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The 23 Top Data Visualizations on Visual Capitalist in 2023



Even compared to the volatile years in the past, 2023 has been one of uncertainty. Our top data visualizations helped to make sense of the world in some way.

Throughout the year, we’ve utilized our strengths in art and data to help millions understand global markers, economic indicators, and a multitude of interesting topics. We revisited classics including The World Economy in One Chart and the Cities with the Most Millionaires. We saw incredible work from the wider data-viz community through our Creator Program, and launched our new data visualization platform Voronoi for smartphones.

After hundreds of maps, charts, infographics, videos, and more, we’ve finally arrived at our 10th annual list of our best in data visuals. This year, we’ve selected the 23 pieces that sparked the most interest, conversations, and awe. Here are our top data visualizations of 2023.

Economics & Markets: Top Data Visualizations

These graphics cover the “business” of the world, from global economics and markets to key industries and companies.

Editor’s note: Click on any preview below to see the full-sized version of a visualization.


Visualized: The U.S. $20 Trillion Economy by State

u.s. economy by state

The U.S. is the world’s largest economy, but breaking it down shows just how much economic power individual states have.

Texas, for example, has an economy comparable to major powers like South Korea and Russia. This chart shows the GDP contributions of each state in 2022, as well as highlighting personal income per capita.


The 50 Most Valuable Companies in the World in 2023

The 50 Most Valuable Companies in the World in 2023 by Market Capitalization

It’s no surprise that the U.S. has most of the world’s largest companies by market capitalization on this list.

That said, 19 of the world’s 50 most valuable companies in August 2023 were from outside the U.S. These include Saudi oil giant Saudi Aramco, Taiwanese chip producer TSMC, Danish pharmaceutical Novo Nordisk, and French luxury conglomerate LVMH.


Visualizing the Number of Costco Stores, by Country

Number of Costco stores globally

American retailer Costco is best known for its unique warehouse stores, bulk packaging, and high-quality goods ranging from electronics to groceries.

After establishing itself as a retail giant in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, Costco has increasingly gone international, with a split of 591 domestic stores and 268 international stores as of August 2023. Its latest expansions? China, Sweden, and New Zealand.

First released on our mobile app Voronoi, this was one of our most interesting visualization concepts of the year.


Visualizing Every Company on the S&P 500 Index

Bubble chart showing a partial breakdown of the S&P 500 companies in the Info Tech and Healthcare sectors. Apple and Microsoft are by far the largest.

Circling back to companies, many people are familiar with tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, but not necessarily how much weight they carry in today’s markets.

Look no further than the S&P 500, the index covering the largest public U.S. companies by market capitalization. Breaking down the index by every company and sector illustrates how American capital markets have shaped up in recent years.


Visualizing the World’s Largest Lithium Producers

Visualizing the World’s Largest Lithium Producers

A lot of governments, mining companies, and automakers have their sights set on lithium. Thanks to the growing power of lithium batteries, the metal has become essential for being a key component in electric vehicle manufacturing and the clean energy market as a whole.

This graphic shows both the countries leading lithium production today, and the ones with the largest estimated reserves of lithium for tomorrow.


World Risk Poll: How Long Can People Survive Without Income?

shareable for how long people can survive without income

If you suddenly have to survive without income, how long could you do it? Whether its from a natural disaster or an economic shock, financial security varies not just from person to person, but country to country. This ranking highlights countries whose respondents said they could cover their basic needs, both for the longest and shortest length of time.


Visualizing 1 Billion Square Feet of Empty Office Space

Visualizing 1 Billion Square Feet of Empty Office Space

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world, but its impact on cities and work may be one of its longest lasting legacies. By forcing many companies to transition to work-from-home models, entire buildings of office space have been left empty.

Three years since the onset of the pandemic, 963 million square feet of office space sat empty in the United States. This piece shows just how much office real estate is sitting unused in America, and discusses the effects being felt by the companies and banks that own it.


Infographic: The Longest Lasting Cars, in Miles

longest lasting cars

Automakers compete on many factors: The price, size, looks, and gas mileage of a vehicle all play a role in which a consumer will choose.

When you’re constantly on the road, one of the most important factors is longevity. After all, many well-built cars are expected to last hundreds of thousands of miles. Which cars, trucks, and SUVs last the longest?


Ranked: The U.S. Banks With the Most Uninsured Deposits

The U.S. Banks With the Most Uninsured Deposits

Back in March, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) went from a preeminent financier for startups to being seized by regulators almost overnight. Its collapse was joined a few days later by Signature Bank, and by First Republic Bank in May, with more than $500 billion in nominal holdings across the three at the time of their failures. These were the U.S. banks with the most uninsured deposits back in April.

Do you want visuals and reporting on the year to come? See what hundreds of experts are predicting for 2024 with our Global Forecast Series.

Earth & People: Top Data Visualizations

These graphics cover the world itself, from breaking down news and politics to understanding demographics and climate impacts.


Map Explainer: The Gaza Strip

Gaza Strip map infographic

When Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7th, global focus centered squarely on the conflict. In the days that followed, Israel’s military cleared the country of remaining militants, began extensive bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip, and launched a large scale ground invasion on October 27th.

Our Map Explainer examines the Palestinian territory, covering demographics, infrastructure, border situations, and more.


Visualizing Population Density Patterns in Six Countries

beautifully rendered population density maps of six major countries

From the sparse and widespread Canada to the coastal clusters of Italy, this series of maps from Terence Teo detail the population density of six countries. 3D spikes denote where people live, with higher spikes equaling more people.


Visualizing All the World’s Carbon Emissions by Country

all carbon emissions by country in 2022

In 2021, our world saw an estimated 36.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted into the atmosphere. In our exploration above, we examine how those emissions break down by source country, with China, the U.S., and India accounting for 52% alone.

But the picture changes when you look at emissions of countries per capita and by income group. All three of these visuals were first visible on our newly launched app Voronoi.


Visualizing the American Workforce as 100 People

Reimagining the American workforce as 100 people and categorizing them by jobs, positions and sectors.

60% of the estimated 333 million people in the U.S. are employed in various jobs, positions, and sectors of the country’s economy. By reimagining the workforce as only 100 people, we’re able to easily compare which jobs and sectors employ more Americans than others.


Visualizing the Biomass of All the World’s Mammals

Global Biomass of Mammals

Life on Earth stretches far beyond humans, encompassing different kinds of animals, plants, fungi, and other organisms. It can be hard to fathom just how many different kinds of life we have, let alone compare them, but this visual accomplishes exactly that.

Thanks to new research, we’re able to examine how all of Earth’s mammals—including humans—compare by biomass. It turns out that there are a lot more of us than there are of most other mammals by weight (except for cows).


Map Explainer: Sudan

Sudan map explainer infographic

Back in April, global news shifted towards the African nation of Sudan as war broke out between the country’s rival military factions. Even though the headlines have died down, the war still continues as of December.

Fighting was focused around the capital of Khartoum and in the Darfur region, which is no stranger to internationally-recognized violence and crisis. Our map explainer examines how the war escalated across Sudan’s geography and the timeline of events.


Visualized: Global CO2 Emissions Through Time (1950–2022)

Preview image of a streamgraph showing global CO2 emissions between 1950-2022, broken down by region.

Examining carbon emissions in the present day, as we did a few spots above, is important for recognizing how climate change is being fueled today.

But emissions have been rapidly accumulating for decades, and examining the historical contributions of countries is just as vital for understanding how the world’s climate has ended up at its current tipping point.


Visualized: The Head of State of Each Country, By Age and Generation

This graphic shows each nation's head of state, their age and generation, and how they relate to their country's population

It is no small feat to track the heads of state of 192 nations around the world. But this impressive visual from Edit Gyenge managed the task, showing the most powerful (or ceremonial) figurehead in each country and their names, ages, and generations as of March 2023.


Video Game Engagement, by Generation

shareable for a generational breakdown of video game engagement

Speaking of generations, each age bracket interacts with the world in noticeably different ways, especially when it comes to media. One medium that shows the stark difference in consumption between cohorts like Gen Alphas (born in 2010 or later) and Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964) is video games—some play, others watch or engage in different ways.


Visualizing the Odds of Dying from Various Accidents

odds of dying

The average American 4000x less likely to win the Powerball lottery jackpot than they are to be struck by lightning in their lifetime, and that’s the accident with the lowest odds. Others causes of death in the U.S., like sunstroke or choking, have way higher odds, but none come close to the likelihood of being in a fatal vehicle accident.


Mapped: The Ancient Seven Wonders of the World

Ancient wonders of the world

Can you name the ancient seven wonders of the world, and highlight the one still standing? What about pointing out their historic locations on a modern day map?

This infographic by Pranav Gavali tracks the original ancient seven wonders, their features, and how many years they lasted before being destroyed.


Which Countries are the Most Polarized?

polarization of countries 2023

If you feel like many topics of conversation are becoming increasingly contentious, or that you’re finding it harder to interact with other people of different classes, jobs, or even races, you’re likely experiencing the increasing polarization being seen in the world today.

Is society truly becoming more polarized? This chart shows how different countries compare when we attempt to quantify polarization.


Visualized: Air Quality and Pollution in 50 Capital Cities

A chart comparing air quality in 50 capital cities around the world by average PM2.5 concentrations in 2022.

What is clean air? Unless you’re in a remote location on Earth, there’s a good chance that the air around you has at least trace amounts of pollutants, with the most commonly measured known as PM2.5 (fine particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less).

According to WHO safety guideline, annual PM2.5 levels above 5 micrograms per cubic meter in cities can lead to potential health risks for residents. This graphic from Planet Anomaly highlights just how many major capitals in the world are on the unsafe side, and how polluted they are.


Interactive Map: The World as 1,000 People

Interactive Map: All The People in the World as 1,000 People

Last but far from least is this interactive map of the global population, which has grown to 8.05 billion as of July 2023. How do the world’s regions and countries compare by population if we reimagine the world with only 1,000 people? The answer: some countries number in the 100s, while a few disappear completely.

Like what you see in this roundup of the top data visualizations of 2023? Join our free email list and get a new visualization in your mailbox every day.

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Visual Capitalist

Best Visualizations of May on the Voronoi App

We round up the most popular, most discussed, and most liked visualizations of the month on Voronoi, our new data storytelling platform.



At the end of 2023, we publicly launched Voronoi, our free new data discovery app!

The initial response from both users and creators has been incredible. We now have millions of in-app views, and there are already more than 1,000 interesting visualizations to discover, many of which will never be published on Visual Capitalist.

For that reason, we’ve chosen to highlight some of the most popular visualizations and creators from May in this roundup. To see them and many others, make sure to download the app!

Download Voronoi Now

Let’s take a look at a popular creator worth highlighting, as well as the most viewed, most discussed, and most liked posts of the month.



Visual Capitalist isn’t the only creator on the Voronoi app.

Instead, it features incredible data-driven charts and stories from many of the world’s best data sources, like USAFacts.


USAFacts, which was founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, is a non-profit that aims to collate public sources of U.S. data in one place in a non-partisan way. And on Voronoi, you can see visualizations and the data behind them on an exciting range of topics:

  • How the U.S. government spends tax dollars
  • Graphing U.S. aid and assistance going to Ukraine and Israel
  • How many encounters happen at U.S. borders each year
  • The cost of major natural disasters in the U.S. by year

Make sure to follow USAFacts on Voronoi today to see many charts, maps, and visualizations on a wide range of U.S.-related topics.

View all visuals from USAFacts on Voronoi today.


Ranked: The 20 Countries With the Most Debt to China

Which countries are racking up the most external debt to China?

This visualization from Visual Capitalist was our most viewed of the month, using the latest available data from the World Bank.

Countries in the Most Debt to China

Much of this debt was taken on to fund infrastructure projects as part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, and some countries are running into difficulties repaying these large sums of money.

It should also be noted that this visual focuses in on external debt (i.e. loans made directly to countries) and does not cover publicly-traded securities like U.S. Treasurys.

Get the data behind this visual on Voronoi today.


The Valuation of Nvidia in Perspective

Chipmaker Nvidia has been on a tear recently.

At this time last year, it became a $1 trillion company—and now it’s even bigger, dwarfing many well-known companies in the tech space (including other chipmakers like Intel and AMD) in market capitalization.

The Size of Nvidia in Perspective

This visualization by Visual Capitalist surprised many viewers, making it the most commented post of the month on Voronoi.

To join the conversation, download Voronoi today.


Mapped: Tax Burden by State in 2024

The most liked visual on Voronoi in May came from Visual Capitalist and it shows the average portion of income people pay towards state and local taxes in each U.S. state.

Mapped: Tax Burden by State in 2024

Combining state tax, property tax, and sales & excise taxes, it shows the relative tax burdens across the country.

Get the data behind this visual on Voronoi today.


May 2024: Developer Update for Voronoi

Lastly, we thought we’d share our latest developer update for Voronoi, which covers the newest features on the app and what’s coming down the pipe:

May 2024: Developer Update for Voronoi

We’re pleased to announce that users can now respond directly to comments on the app, and mention other users or creators. We also have really exciting features in our near-term roadmap, including video and slideshow capabilities, customized feeds, and more.

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