Visualizing the Most Populous Countries in the World
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Visualizing the Most Populous Countries in the World

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The Most Populous Countries in the World

Visualizing the Most Populous Countries in the World

India’s population is projected to surpass China’s as soon as 2022.

While this is consequential on a global economic level, it also leaves other population trends overlooked. For instance, Nigeria is projected to have more people than the U.S., the world’s third-largest country by population, by the year 2050.

This treemap visualization, adapted from PopulationPyramid.net, is an overview of the global population in 2020, showing us the world’s most populous countries.

The 50 Most Populous Countries

China, with a population of 1.44 billion, is the most populous country worldwide.

In 2019, over 60% of its population resided in urban centers, a trend that has seen the portion of city dwellers double over the last 25 years. For context, 83% of the U.S. population lives in cities, while just 35% of India’s population dwells in urban areas.

Together, China and India’s populations make up over 36% of the global total.

 CountryPopulation (2020)
1🇨🇳 China1,439,323,774
2🇮🇳 India1,380,004,385
3🇺🇸 U.S.331,002,647
4🇮🇩 Indonesia273,523,621
5🇵🇰 Pakistan220,892,331
6🇧🇷 Brazil212,559,409
7🇳🇬 Nigeria206,139,587
8🇧🇩 Bangladesh164,689,383
9🇷🇺 Russian Federation145,934,460
10🇲🇽 Mexico128,932,753
11🇯🇵 Japan126,476,458
12🇪🇹 Ethiopia114,963,583
13🇵🇭 Philippines109,581,085
14🇪🇬 Egypt102,334,403
15🇻🇳 Vietnam97,338,583
16🇨🇩 D.R. Congo89,561,404
17🇹🇷 Turkey84,339,067
18🇮🇷 Iran83,992,953
19🇩🇪 Germany83,783,945
20🇹🇭 Thailand69,799,978
21🇬🇧 United Kingdom67,886,004
22🇫🇷 France65,273,512
23🇮🇹 Italy60,461,828
24🇹🇿 Tanzania59,734,213
25🇿🇦 South Africa59,308,690
26🇲🇲 Myanmar54,409,794
27🇰🇪Kenya53,771,300
28🇰🇷 Republic of Korea51,269,183
29🇨🇴 Colombia50,882,884
30🇪🇸 Spain46,754,783
31🇺🇬 Uganda45,741,000
32🇦🇷 Argentina45,195,777
33🇩🇿 Algeria43,851,043
34🇸🇩 Sudan43,849,269
35🇺🇦 Ukraine43,733,759
36🇮🇶 Iraq40,222,503
37🇦🇫 Afghanistan38,928,341
38🇵🇱 Poland37,846,605
39🇨🇦 Canada37,742,157
40🇲🇦 Morocco36,910,558
41🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia34,813,867
42🇺🇿 Uzbekistan33,469,199
43🇵🇪 Peru32,971,846
44🇦🇴 Angola32,866,268
45🇲🇾 Malaysia32,365,998
46🇲🇿 Mozambique31,255,435
47🇬🇭 Ghana31,072,945
48🇾🇪 Yemen29,825,968
49🇳🇵 Nepal29,136,808
50🇻🇪 Venezuela28,435,943

Extending over 17,000 islands, Indonesia comes fourth among the world’s most populous countries, standing at 273.5 million people.

Pakistan comes in fifth, with 220.8 million. Karachi, located on the southeastern coast of Pakistan, is home to over 16 million people alone. It is Pakistan’s most populous city, and the seventh-largest city in the world.

Nigeria also makes it onto the list. In just three decades, the country’s population is projected to climb from 206 million to 400 million—growing at a percentage clip that is more than double that of India.

The 50 Least Populous Countries

Combined, the 50 least-populous countries make up under 0.4% of the total world population. By contrast, the top 50 account for 87% of the total.

Unsurprisingly, the world’s low population nations are situated on small islands, often tropical and reliant on tourism.

 CountryPopulation*
1🇻🇦 Vatican City799
2🇹🇰 Tokelau1,340
3🇳🇺 Niue1,615
4🇫🇰 Falkland Islands3,377
5🇲🇸 Montserrat4,989
6🇵🇲 Saint Pierre and Miquelon5,822
7🇸🇭 Saint Helena6,059
8🇳🇷 Nauru10,756
9🇼🇫 Wallis and Futuna11,432
10🇹🇻 Tuvalu11,646
11🇦🇮 Anguilla14,869
12🇨🇰 Cook Islands17,548
13🇵🇼 Palau18,008
14🇧🇶 Caribbean Netherlands25,979
15🇻🇬 British Virgin Islands30,030
16🇬🇮 Gibraltar33,701
17🇸🇲 San Marino33,860
18🇱🇮 Liechtenstein38,019
19🇹🇨 Turks and Caicos Islands38,191
20🇲🇨 Monaco38,964
21🇸🇽 Sint Maarten42,388
22🇫🇴 Faroe Islands48,678
23🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and Nevis52,823
24🇦🇸 American Samoa55,312
25🇲🇵 Northern Mariana Islands56,188
26🇬🇱 Greenland56,672
27🇲🇭 Marshall Islands58,791
28🇧🇲 Bermuda62,506
29🇰🇾 Cayman Islands64,948
30🇩🇲 Dominica71,808
31🇦🇩 Andorra77,142
32🇮🇲 Isle of Man84,584
33🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda97,118
34🇸🇨 Seychelles97,739
35🇻🇮 United States Virgin Islands104,578
36🇦🇼 Aruba106,314
37🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines110,589
38🇹🇴 Tonga110,940
39🇬🇩 Grenada112,003
40🇫🇲 Micronesia (Fed. States of)113,815
41🇰🇮 Kiribati117,606
42🇨🇼 Curaçao163,424
43🇬🇺 Guam167,294
44Channel Islands172,259
45🇱🇨 Saint Lucia182,790
46🇼🇸 Samoa197,097
47🇸🇹 São Tomé and Príncipe215,056
48Mayotte266,150
49🇵🇫 French Polynesia279,287
50🇬🇫 French Guiana282,731

*Source: United Nations, as of July 1, 2019. Includes territories.

With a total of 799 residents in 2019, Vatican City is the least populated country. Following close behind is the territory of Tokelau, a cluster of islands situated between New Zealand and Hawaii.

The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda is also among the smallest populations in the world, with just 97,118 inhabitants. While it may be small in terms of total inhabitants, its population density is another story—with over 222 people per square kilometer. That is roughly 50% higher than China, but about half the population density of India.

Meanwhile, the 33 pacific islands of Kiribati also make the top 50 list of the least populous countries worldwide. With a population of 117,606, Kiribati was a testing site for atomic bombs by the British and Americans during the 1960s. The island reached independence in 1979, after being under crown colonial rule since 1916.

Regional Median Ages

How about the median ages across these populations?

By far, the African region has the lowest median age at 19.8 years old, partially driven by a high birth rate of 4.7 children per woman. In contrast, the global average falls around 2.5 children.

By 2050, Africa’s population will effectively double from 1.3 billion to 2.5 billion.

RegionAnnual Rate of Natural Population IncreaseMedian Age (2020)
Africa2.5%19.8 years
Asia0.9%32.1 years
Central America1.2%28.3 years
Europe-0.1%42.7 years
Latin America & Caribbean0.9%30.9 years
Northern America0.3%38.6 years
Oceania0.9%33.5 years
South America0.9%32.0 years
World1.0%30.9 years

Source: Our World in Data

On the other hand, Europe is the oldest, at 42.7 years for this demographic metric.

With a median age of 47.9, Italy has the second-oldest population in the world, topped only by Japan. Meanwhile, Germany (46.6), Portugal (46.2), and Spain (45.5) fall next in line. If current trends continue, by 2050, half of Europe’s population will be non-working and over the age of 65.

That said, it should be noted that this trend is not exclusive to Europe. In 30 years, 1.5 billion people globally will be over the age of 65, amounting to 16% of the global population.

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All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization (2022)

From the wealth held to billionaires to all debt in the global financial system, we look at the vast universe of money and markets in 2022.

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All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization

The era of easy money is now officially over.

For 15 years, policymakers have tried to stimulate the global economy through money creation, zero interest-rate policies, and more recently, aggressive COVID fiscal stimulus.

With capital at near-zero costs over this stretch, investors started to place more value on cash flows in the distant future. Assets inflated and balance sheets expanded, and money inevitably chased more speculative assets like NFTs, crypto, or unproven venture-backed startups.

But the free money party has since ended, after persistent inflation prompted the sudden reversal of many of these policies. And as Warren Buffett says, it’s only when the tide goes out do you get to see “who’s been swimming naked.”

Measuring Money and Markets in 2022

Every time we publish this visualization, our common unit of measurement is a two-dimensional box with a value of $100 billion.

Even though you need many of these to convey the assets on the balance sheet of the U.S. Federal Reserve, or the private wealth held by the world’s billionaires, it’s quite amazing to think what actually fits within this tiny building block of measurement:

What fits in a $100 billion box?

Our little unit of measurement is enough to pay for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while also buying every team in the NHL and digging FTX out of its financial hole several times over.

Here’s an overview of all the items we have listed in this year’s visualization:

Asset categoryValueSourceNotes
SBF (Peak Net Worth)$26 billionBloombergNow sits at <$1B
Pro Sports Teams$340 billionForbesMajor pro teams in North America
Cryptocurrency$760 billionCoinMarketCapPeaked at $2.8T in 2021
Ukraine GDP$130 billionWorld BankComparable to GDP of Mississippi
Russia GDP$1.8 trillionWorld BankThe world's 11th largest economy
Annual Military Spending$2.1 trillionSIPRI2021 data
Physical currency$8.0 trillionBIS2020 data
Gold$11.5 trillionWorld Gold CouncilThere are 205,238 tonnes of gold in existence
Billionaires$12.7 trillionForbesSum of fortunes of all 2,668 billionaires
Central Bank Assets$28.0 trillionTrading EconomicsFed, BoJ, Bank of China, and Eurozone only
S&P 500$36.0 trillionSlickchartsNov 20, 2022
China GDP$17.7 trillionWorld Bank
U.S. GDP$23.0 trillionWorld Bank
Narrow Money Supply$49.0 trillionTrading EconomicsIncludes US, China, Euro Area, Japan only
Broad Money Supply $82.7 trillionTrading EconomicsIncludes US, China, Euro Area, Japan only
Global Equities$95.9 trillionWFELatest available 2022 data
Global Debt$300.1 trillionIIFQ2 2022
Global Real Estate$326.5 trillionSavills2020 data
Global Private Wealth$463.6 trillionCredit Suisse2022 report
Derivatives (Market)$12.4 trillionBIS
Derivatives (Notional)$600 trillionBIS

Has the Dust Settled Yet?

Through previous editions of our All the World’s Money and Markets visualization, we’ve created snapshots of the world’s assets and markets at different points in time.

For example, in our 2017 edition of this visualization, Apple’s market capitalization was only $807 billion, and all crypto assets combined for $173 billion. The global debt total was at $215 trillion.

Asset2017 edition2022 editionChange (%)
Apple market cap$807 billion$2.3 trillion+185%
Crypto$173 billion$760 billion+339%
Fed Balance Sheet$4.5 trillion$8.7 trillion+93%
Stock Markets$73 trillion$95.9 trillion+31%
Global Debt$215 trillion$300 trillion+40%

And in just five years, Apple nearly quadrupled in size (it peaked at $3 trillion in January 2022), and crypto also expanded into a multi-trillion dollar market until it was brought back to Earth through the 2022 crash and subsequent FTX implosion.

Meanwhile, global debt continues to accumulate—growing by $85 trillion in the five-year period.

With interest rates expected to continue to rise, companies making cost cuts, and policymakers reining in spending and borrowing, today is another unique snapshot in time.

Now that the easy money era is over, where do things go from here?

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Ranked: The World’s 100 Biggest Pension Funds

The world’s 100 largest pension funds are worth over $17 trillion in total. Which ones are the biggest, and where are they located?

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A preview image of some of the largest pension funds in the world. The Government Pension Investment Fund in Japan is the biggest at $1.7 trillion in assets.

Ranked: The World’s 100 Biggest Pension Funds

View the high-resolution of the infographic by clicking here.

Despite economic uncertainty, pension funds saw relatively strong growth in 2021. The world’s 100 biggest pension funds are worth over $17 trillion in total, an increase of 8.5% over the previous year.

This graphic uses data from the Thinking Ahead Institute to rank the world’s biggest pension funds, and where they are located.

What is a Pension Fund?

A pension fund is a fund that is designed to provide retirement income. This ranking covers four different types:

  • Sovereign funds: Funds controlled directly by the state. This ranking only includes sovereign funds that are established by national authorities.
  • Public sector funds: Funds that cover public sector workers, such as government employees and teachers, in provincial or state sponsored plans.
  • Private independent funds: Funds controlled by private sector organizations that are authorized to manage pension plans from different employers.
  • Corporate funds: Funds that cover workers in company sponsored pension plans.

Among the largest funds, public sector funds are the most common.

The Largest Pension Funds, Ranked

Here are the top 100 pension funds, organized from largest to smallest.

RankFundMarketTotal Assets
1Government Pension Investment Fund🇯🇵 Japan$1.7T
2Government Pension Fund🇳🇴 Norway$1.4T
3National Pension🇰🇷 South Korea$798.0B
4Federal Retirement Thrift🇺🇸 U.S.$774.2B
5ABP🇳🇱 Netherlands$630.4B
6California Public Employees🇺🇸 U.S.$496.8B
7Canada Pension🇨🇦 Canada$426.7B
8National Social Security🇨🇳 China$406.8B
9Central Provident Fund🇸🇬 Singapore$375.0B
10PFZW🇳🇱 Netherlands$315.5B
11California State Teachers🇺🇸 U.S.$313.9B
12New York State Common🇺🇸 U.S.$267.8B
13New York City Retirement🇺🇸 U.S.$266.7B
14Local Government Officials🇯🇵 Japan$248.6B
15Employees Provident Fund🇲🇾 Malaysia$242.6B
16Florida State Board🇺🇸 U.S.$213.8B
17Texas Teachers🇺🇸 U.S.$196.7B
18Ontario Teachers🇨🇦 Canada$191.1B
19National Wealth Fund🇷🇺 Russia$180.7B
20AustralianSuper🇦🇺 Australia$169.1B
21Labor Pension Fund🇹🇼 Taiwan$168.9B
22Washington State Board🇺🇸 U.S.$161.5B
23Public Institute for Social Security🇰🇼 Kuwait$160.0B
24ATP🇩🇰 Denmark$155.4B
25Wisconsin Investment Board🇺🇸 U.S.$147.9B
26Future Fund🇦🇺 Australia$147.9B
27Boeing🇺🇸 U.S.$147.2B
28Employees' Provident🇮🇳 India$145.0B
29New York State Teachers🇺🇸 U.S.$144.4B
30North Carolina🇺🇸 U.S.$137.1B
31Alecta🇸🇪 Sweden$136.7B
32GEPF🇿🇦 South Africa$129.1B
33California University🇺🇸 U.S.$125.3B
34Bayerische Versorgungskammer🇩🇪 Germany$122.0B
35Ohio Public Employees🇺🇸 U.S.$121.6B
36AT&T🇺🇸 U.S.$119.5B
37Public Service Pension Plan🇨🇦 Canada$117.9B
38National Federation of Mutual Aid🇯🇵 Japan$117.1B
39Metaal/tech. Bedrijven🇳🇱 Netherlands$115.8B
40IBM🇺🇸 U.S.$115.4B
41Universities Superannuation🇬🇧 UK$111.2B
42Virginia Retirement🇺🇸 U.S.$110.0B
43Pension Fund Association🇯🇵 Japan$109.8B
44Raytheon Technologies🇺🇸 U.S.$108.9B
45Michigan Retirement🇺🇸 U.S.$108.0B
46Aware Super🇦🇺 Australia$107.5B
47New Jersey🇺🇸 U.S.$104.5B
48Minnesota State Board🇺🇸 U.S.$102.9B
49PFA Pension🇩🇰 Denmark$102.7B
50Kaiser🇺🇸 U.S.$101.0B
51Georgia Teachers🇺🇸 U.S.$100.9B
52Oregon Public Employees🇺🇸 U.S.$100.4B
53Massachusetts PRIM🇺🇸 U.S.$98.5B
54Qsuper🇦🇺 Australia$96.5B
55General Motors🇺🇸 U.S.$96.1B
56Ontario Municipal Employees🇨🇦 Canada$95.7B
57Ohio State Teachers🇺🇸 U.S.$95.1B
58AP Fonden 7🇸🇪 Sweden$94.4B
59Healthcare of Ontario🇨🇦 Canada$90.5B
60General Electric🇺🇸 U.S.$90.5B
61Employees' Pension Fund🇮🇳 India$89.5B
62Bouwnijverheid🇳🇱 Netherlands$88.5B
63UPS🇺🇸 U.S.$86.8B
64United Nations Joint Staff🇺🇸 U.S.$86.2B
65Lockheed Martin🇺🇸 U.S.$85.7B
66Quebec Pension🇨🇦 Canada$81.4B
67National Public Service🇯🇵 Japan$79.9B
68Tennessee Consolidated🇺🇸 U.S.$79.0B
69Royal Bank of Scotland Group🇬🇧 UK$78.3B
70Bank of America🇺🇸 U.S.$76.3B
71BT Group🇬🇧 UK$74.3B
72Keva🇫🇮 Finland$73.3B
73Ford🇺🇸 U.S.$72.8B
74PME🇳🇱 Netherlands$72.7B
75Los Angeles County Employees🇺🇸 U.S.$72.7B
76Quebec Government & Public🇨🇦 Canada$72.4B
77UniSuper🇦🇺 Australia$72.1B
78Northrop Grumman🇺🇸 U.S.$72.0B
79Pennsylvania School Employees🇺🇸 U.S.$70.4B
80Lloyds Banking Group🇬🇧 UK$69.7B
81Ilmarinen🇫🇮 Finland$69.1B
82Colorado Employees🇺🇸 U.S.$68.6B
83Maryland State Retirement🇺🇸 U.S.$68.5B
84AMF Pension🇸🇪 Sweden$67.3B
85Varma🇫🇮 Finland$67.1B
86Wells Fargo🇺🇸 U.S.$66.0B
87Sunsuper🇦🇺 Australia$66.0B
88Verizon🇺🇸 U.S.$64.1B
89Illinois Teachers🇺🇸 U.S.$64.0B
90J.P. Morgan Chase🇺🇸 U.S.$62.8B
91Electricity Supply Pension🇬🇧 UK$62.5B
92FedEx🇺🇸 U.S.$60.7B
93Nevada Public Employees🇺🇸 U.S.$58.8B
94B.C. Municipal🇨🇦 Canada$58.7B
95AP Fonden 4🇸🇪 Sweden$57.7B
96Missouri Schools & Education🇺🇸 U.S.$57.0B
97AP Fonden 3🇸🇪 Sweden$55.9B
98Social Insurance Funds🇻🇳 Vietnam$55.7B
99Organization for Workers🇯🇵 Japan$55.6B
100Illinois Municipal🇺🇸 U.S.$54.9B

U.S. fund data are as of Sep. 30, 2021, and non-U.S. fund data are as of Dec. 31, 2021. There are some exceptions as noted in the graphic footnotes.

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) is the largest in the ranking for the 21st year in a row. For a time, the fund was the largest holder of domestic stocks in Japan, though the Bank of Japan has since taken that title. Given its enormous size, investors closely follow the GPIF’s actions. For instance, the fund made headlines for deciding to start investing in startups, because the move could entice other pensions to make similar investments.

America is home to 47 funds on the list, including the largest public sector fund: the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), overseen by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. Because of its large financial influence, both political parties have been accused of using it as a political tool. Democrats have pushed to divest assets in fossil fuel companies, while Republicans have proposed blocking investment in Chinese-owned companies.

Russia’s National Wealth Fund comes in at number 19 on the list. The fund is designed to support the public pension system and help balance the budget as needed. With Russia’s economy facing difficulties amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the government has also used it as a rainy day fund. For instance, Russia has set aside $23 billion from the fund to replace foreign aircraft with domestic models, because Western sanctions have made it difficult to source replacement parts for foreign planes.

The Future of Pension Funds

The biggest pension funds can have a large influence in the market because of their size. Of course, they are also responsible for providing retirement income to millions of people. Pension funds face a variety of challenges in order to reach their goals:

  • Geopolitical conflict creates volatility and uncertainty
  • High inflation and low interest rates (relative to long-term averages) limit return potential
  • Aging populations mean more withdrawals and less fund contributions

Some pension funds are turning to alternative assets, such as private equity, in pursuit of more diversification and higher returns. Of course, these investments can also carry more risk.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, number 18 on the list, invested $95 million in the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The plan made the investment through its venture growth platform, to “gain small-scale exposure to an emerging area in the financial technology sector.”

In this case, the investment’s failure is expected to have a minimal impact given it only made up 0.05% of the plan’s net assets. However, it does highlight the challenges pension funds face to generate sufficient returns in a variety of macroeconomic environments.

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