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Our Top Infographics of 2016



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 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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