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Our Top Infographics of 2016

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Visual Capitalist's Top Infographics of 2016

Pop the champagne, because 2016 is soon to be history.

And with that, we are proud to wrap up the year with 16 of the best infographics, charts, and data visualizations that we posted over the course of 2016. Just like in last year’s edition, some of the posts below were handpicked by our staff, while others received notably high amounts of shares, views, and comments from our audience.

If you’re new to Visual Capitalist, this countdown is one of the best ways to get acquainted with what we do. It rounds up our most powerful and intuitive visuals that help to simplify complex concepts in business, technology, and investing. If you like what you see below, don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to get our free content daily.

Important Notes:

Below, we count down our top infographics of 2016. But first, a few quick notes:

  • Images below are previews for a much larger infographic with an accompanying article
  • To view any post in full, click the image or link in the text. All links open in a new tab.

Enjoy the roundup, and wishing you the best in 2017!
– The Visual Capitalist Team

16. The Largest Companies by Market Cap

The Largest Companies by Market Cap Over Time
Is software really eating the world, as Marc Andreessen says? This chart, which shows the largest public companies by market capitalization over the last 15 years, is probably our best proof of technology’s profound impact on the capital markets.

15. Explaining the Surging Demand for Lithium-Ion Batteries

Explaining the Surging Demand for Lithium-Ion Batteries
This year, we covered the buzz around the construction of the massive Tesla Gigafactory in depth.

However, for a broader look at electric cars and how emerging battery technologies will impact the world, our five-part Battery Series is a particularly good primer.

14. The Dominance of Google and Facebook in One Chart

The Dominance of Google and Facebook in One Chart
Most digital publishers are fighting for an increasingly smaller slice of the pie. The one stat that proves it? Nearly $0.60 of every $1 spent on digital advertising goes to Google and Facebook.

13. Visualizing the Size of the U.S. National Debt

Visualizing the Size of the U.S. National Debt
The U.S. national debt is so massive, that it is difficult to truly comprehend its size. We created this infographic as a part of our popular Money Project, with the aim of putting the debt in context.

12. U.S. Healthcare is a Global Outlier (and Not in a Good Way)

U.S. Healthcare is a Global Outlier (and Not in a Good Way)
Americans spent more than $3 trillion, or 17.5% of GDP, on healthcare in 2015. Are they getting any bang for their buck?

This chart, which was shared over 34,000 times by our audience on social media, says it is unlikely.

11. Interactive Map: The Flow of International Trade

Interactive Map: The Flow of International Trade
Explore fascinating data on world trade with this interactive 3D globe. It uniquely groups imports and exports by color, while allowing you to isolate specific countries to see their trade relationships.

10. The 27 Fintech Unicorns, and Where They Were Born

27 Fintech Unicorns, and Where They Were Born
In 2016, the fintech sector took off. This infographic documents the rise of the 27 largest privately-held fintech companies, their valuations, money raised so far, and geographic locations.

9. The Oil Market is Bigger Than All Metal Markets Combined

The Oil Market is Bigger Than All Metal Markets Combined
Ever wonder why the oil industry has so much influence? This was one of our most popular charts of the year – it shows that all metal markets combined don’t even come close to touching the oil market!

8. Currency and the Collapse of the Roman Empire

Currency and the Collapse of the Roman Empire
This infographic on the collapse of the Roman Empire for The Money Project was one of our most illustrative infographics of the year. It explains the role that currency devaluation had in the eventual demise of one of the most famous empires in history.

7. Vancouver Real Estate Mania

Vancouver Real Estate Mania
This infographic tells the story of how Vancouver lost its affordability… and its mind.

6. The Slow Death of Traditional Media

The Slow Death of Traditional Media
Digital media will be the largest advertising channel globally by 2019 – even bigger than television. This chart covers the death of traditional media.

For another interesting post on this topic, also check out our chart covering the trials and tribulations of The New York Times in their attempt to double-down on digital.

5. Step By Step: How Elon Musk Built His Empire

Step By Step: How Elon Musk Built His Empire
At just 45 years of age, Elon Musk has built multiple billion-dollar companies including Tesla Motors, PayPal, SpaceX, and SolarCity. This infographic tells the incredible story of his life, and how he built an impressive and world-changing empire at such a young age.

4. How Much Money Have Humans Created?


Have you ever wondered how much money actually exists out there? This insightful motion graphic for The Money Project looks to compare the world’s money and markets to help answer this question.

It’s a video that every investor should watch, because it gives such great context about the world’s money and markets.

3. These 5 Big Companies Control the World’s Beer

These 5 Big Companies Control the World's Beer
With the completed merger between ABInBev and SABMiller, a new $107 billion megabrewer was created. This now means that there are only five big brewers that control the majority of beer brands around the world, including brands like Budweiser, Coors, Miller, Molson, Corona, Stella Artois, Heineken, Carlsberg, and many more.

2. Are American Consumers Taking On Too Much Debt?

Are American Consumers Taking On Too Much Debt?
This giant infographic uses the latest data from Equifax to answer a pressing question: are U.S. consumers taking on too much debt?

It dives into the history of consumer debt to create context, but then goes right into the numbers on mortgage debt, student debt, auto loans, credit cards, and more. This is a great primer for anyone looking to understand the world of consumer credit.

1. The Real Story Behind Donald Trump’s Wealth


Five months before the election, we created a motion graphic video for The Money Project that detailed the story on how Donald Trump accumulated his wealth.

We found that most media outlets did not do a great job of telling the whole story around his career, and that they omitted many key facts. We decided to do a fun and data-driven video that looked at the successes and failures of Trump, as well as some context around his family history.

The video has received millions of views so far, and we will even be posting a follow-up video in a couple of weeks time before Trump’s inauguration.

A Special Thanks

Our style of great visual content can’t be created for free, and we owe a great deal of our success to our sponsors.

One important sponsor is Texas Precious Metals, a bullion company that helped us create The Money Project. About 25% of our top infographics of 2016 above were done with their support.

If you’re into gold or silver, check them out. Otherwise, if you want to learn more about buying gold or silver bullion, they have a fantastic and free Beginner’s Guide that is worth downloading.

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Best of

Our Top Infographics of 2018

A countdown of our top infographics from the last year, including some of our most viewed graphics as well as other hand-picked entries from our staff.

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Visual Capitalist

This year, we published more than 300 posts on Visual Capitalist, getting well over 20 million views along the way.

While all of these posts are driven by powerful visuals and data-driven content, we can only select 18 of them on our hand-picked, annual list of our best work. Below, you’ll find our Top Infographics of 2018 List, which contains some of our most popular infographics, as well as a curation of staff favorites for the year.

If you like what you see on the following list, make sure to subscribe to our mailing list or connect via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to get our free content daily.

Important Notes:

Below are the top posts of 2018. But first, a few quick notes:

  • Images below are small preview images for each large infographic and article
  • To view any post in full, click the image or link in the text. All links open in a new tab.
  • At the end, we’ll link to some honorable mentions, as well as the year-end lists for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Wishing you the best in the new year!
– The Visual Capitalist Team

18. The Social Media Universe

The Social Media Universe

This infographic is from another world, showing the vast scope of the social media universe. In particular, the size of the “Zuckerberg Cluster” stands out, as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger dominate the list of apps with more than a billion monthly active users.

17. The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles in 2018

The World

Ever wanted to know which key real estate markets are the closest to popping, and which are potentially undervalued?

These maps and charts show the six major cities currently in “bubble risk” territory, and how they compare to the markets of other important global cities.

16. The Raw Materials that Fuel the Green Revolution

The Raw Materials Powering the Green Revolution

To get off fossil fuels, we’ll need other finite resources such as rare metals and minerals. We show the resources that will power the green revolution in this giant infographic.

15. The Business Value of the Blockchain

The Business Value of the Blockchain

While 2018 has been a year to forget for cryptocurrencies, the blockchain is here to stay and will impact a wide variety of industries. This graphic uses data from McKinsey to show the potential business value of the technology.

14. Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales

Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales
This chart that shows the composition of music industry sales was an unexpected blockbuster, but it seems to have captured the hearts and minds of music lovers from around the world.

13. The Relationship Between Money and Happiness

The Relationship Between Money and Happiness

This was one of our more controversial charts of 2018, partially because of an experimental design decision we made.

Instead of aligning the x and y axes in the traditional way, we oriented the chart so that the trend line was horizontal – making it so countries that were “happier” with what they had (GDP per capita) appeared above the line, while countries that were “less satisfied” appeared below.

12. Elon Musk’s Vision for the Future of Tesla

Visualizing the Future Vision of Tesla

This infographic is the conclusion of our Rise of Tesla Series, showing Elon Musk’s vision for the company. Don’t forget to view Part 1 and Part 2 of the series as well.

11. Mapped: The World’s Largest Megacities by 2100

Economic growth is anchored in cities – and the world’s urban landscape will shift dramatically as we move towards the end of the 21st century. This powerful animation shows where the world’s biggest megacities will be in 2100.

10. How Different Generations Would Invest $10k

How Different Generations Would Invest k

Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials do not think the same way about money. This is partly because they are at different points in their adult lives, but it also has to do with differing attitudes towards wealth and risk.

This nifty visualization charts how these generations would each invest $10,000, and it helps reveal what makes each generation unique.

9. Seven Facts to Free You From Your Fear of Market Crashes

Seven Facts to Free You From Your Fear of Market Crashes

Even when there is extreme volatility occurring in the stock market, this infographic may be the cure to make you a more rational investor. It goes through the math of corrections and bear markets in a simple and straightforward way that can calm the nerves of experts and beginners alike.

8. A World of Languages

A World of Languages

There are 4.1 billion people that speak the 23 most common native tongues – and this widely popular infographic breaks down where they are spoken by country.

7. The Extraordinary Power of Compound Interest

The Extraordinary Power of Compound Interest

According to Albert Einstein, compound interest is the “most powerful force in the universe”.

However, understanding its power is not intuitive to many. That’s why we created this explainer infographic on compound interest as a part of our Wealth 101 channel, which is geared to younger generations.

6. The Multi-Billion Dollar Personal Data Ecosystem

The Multi-Billion Dollar Personal Data Ecosystem

Personal data was a popular and recurring theme throughout the 2018 news cycle.

But how does this ecosystem actually work, and what are the components of personal data in the digital age? This infographic aims to break it all down in an easy and simple way.

5. The Longest Bull Markets of the Modern Era

 Trillion of World Debt

This chart we published in June became very relevant as markets struggled in late-2018.

It documents the six longest bull markets since World War II, and compares them using several factors such as length, total return, and average annual return. It also shows key events that occurred in each bull market, giving great perspective on how the stock market works over time.

4. The Warren Buffett Empire

The Warren Buffett Empire

Most people know Berkshire Hathaway as the massive conglomerate that serves as the investment vehicle for Warren Buffett’s $83 billion fortune. However, far fewer people know what this giant does, and how it actually makes its money!

This massive infographic attempts to put it all in perspective.

3. This World Map was Drawn Based on Country Populations

This Fascinating World Map was Drawn Based on Country Populations

There are many routes to creating an insightful data visualization, but one tried-and-true one is to take something familiar (like a map) and to redraw it based on another data set. In this case, this world map is redrawn based on countries’ populations to give us a whole new way to think about human geography.

2. The $80 Trillion World Economy in One Chart

The  Trillion World Economy in One Chart

This memorable chart that breaks down global GDP was one of our most shared posts of the year, with 37,000 social shares and 750,000 views.

1. The Forces Shaping the Future of the Global Economy

The 8 Major Forces Shaping the Future of the Global Economy

Powerful, data-driven visuals can really help to tell a story that words alone cannot.

This iconic post leans on the ideas and graphics from our new book Visualizing Change, and it does a great job summarizing the forces that we see shaping our economic future.

Honorable mentions:

Animation: The World’s 10 Largest Economies by GDP (1960-Today)
This enthralling animation shows the rise and fall of economies over many decades.

The 6 Forces Transforming the Future of Healthcare
Healthcare is a massive industry – and it’s undergoing tremendous change.

24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality
Think you see things objectively? Check out this list of common cognitive biases that mess with even the best of us.

The 6,000 Year History of Medical Cannabis on One Map
This giant map plots the entire history of medical cannabis through many millennia.

An Illustrated Subway Map of Human Anatomy
Ever wanted to visualize the complexity of the human body? This neat map does the trick.

And lastly, don’t forget to check out our roundups from previous years!

The Top 17 Infographics of 2017
The Top 16 Infographics of 2016
The Top 15 Infographics of 2015
The Top 14 Infographics of 2014

And if you haven’t subscribed to our free mailing list or social feeds, make sure you do so below.

Good luck in 2019!

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Best of

Our Top Infographics of 2017

We count down our favorite infographics and charts from the year, including many you may not have seen before. Catch some of our best work in this Top 17 list.

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Visual Capitalist's Top Infographics of 2017

It’s that time of year again, and 2017 is almost in the rearview mirror.

With another year biting the dust, we are excited to present a curated list of our favorite infographics, charts, and data visualizations that we posted over the course of 2017.

If you’re new to Visual Capitalist, this annual countdown is one of the best ways to get acquainted with what we do. It tallies the year’s most powerful visuals that explain the world of business and investing. If you like what you see below, don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list or connect via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to get our free content daily.

It’s also worth mentioning that many of these below graphics will be included in our upcoming book, which you can still pre-order today.

Important Notes:

Below are the top infographics of 2017. But first, a few quick notes:

  • Images below are small preview images for each large infographic and article
  • To view any post in full, click the image or link in the text. All links open in a new tab.
  • At the end, we’ll link to some honorable mentions, as well as the year-end lists for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Enjoy the countdown, and we wish you the best in the new year!
– The Visual Capitalist Team

17. The Future of Battery Technology

The Future of Battery Technology

The final installment in our five-part Battery Series, this infographic covers what is coming down the battery technology pipeline in the future. It looks at the near-term advancements that will be made with lithium-ion batteries, as well as more unproven, distant technologies like Li-S, Li-air, and Na-ion batteries.

16. The 100 Websites That Rule the Internet

The 100 Websites That Rule the Internet

Ever wonder who owns the 100 most popular websites in the world? This massive infographic links it all together, and allows you to see the powerhouses that rule the internet.

15. The Richest People in History (Part 1)

The Richest People in History

This infographic shows the world’s richest people, with a focus on the pre-modern era that occurred before the Industrial Revolution. In it, you’ll find details on the fortunes of famous names like Augustus Caesar, Mansa Musa, King Solomon, Genghis Khan, and the Medici family.

14. How 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions

How 5 Tech Giants Make Their Billions

Do you know how tech giants like Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon make their money? This chart breaks down the revenue streams for each company in an intuitive and simple manner.

13. These 35 Chinese Cities Have Economies as Big as Countries

35 Chinese Cities With Economies as Big as Countries

It’s often difficult to comprehend the size and scale of the economic boom in China.

That’s why it’s a topic we approach quite often with our visualizations – and we felt this one really hit the mark. Using a mind-boggling map, we compare each of China’s 35 biggest cities with the economies of entire countries. How many of these massive Chinese cities do you think you can name?

12. Bitcoin’s Journey to $10,000

Bitcoin's Journey to $10,000

It was a landmark year for cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin’s ultra-quick journey from under $1,000 to $10,000 in just 11 months was the centerpiece of the excitement. This nifty infographic documents the ascent, as well as the major events that happened over the course of the year in the space.

11. Visualizing the Massive $15.7 Trillion Impact of AI

Visualizing the Massive $15.7 Trillion Impact of AI

Artificial intelligence is going to impact every facet of our lives, and this infographic summarizes the impact and potential breadth of possibilities that AI will bring once it is ubiquitous.

10. Donald Trump’s $20 Trillion Problem

The year started with the controversial inauguration of Donald Trump – and this video, which was released around that time, sums up a major issue he faces during his presidency. How he approaches the country’s record-high $20 trillion national debt will be an important factor in whether he is able to make America “great again”.

9. Every Single Cognitive Bias in One Giant Infographic

Every Single Cognitive Bias in One Giant Infographic

Has it been your lifelong dream to see every one of the existing 188 cognitive biases mapped out and organized in a useful codex? If so, then today is your lucky day.

8. Measuring Global Competitiveness

Measuring Global Competitiveness

What makes an economy competitive at the global level, and why?

This useful animation shows how countries compare using the Global Competitiveness Index – and then later in the post, the factors influencing competitiveness are explained and compared.

7. The Crypto Universe

The Crypto Universe

Back in September 2017, when a bitcoin was only worth $4,000, we made this chart to make sense of the cryptocurrency universe. It compares the differences between Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Dash, and Ethereum Classic – and it shows key metrics around volume, market capitalization, and transactions.

It’s all fairly out of date now, but that’s how the crypto space rolls.

6. $63 Trillion of World Debt

$63 Trillion of World Debt

There is now a total of $63 trillion in global sovereign debt, and this colorful chart breaks it down by country and debt-to-GDP ratio. See the large version in all its glory here.

5. The Early Years of Warren Buffett

The Early Years of Warren Buffett

This marvelous infographic tells the story of Warren Buffet’s early years, including his various childhood business pursuits, his first stock purchase, and other events that have helped shape the Oracle of Omaha’s career. This is the start of our five-part Warren Buffett series, which will continue through 2018.

4. The World’s Top Brands

The World's Top Brands

What are the world’s most valuable brands? This big chart counts down the companies with the most brand value in 2017, and also gives historical perspective (shown above) on the most valuable brands over time.

3. The Origin Story of Tesla

The Origin Story of Tesla

Today, we know Tesla as an important leader in the green revolution, developing everything from electric semi-trucks to Powerwalls. However, Tesla’s success wasn’t always a given – and this beautiful infographic tells the story of Tesla’s early vision, the company’s strategy to shed the stigma around EVs, the cost overruns in developing the Roadster, and the company’s narrow escape from the brink of bankruptcy.

It was the first piece of our three-part Rise of Tesla Series – the rest will be released in early 2018.

2. Walmart Nation

Walmart Nation

This memorable chart shows that Walmart has the most employees in a whopping 22 states. With nearly one million views and 75,000 social media shares, this was our most-shared post of the year.

1. All of the World’s Money and Markets

All of the World's Money and Markets

A remake of our 2015 graphic that “put us on the map”, this is the latest update to All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization.

Including stats from both versions of the graphic, this visualization has now been seen by more than 1.5 million people on our site alone.

Honorable mentions:

The Jeff Bezos Empire in One Chart
Made after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, showing all the companies that Bezos has invested in or bought.

The Numbers Behind the World’s Closest Trade Relationship
Statistics behind USA-Canada trade

Histomap: Visualizing the 4,000 Year History of Global Power
This crazy chart made in 1931 isn’t ours, but it’s super interesting.

How Billionaire Investors Hedge Against Geopolitical Black Swans
Why geopolitical risk is higher, and what billionaires are doing to protect their wealth

The $74 Trillion Economy in One Chart
The global economy visualized

And lastly, don’t forget to check out our roundups from previous years!

The Top 16 Infographics of 2016
The Top 15 Infographics of 2015
The Top 14 Infographics of 2014

And if you haven’t subscribed to our free mailing list or social feeds, make sure you do so below.

Have a great 2018!

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