s 1.3 million population. Meanwhile, Benin has soared in the rankings, and is supported by the World Bank in key structural reforms such as poverty reduction and access to basic services.

What could these rankings look like in another ten years?

Notes: The Africa map was updated to show more country scores. The report only covers 156 countries, so “Oceania” only refers to Australia and New Zealand in this instance.

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History

Mapping the Spread of Words Along Trade Routes

When goods traveled to new regions, their native names sometimes hitchhiked along with them. This map shows the spread of loanwords around the world.

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Mapping the Spread of Words Along Trade Routes

In the early history of international trade, when exotic goods traveled to new regions, their native names sometimes hitchhiked along with them.

Naturally, the Germans have a term – Wanderwörter – for these extraordinary loanwords that journey around the globe, mutating subtly along the way.

Today’s map, produced by Haisam Hussein for Lapham’s Quarterly, charts the flow of Wanderwörter along global trade routes.

Tea

China’s export dominance over tea influenced how people around the world refer to their steeped beverages.

The spread of tea along the Silk Road from Mandarin-speaking Northern China resulted in much of Asia and Africa having similar sounding words for tea. Chá evolved into the chai widely consumed in India and surrounding areas today.

Tea’s other major trade route, through Min-speaking Southern China, spread the pronunciation that became the standard around Europe. This is why we see such striking similarities between thé (French), thee (Dutch), tee (German), (Spanish), and (Italian).

Tomatoes

Sometimes, a word’s journey isn’t completely linear.

In the case of tomatoes, the Italians’ decision to dub the red fruit pomodoro, or golden apple, led to a linguistic fork in the road. This is the reason the English name for tomatoes is still similar to the Aztec term tomatl, but in Russian, pomidor can be traced back to Italian.

Cotton

Many people in North America would be surprised to learn that “cotton” is a direct link to the Arabic word al-qutn.

Coca

When the Spanish brought coca from South America and spread it into the global market, its easy-to-pronounce name tagged along for the entire journey. Though its spelling may differ across cultures, say the word “coca” in many countries and people will likely know what you’re referring to.

A Small World After All

Most of us are vaguely aware that parts of our langauge consist of loanwords from other regions and cultures, but seeing the spread of language in map form is a powerful reminder that the globalization as we know it is a continuation of centuries of commercial and cultural exchange.

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