Which countries do people live in, globally?
It’s a very simple question, but it’s also hard to get an accurate sense of the answer by browsing through a lengthy table of country-level population data.
That’s because there are close to 200 countries spread around the globe, with populations ranging from near 1.4 billion (China or India) to countries a mere 0.001% of that size. How is it possible to do the mental math in interpreting such a wide range of data points simultaneously?
Visualizing the World’s Population
Today’s data visualization comes to us from PopulationPyramid.net, a fantastic resource for data on global population numbers.
It allows us to see the location of the world’s 7.5 billion people by resizing countries based on their populations and then coloring and organizing them by region.
This simple application of data visualization makes it more intuitive to comprehend where people live around the globe, as well as how different countries compare in size.
The first thing you might notice on the graphic is the relative size of regions, with Asia taking up a whopping 60% of the visual space.
Here are those numbers by region broken down further:
|Rank||Region||Share of Global Population (%)||Population|
|#4||North America||7%||534 million|
|#5||South America||6%||424 million|
|#6||Central America||1%||47 million|
When you look at it this way, you can really see how the math breaks down.
About 75% of people reside in Asia or Africa. Meanwhile, the regions of Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania just total together to 25% of the mix.
The 10 Most Populous Countries
There are some countries that are clear standouts on the data visualization.
For example, China and India combine to 2.7 billion people, together accounting for 36% of the total global population.
Those heavyweights aside, there are other notable countries that take up significant amounts of real estate on the visualization as well:
|Rank||Country||Population (2017)||% of global total|
|#3||🇺🇸 United States||326,474,013||4.3%|
|Top 10 Total||4,358,978,629||58.0%|
The United States, Indonesia, Brazil, and Pakistan rank between #3 and #6, and have about a billion people between them.
Nigeria, which is #7 on the list, has the world’s fastest growing megacity within its borders. Further, Bangladesh is also a noteworthy entry since it is one of the densest populations globally, with 1,138.9 people per square kilometer of land.
A Final Look at Global Population
This isn’t the first time we’ve shown you a data visualization that organizes the global population – here’s one we previously published that shows each country in a bubble chart:
While this uses slightly older data, it is still interesting to see how data visualization can help us understand a complex and wide-ranging set of data that is relevant to everyday life.
Charted: The Working Hours of Americans at Different Income Levels
This graphic shows the average working hours between higher and lower-income groups in America, based on income percentile.
The Actual Working Hours of Different Income Levels
Do you really need to work 100-hour weeks for success?
In 2021, America’s top 10% of income earners made at least $129,181 a year—more than double the average individual income across the country.
When looking at differences between income groups, there are many preconceived notions about the work involved. But what are the actual average working hours for different income groups?
This graphic by Ruben Berge Mathisen uses the latest U.S. Census data to show the average working hours of Americans at different income levels.
Comparing Average Work Weeks
The data used for this graphic comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s May 2022 Current Population Survey, which surveys more than 8,000 Americans from various socioeconomic backgrounds.
Importantly, the data reflects the average work hours that respondents in each income percentile “actually” work each week, and not what’s on their contract. This also includes overtime, other jobs, or side gigs.
According to the survey data, America’s top 10% income percentile works 4.4 hours more each week than those in the bottom 10%. And in surveys across other countries, though with hundreds of respondents instead of thousands, the discrepancy was similar:
Do the rich really work longer hours than the poor?
The graph below plots data from 27 countries.
— Ruben Mathisen (@rubenbmathisen) August 7, 2022
While both income and wealth gaps are generally widening globally, it’s interesting to see that higher earners aren’t necessarily working more hours to achieve their increasingly larger salaries.
In fact, the top 10% in the 27 countries shown in the graphic are actually working around 1 hour less each week than the bottom 10%, at least among full-time workers.
Zooming Out: Average Working Hours per Country
Similarities arise when comparing average working hours across different countries. For starters, people living in poorer countries typically work longer hours.
According to Our World in Data, the average worker in Cambodia works about 9.4 hours a day, while in Switzerland, people work an average of 6 hours a day.
While many factors contribute to this discrepancy in working hours, one large factor cited is tech innovation, or things like physical machines, processes, and systems that make work more efficient and productive. This allows wealthier countries (and industries) to increase their output without putting in as many hours.
For example, from 1948 to 2011, farm production per hour in the U.S. became 16x more productive, thanks to innovations like improved machinery, better fertilizers, and more efficient land management systems.
Visualizing The European Union’s Aging Population by 2100
The EU’s population is aging rapidly. By 2100, more than 30% of the region’s population is expected to be 65 or older.
The EU’s Population by 2100
View a higher resolution version of this map.
Many countries and regions are expected to see rapidly aging demographics, and the EU is a notable example. By the end of the century, more than 30% of the region’s population is expected to be 65 or older.
This graphic by Gilbert Fontana uses data from Eurostat to show how the EU’s population is projected to change by 2100. In the article below, we explain how this shift could have a dire impact on the region’s economic growth.
Dependency Ratio from 2021 to 2100
The graphic highlights the old-age dependency ratio, which measures the ratio of people 65 and above, and generally retired or needing supplemental income, compared to the number of people that are working age (15-64).
In 2021, the EU’s dependency ratio was 32. This meant that for every 100 working-age people, there were 32 elderly people. By 2100, this ratio is expected to increase to 57.
But what’s the real-life impact of this?
The Impact of the EU’s Aging Population
Typically, the retirement age population is not working and relies on pensions to support themselves financially. Therefore, the bigger the elderly population, the more pressure put on a country’s social safety net.
|Age||EU Population (2021)||EU Population (2100)||% Change|
As the population ages, taxes may rise to help cover those inflating costs. And a decrease in a region’s working-age population can also have a significant impact on innovation and experience in the overall workforce.
For example, Japan’s population is also aging rapidly. According to the IMF, this could slow down the country’s annual GDP growth by 1 percentage point in the next 30 years.
Main Causes of An Aging Population
Japan and the EU aren’t the only places in the world that are seeing their population get older—the entire global population is aging.
According to the World Health Organization, one in six people worldwide will be 60 years old or older by 2030. This is happening for two main reasons:
- Drop in global fertility rates
- Increased life expectancies
To help mitigate the risks that come from aging populations, governments need to ensure their pension systems are adequate and adjusted to account for increasing life expectancies and growing elderly populations.
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