Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita
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Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita

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Mapped: Countries by Alcohol Consumption Per Capita

Alcohol might be one of the oldest and most frequently used recreational substances in the world, but examining countries by alcohol consumption shows that usage is not equal.

Consumption levels, and types of alcohol consumed, vary widely based on location. Furthermore, the availability of fruits and grains used in alcohol production impacts which drinks are more commonly consumed, as does the predominant culture. Some cultures see alcohol consumption as a pleasurable experience, while others see intoxication as a sin.

There’s also the question of economics and availability. It’s strange, but in some regions of the world, industrially mass-produced alcohol can flood markets and become cheaper than other beverages, including water.

When we map alcohol consumption by capita, and by different types of alcohol, these local and cultural stories come to light. The above maps use recorded consumption data from WHO for 2019, in liters of pure alcohol.

Europe Leads in Per Capita Alcohol Consumption

The top 10 countries by alcohol consumption highlight the prominence of alcoholic beverages in European culture.

Eight of the 10 countries with the top alcohol consumption per capita were in Europe. Primarily, they were Eastern and Central European countries, including #2 Latvia, #3 Czech Republic, #4 Lithuania, and #5 Austria.

But the crown of alcohol consumption per capita goes to the Cook Islands, which leads the world with an annual per capita consumption of 13L (3.4 gallons) of alcohol.

Location2019 Alcohol consumption/capita (L)
Cook Islands12.97
Latvia12.90
Czech Republic12.73
Lithuania11.93
Austria11.90
Antigua and Barbuda11.88
Estonia11.65
France11.44
Bulgaria11.18
Slovenia11.05
Luxembourg11.00
Andorra10.99
Romania10.96
Poland10.96
Ireland10.91
Hungary10.79
Spain10.72
Belarus10.57
Germany10.56
Portugal10.37
Slovakia10.30
Barbados9.94
Montenegro9.91
UK9.80
Cyprus9.64
Croatia9.64
Australia9.51
Seychelles9.48
Bahamas9.48
Switzerland9.41
Saint Lucia9.30
New Zealand9.17
Denmark9.16
Belgium9.15
U.S.8.93
Saint Kitts and Nevis8.84
Grenada8.62
Niue8.50
Japan8.36
Netherlands8.23
Finland8.23
Lao People's Democratic Republic8.15
Malta8.07
Canada8.00
Argentina7.95
United Republic of Tanzania7.81
Chile7.80
South Korea7.74
Iceland7.72
Eswatini7.68
Italy7.65
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines7.48
Serbia7.45
Republic of Moldova7.45
Georgia7.45
Russian Federation7.29
Burkina Faso7.28
South Africa7.21
Sweden7.10
Thailand6.86
Uganda6.82
Suriname6.60
Panama6.54
Gabon6.47
Rwanda6.35
Greece6.33
Dominica6.32
Brazil6.12
Equatorial Guinea6.11
Norway6.05
Botswana5.98
Belize5.93
Angola5.84
Trinidad and Tobago5.81
Peru5.74
Congo5.74
Ukraine5.69
Dominican Republic5.56
Paraguay5.47
Mongolia5.46
Bosnia and Herzegovina5.46
Uruguay5.42
Guyana5.11
Philippines4.85
Cuba4.70
Cabo Verde4.70
Cambodia4.56
Nigeria4.49
China4.48
Albania4.40
Mexico4.25
Sao Tome and Principe4.23
Colombia4.09
Cameroon4.09
Burundi4.07
Kyrgyzstan4.02
Macedonia3.90
Zambia3.82
Armenia3.77
Kazakhstan3.73
Nicaragua3.69
North Korea3.61
Lesotho3.56
Jamaica3.46
Viet Nam3.41
Mauritius3.39
Sierra Leone3.22
Guinea-Bissau3.21
Liberia3.12
Zimbabwe3.11
India3.09
Israel3.07
Costa Rica3.07
Ecuador3.05
Bolivia2.98
El Salvador2.94
Turkmenistan2.88
Haiti2.85
Honduras2.73
Fiji2.71
Gambia2.67
Sri Lanka2.58
Venezuela2.51
Uzbekistan2.45
Nauru2.44
Namibia2.38
Samoa2.18
Myanmar2.06
Malawi2.04
United Arab Emirates2.03
Singapore1.81
Côte d’Ivoire1.70
Kenya1.68
Guatemala1.63
Vanuatu1.60
Micronesia1.59
Ghana1.59
Tunisia1.51
Mozambique1.46
Togo1.40
Maldives1.38
Azerbaijan1.38
Papua New Guinea1.26
Benin1.25
Solomon Islands1.19
Turkey1.18
Bahrain1.18
Ethiopia1.16
Lebanon1.14
Qatar0.96
Central African Republic0.94
Tuvalu0.93
Eritrea0.93
Madagascar0.89
Tajikistan0.85
Brunei Darussalam0.69
Malaysia0.64
Mali0.60
Algeria0.59
Democratic Republic of the Congo0.56
Chad0.55
Morocco0.51
Oman0.47
Kiribati0.43
Timor-Leste0.41
Nepal0.36
Guinea0.33
Tonga0.31
Senegal0.25
Jordan0.25
Djibouti0.21
Comoros0.18
Iraq0.16
Egypt0.14
Syrian Arab Republic0.13
Niger0.11
Indonesia0.08
Bhutan0.07
Pakistan0.04
Yemen0.02
Iran0.02
Libya0.01
Afghanistan0.01
Somalia0
Saudi Arabia0
Mauritania0
Kuwait0
Bangladesh0

At the bottom of the consumption charts? Not surprisingly, it’s Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other Muslim countries where intoxication is religiously prohibited.

Regional Disparities in Alcohol Consumption

Per capita consumption of alcohol also highlights clear regional preferences in amount and type, or a lack of interest.

The biggest consumers of alcohol are countries in Central Europe, the South Pacific, and parts of the Caribbean. In Europe, beer and wine are kings, with most of the top consumers also being top producers such as France and Germany.

Spirits like rum, meanwhile, are dominant in the Cook Islands and much of the Caribbean, which has four of the 12 top spirit consumers. The others are mainly in Eastern Europe and Russia, which get most of their alcohol consumption from vodka.

Top Consuming Country by AlcoholTypeConsumption/Capita
Czech RepublicBeer6.77L
FranceWine6.44L
Cook IslandsSpirits7.07L
TanzaniaOthers6.60L

The importance of local crops couldn’t be overstated. Regions like Africa and Asia that struggle with the right conditions for grapes or hops saw higher consumption of “other” distilled drinks.

These include rice alcohol in South Korea and Japan, and drinks made from sugarcane, molasses, and even bananas in African countries like Tanzania.

Unlike goods like coffee or tea, alcohol can be produced from many different grains, fruits, or sources of sugar that can be fermented—so it’s natural that regional differences in types, amounts, and even cultural importance would arise.

But as one of the world’s most widely used recreational drugs, it’s played a storied role throughout history that is certain to continue evolving.

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Science

The Elemental Composition of the Human Body

Of the 118 chemical elements found on Earth, only 21 make up the human body. Here we break down the elemental composition of the average human.

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The Elemental Composition of a Human Body

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

The human body is a miraculous, well-oiled, and exceptionally complex machine. It requires a multitude of functioning parts to come together for a person to live a healthy life—and every biological detail in our bodies, from the mundane to the most magical, is driven by just 21 chemical elements.

Of the 118 elements on Earth, just 21 of them are found in the human body. Together, they make up the medley of divergent molecules that combine to form our DNA, cells, tissues, and organs.

Based on data presented by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), in the above infographic, we have broken down a human body to its elemental composition and the percentages in which they exist.

These 21 elements can be categorized into three major blocks depending on the amount found in a human body, the main building block (4 elements), essential minerals (8 elements), and trace elements (9 elements).

The Elemental Four: Ingredients for Life

Four elements, namely, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen, are considered the most essential elements found in our body.

Oxygen is the most abundant element in the human body, accounting for approximately 61% of a person’s mass. Given that around 60-70% of the body is water, it is no surprise that oxygen and hydrogen are two of the body’s most abundantly found chemical elements. Along with carbon and nitrogen, these elements combine for 96% of the body’s mass.

Here is a look at the composition of the four elements of life:

ElementWeight of Body Mass (kg)Percentage of Body Mass (%)
Oxygen43 kg61.4%
Carbon16 kg22.9%
Hydrogen7.0 kg10.0%
Nitrogen1.8 kg2.6%

Values are for an average human body weighing 70 kg.

Let’s take a look at how each of these four chemical elements contributes to the thriving functionality of our body:

Oxygen

Oxygen plays a critical role in the body’s metabolism, respiration, and cellular oxygenation. Oxygen is also found in every significant organic molecule in the body, including proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and nucleic acids. It is a substantial component of everything from our cells and blood to our cerebral and spinal fluid.

Carbon

Carbon is the most crucial structural element and the reason we are known as carbon-based life forms. It is the basic building block required to form proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Breaking carbon bonds in carbohydrates and proteins is our primary energy source.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen, the most abundantly found chemical element in the universe, is present in all bodily fluids, allowing the toxins and waste to be transported and eliminated. With the help of hydrogen, joints in our body remain lubricated and able to perform their functions. Hydrogen is also said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping improve muscle function.

Nitrogen

An essential component of amino acids used to build peptides and proteins is nitrogen. It is also an integral component of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA, the chemical backbone of our genetic information and genealogy.

Essential and Supplemental Minerals

Essential minerals are important for your body to stay healthy. Your body uses minerals for several processes, including keeping your bones, muscles, heart, and brain working properly. Minerals also control beneficial enzyme and hormone production.

Minerals like calcium are a significant component of our bones and are required for bone growth and development, along with muscle contractions. Phosphorus contributes to bone and tooth strength and is vital to metabolizing energy.

Here is a look at the elemental composition of essential minerals:

ElementWeight of Body Mass (g)Percentage of Body Mass (%)
Calcium1000 g1.43%
Phosphorus780 g 1.11%
Potassium140 g0.20%
Sulphur140 g0.20%
Chlorine100 g0.14%
Sodium95 g0.14%
Magnesium19 g0.03%
Iron4.2 g0.01%

Values are for an average human body weighing 70 kg.

Other macro-minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron, and sodium are essential for cell-to-cell communications, like electric transmissions that generate nerve impulses or heart rhythms, and are necessary for maintaining thyroid and bone health.

Excessive deficiency of any of these minerals can cause various disorders in your body. Most humans receive these minerals as a part of their daily diet, including vegetables, meat, legumes, and fruits. In case of deficiencies, though, these minerals are also prescribed as supplements.

Biological Composition of Trace Elements

Trace elements or trace metals are small amounts of minerals found in living tissues. Some of them are known to be nutritionally essential, while others may be considered to be nonessential. They are usually in minimal quantities in our body and make up only 1% of our mass.

Paramount among these are trace elements such as zinc, copper, manganese, and fluorine. Zinc works as a first responder against infections and thereby improves infection resistance, while balancing the immune response.

Here is the distribution of trace elements in our body:

ElementWeight of Body Mass (mg)Percentage of Body Mass (%)
Fluorine2600 mg0.00371%
Zinc2300 mg0.00328%
Copper72 mg0.00010%
Iodine13 mg0.00002%
Manganese12 mg0.00002%
Molybdenum9.5 mg0.00001%
Selenium8 mg0.00001%
Chromium6.6 mg0.00001%
Cobalt1.5 mg0.000002%

Values are for an average human body weighing 70 kg.

Even though only it’s found in trace quantities, copper is instrumental in forming red blood cells and keeping nerve cells healthy. It also helps form collagen, a crucial part of bones and connective tissue.

Even with constant research and studies performed to thoroughly understand these trace elements’ uses and benefits, scientists and researchers are constantly making new discoveries.

For example, recent research shows that some of these trace elements could be used to cure and fight chronic and debilitating diseases ranging from ischemia to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.

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Misc

Iconic Infographic Map Compares the World’s Mountains and Rivers

This iconic infographic map is an early and ambitious attempt to compare the world’s tallest mountains and longest rivers.

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Today, highly detailed maps of our planet’s surface are just a click away.

In times past, however, access to information was much more limited. It wasn’t until the 1800s that comparison diagrams and maps became widely accessible, and people found new ways to learn about the world around them.

The image above, published by J.H. Colton in 1849, is believed to be the first edition of the iconic mountains and rivers infographic map. This comparison chart concept would see a number of iterations over the years as it appeared in Colton’s world atlases.

Inspiring a Classic Infographic Map

A seminal example of this style of infographic was produced by Alexander von Humboldt in 1805. The diagram below is packed with information and shows geographical features in a way that was extremely novel at the time.

Alexander von Humboldt mountain diagram

In 1817, the brothers William and Daniel Lizars produced the first comparative chart of the world’s mountains and rivers. Breaking up individual natural features into components for comparison was a very innovative approach at that time, and it was this early French language prototype that lead to the Colton’s versions we’re familiar with today.

Digging into the Details

As is obvious, even at first glance, there is a ton of detail packed into this infographic map.

Firstly, rivers are artificially straightened and neatly arranged in rows for easy comparison. Lakes, mountain ranges, and cities are all labeled along the way. This unique comparison brings cities like New Orleans and Cairo side by side.

detailed view of longest rivers visualization

Of course, this visualization was based on the best available data at the time. Today, the Nile is widely considered to be the world’s longest river, followed by the Amazon and Yangtze.

Over on the mountain side, there are more details to take in. The visualization includes volcanic activity, notes on vegetation, and even the altitude of selected cities and towns.

detailed view of tallest mountains visualization

Above are a few of South America’s high-altitude population centers, including La Paz, which is the highest-elevation capital city in the world.

In the legend, many of the mountains are simply named “peak”. While this generic labeling might seem like a throwback to a time when the world was still being explored, it’s worth noting that today’s second tallest mountain is still simply referred to as K2.

What details do you notice while exploring this iconic infographic map?

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