Who’s the Most Popular YouTuber in Every Country?
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Who’s the Most Popular YouTuber in Every Country?

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Who’s the Most Popular YouTuber in Every Country?

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Forgot about becoming an astronaut—these days, kids are three times more likely to dream of becoming a professional YouTuber.

And who can blame them? With a big enough fan base, vlogging can be a lucrative business. Who exactly are these professional content creators, and how do they make their money?

This graphic by Accredited Debt Relief shows the most popular YouTuber in nearly every country. The list only considers individual YouTubers, so brands, bands, or shows didn’t make the cut.

How Do YouTubers Make Money?

Before diving into the list, it’s important to understand the basics of the business. How do these content creators generate revenue?

  • Advertisements
    If a YouTuber reaches 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within a year, they can start to monetize their account with advertisements. YouTubers only get paid when a viewer watches the full ad, or clicks on it.
  • YouTube Premium
    This is a monthly subscription service that allows fans to watch their favourite content without ads. YouTubers get a cut of subscription profits, based on how many views their channel attracts.
  • Corporate Sponsorships
    Also known as influencer marketing, this is when brands pay content creators to promote their product. A vlogger typically needs a large following before brands are willing to work with them, but expectations from brands vary based on the company and their marketing objectives.
  • Merchandise Sales
    If an influencer has a loyal fan base, they can make a pretty penny selling branded swag. It’s estimated that PewDiePie, the world’s most popular YouTuber, makes over $6 million a month from merch sales.

While there are several options for making money on YouTube, it’s nearly impossible to make a living without a large following.

The Full Breakdown

With over 50 million content creators on YouTube, getting noticed is no easy feat. Here’s a look at the most popular YouTubers in 187 different countries, based on their total subscribers:

CountryYouTuberCategorySubscribersEst. Monthly Earnings (USD$)
🇮🇸 IcelandSorelle AmoreEntertainment965,000$3,300
🇧🇸 BahamasCrypto BeadlesTech92,600$2,400
🇨🇾 CyprusTumkaGames / Тумка:3Gaming900,000$7,900
🇲🇿 MozambiqueArte e VidaEntertainment86,800$655
🇹🇿 TanzaniaYoung TubersKids828,000$63,100
🇱🇾 LibyaKing GTAGaming812,000$69,900
🇪🇹 EthiopiaAmharic CookingHow To81,700$872
🇧🇼 BotswanaShree craft placeHow To80,800$11,000
🇳🇷 NauruJerseySurvivorEntertainment80,700$2,800
🇹🇴 TongaTasteoftheSouthPacificHow To8,700$281
🇯🇵 Japanはじめしゃちょー(hajime)Entertainment8,710,000$238,800
🇻🇳 VietnamNTN VlogsEntertainment8,610,000$19,600
🇸🇪 SwedenNarins BeautyBeauty & Style8,310,000$203,300
🇷🇸 SerbiaLife Hacks & ExperimentsHow To8,040,000$318,400
🇫🇲 Micronesia, Federated States ofdxd101Entertainment79,300$2,700
🇯🇲 JamaicaYanriqueGaming785,000$50,300
🇬🇾 GuyanaPro MarathiTech77,000$29
🇵🇸 PalestineFozi MoziKids7,700,000$723,900
🇮🇹 ItalyMarziaEntertainment7,660,000$1,800
🇩🇿 AlgeriaOum WalidHow To7,470,000$217,700
🇹🇱 Timor Lesteking_vieira OFFICIALMusic7,300$221
🇮🇶 Iraqقناة منوعات الكوميدية العراقيهPeople & Blogs7,260,000$593,000
🇦🇿 AzerbaijanResul Abbasov OfficialEntertainment668,000$33,400
🇲🇪 MontenegroAdnanBroGaming626,000$18,000
🇸🇨 SeychellesRosa GrunerGaming60,900$7,100
🇬🇼 Guinea-BissauEditing ki DukanHow To60,500$635
🇷🇴 RomaniaBe InspiredEducation6,690,000$86,500
🇳🇬 NigeriaMarkAngelComedyComedy6,340,000$326,800
🇵🇦 PanamaMimonona StoriesKids6,230,000$7,900
🇱🇦 LaosBigyai SeehaladEntertainment582,000$114,300
🇧🇧 BarbadosBrilliant NewsEntertainment580,000$158,500
🇧🇹 BhutanCigano RamiresPeople & Blogs56,900$7,200
🇺🇸 United States of AmericaLike NastyaKids56,900,000$7,730,000
🇧🇿 Belizengashigi kangleipakPeople & Blogs56,300$806
🇩🇯 DjiboutiEman LotfiEntertainment55,700$1,400
🇨🇺 CubaLifeplesEntertainment538,000$70,700
🇧🇳 BruneiBernardo WerneckEntertainment52,800n/a
🇸🇲 San MarinoBlackJack997Autos51,500$222
🇲🇳 MongoliaMesmerism OfficialComedy504,000$16,300
🇫🇮 FinlandTheRelaxingEndGaming5,800,000$128,600
🇦🇩 AndorraTri-lineEntertainment5,700,000$127,900
🇺🇾 UruguayDosogasEntertainment5,600,000$55,800
🇪🇬 EgyptAhmed Hassan FamilyEntertainment5,450,000$218,200
🇸🇬 Singaporeমায়াজালEntertainment5,320,000$19,000
🇳🇿 New ZealandRainbow LearningKids5,250,000$5,100
🇬🇪 GeorgiaGuka Family ShowKids5,210,000$339,800
🇰🇼 KuwaitAboFlahGaming5,130,000$786,800
🇵🇹 PortugalSirKazzioEntertainment5,060,000$11,600
🇦🇹 AustriaFabio WibmerSports5,020,000$317,000
🇻🇨 Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesThe Motivator 2Sports48,100$60
🇲🇬 MadagascarPhilippe MARRONESports47,700$3,800
🇸🇧 Solomon IslandsCaroline ElizabethEntertainment45,400$54
🇬🇭 GhanaRakGhanaComedy448,000$12,600
🇲🇼 MalawiDj Àmit ÁligarhMusic44,100$468
🇲🇽 MexicoBadabunEntertainment43,000,000$299,100
🇧🇯 BeninMa ChaîneHow To42,000$611
🇨🇱 ChileHolaSoyGermanEntertainment41,100,000$208,400
🇮🇱 IsraelJamal alimwase ـ جمال العمواسيNature4,730,000$89,100
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 WalesBen PhillipsEntertainment4,610,000$53,600
🇲🇾 MalaysiaPlataBushGaming4,590,000$70,000
🇧🇩 BangladeshFarjana Drawing AcademyHow To4,580,000$225,300
🇵🇱 PolandBlowekEntertainment4,530,000$87,700
🇲🇦 MoroccoYassPlaysGaming4,460,000$322,900
🇸🇮 SloveniaTimKo KidKids4,450,000$58,200
🇻🇪 VenezuelaKeiferMCGaming4,310,000$210,000
🇩🇴 Dominican RepublicElFlacoWTFEntertainment4,270,000$54,000
🇧🇪 BelgiumAkosi DogieEntertainment4,210,000$415,400
🇸🇩 Sudanالمنهج السلفي بالسودانPeople & Blogs398,000$20,400
🇧🇷 BrazilwhinderssonnunesComedy39,800,000$62,400
🇸🇴 SomaliaBalanbaalis StudioMusic384,000$1,500
🇳🇦 NamibiaNamiban gospel musicEntertainment38,800$1,200
🇧🇫 Burkina FasoJackson OliveiraEntertainment38,700$333
🇪🇸 SpainelrubiusOMGEntertainment38,000,000$204,400
🇸🇱 Sierra LeoneBlackPearlHow To36,800$327
🇸🇻 El SalvadorFernanflooGaming36,600,000$730,900
🇿🇼 ZimbabweKing GryphGaming334,000$639
🇰🇳 Saint Kitts and NevisDr.MungliEducation33,500$873
🇰🇪 KenyaHenry DeSaguEntertainment328,000$8,800
🇹🇬 TogoFortnite FantasyGaming310,000$2,900
🇹🇻 TuvaluGuruKidHDGaming31,800$9
🇹🇲 TurkmenistanNed TocinoEntertainment31,200n/a
🇲🇴 Macau籽岷Gaming300,000$1,200
🇬🇳 GuineaFaits - Divers GUINEENews30,600$11
🇩🇰 DenmarkSYBO TVGaming3,750,000$76,400
🇹🇳 TunisiaBorn2KillGaming3,690,000$232,300
🇧🇭 Bahrainعمر فاروق Omar FarooqEntertainment3,500,000$23,800
🇦🇱 AlbaniaCo VinesEntertainment3,440,000$81,700
🇵🇰 PakistanKitchen with AmnaHow To3,420,000$101,700
🇵🇼 PalauAnanda KellyHow To3,300$26
🇹🇼 TaiwanTGOP (This Group Of People)Entertainment3,260,000$15,300
🇯🇴 JordanRozzahEntertainment3,210,000$38,200
🇪🇪 EstoniaLife of BorisEntertainment3,040,000$56,200
🇨🇭 SwitzerlandLE GRAND JDEntertainment3,020,000$65,300
🇨🇲 CameroonBYSNESS Comédie ClubComedy292,000$7,300
🇱🇨 Saint LuciaThe Dating GuruHow To28,000$32
🇱🇮 Liechtensteincaracol3000News27,200$818
🇰🇵 North KoreaMaking ASMRHow To260,000$15
🇸🇹 Sao Tome and PrincipeAnrita MelchizedekEducation25,300$95
🇨🇦 CanadaVanossGamingGaming25,100,000$429,000
🇹🇹 Trinidad and TobagoCertified sampsonComedy241,000$19,400
🇮🇪 Ireland (Republic of)jacksepticeyeGaming24,300,000$991,700
🇮🇩 IndonesiaAtta HalilintarEntertainment24,100,000$218,900
🇨🇬 Congo (Republic of the)ASTUCES NATURELLES - DR KOLOEducation230,000$1,300
🇩🇲 DominicaChanel Raphael.People & Blogs23,500$1,900
🇬🇩 GrenadaLaura FordeHow To23,200$611
🇺🇿 UzbekistanJasur HamroyevPeople & Blogs220,000$2,000
🇮🇳 IndiaCarryMinatiComedy22,700,000$66,100
🇦🇪 United Arab EmiratesshfaKids22,200,000$287,200
🇹🇯 TajikistanShava TuBePeople & Blogs215,000$674
🇱🇺 LuxembourgLuxGamerGaming215,000$269
🇦🇫 AfghanistanTech ZaadaTech206,000$8,100
🇨🇻 Cape VerdeFred walkthroughGaming203,000$1,800
🇹🇩 ChadtwifacetubeEntertainment20,100$130
🇧🇾 BelarusA4Entertainment20,000,000$2,210,000
🇬🇧 Ireland (Northern)Adam BPeople & Blogs2,930,0000$47,600
🇾🇪 Yemenصدام العزيEntertainment2,890,0000$92,000
🇨🇿 Czech RepublicViralBrothersEntertainment2,780,000$7,800
🇱🇷 Liberiaمهووس عضلات/كمال الاجسامHow To2,770,000$136,900
🇸🇰 SlovakiaPeter PlutaXHow To2,700,000$169,000
🇲🇹 MaltaGrandayyEntertainment2,690,000$133,300
🇳🇮 NicaraguaJR INNComedy2,670,000$65,200
🇭🇰 Hong KongEmi WongPeople & Blogs2,540,000$42,700
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 ScotlandMike BoydEntertainment2,440,000$31,500
🇲🇩 MoldovaGurinelTVKids2,410,000$460,700
🇬🇷 GreeceKM MusicEntertainment2,260,000$317,100
🇵🇾 ParaguayTÍO RICZEREntertainment2,200,000$15,600
🇱🇹 LithuaniaMaria OMGEntertainment2,160,000$128,100
🇴🇲 Omanقرية العجائبEntertainment2,150,000$13,000
🇱🇧 LebanonLaila MouradEntertainment2,140,000$7,200
🇧🇬 BulgariaBodil40Gaming2,030,000$14,800
🇰🇲 ComorosVallenatos En Vivo OficialEntertainment199,000$152
🇭🇹 HaitiKomedyen Lakay OfficialComedy197,000$4,300
🇦🇴 AngolaShiryuAmigo龍Comedy196,000$316
🇲🇱 MaliMS2A FUNNYComedy195,000$5,600
🇨🇫 Central African RepublicTHE TRUE ROYAL FAMILYEducation19,700$311
🇦🇷 ArgentinaDrossRotzankEntertainment19,600,000$131,100
🇩🇪 GermanyHaerteTestEntertainment18,900,000$25,600
🇲🇺 MauritiusIkhlaas MJEntertainment170,000$34,900
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiammoshayaEntertainment17,300,000$913,300
🇺🇦 UkraineSlivkiShowEntertainment16,900,000$620,200
🇧🇮 BurundiGasore Ismael ComedienComedy16,400$429
🇦🇺 AustraliaCKN ToysKids15,400,000$838,700
🇸🇷 SurinameSRJ MusikMusic146,000$820
🇫🇷 FranceSQUEEZIEEntertainment14,700,000$325,200
🇮🇷 IranKhanAga Alireza Alibabaei JabbariEntertainment138,000$63
🇷🇺 RussiaTheBrianMapsEntertainment13,900,000$126,900
🇰🇷 South KoreaBoram Tube ToysReview [보람튜브 토이리뷰]Kids13,800,000$13,400
🇹🇭 ThailandKaykai SalaiderEntertainment13,600,000$194,600
🇳🇱 NetherlandsNikkieTutorialsBeauty & Style13,400,000$90,500
🇵🇪 PeruShidory DrawblogsEntertainment13,300,000$195,900
🇹🇷 TurkeyEnes BaturEntertainment13,100,000$1,120,000
🇵🇭 PhilippinesRanz KyleEntertainment12,000,000$52,400
🇲🇲 MyanmarkhunThinmg paoComedy119,000$4,800
🇬🇦 GabonXavier HUBERT-BRIERRENature113,000$7,000
🇨🇴 ColombiaAmi RodriguezEntertainment11,700,000$244,000
🇬🇲 The GambiaebrohaughPeople & Blogs11,400$159
🇨🇳 China李子柒 LiziqiHow To11,100,000$810,000
🇷🇼 RwandaShangazi Emma-ClaudinePeople & Blogs108,000$2,900
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EnglandPewDiePieEntertainment105,000,000$1,160,000
🇲🇷 MauritaniaINFOS AABDTech102,000$236
🇳🇴 NorwaySaraBeautyCorner - DIY, Comedy, Makeup, Nail ArtBeauty & Style10,600,000$100,900
🇪🇨 EcuadorDoc TopsEntertainment10,500,000$307,500
🇰🇮 KiribatiTV WULKAN - లొఽథటలలొప్రఠఽరగల్వEntertainment10,200$2
🇱🇸 LesothoOmnia StarsHow To1,900$2
🇭🇺 HungaryR3D 1Entertainment1,990,000$56,200
🇰🇭 CambodiafanKIDEntertainment1,940,000$38,000
🇱🇻 LatviaLittle Movies Games & FunGaming1,940,000$19,800
🇳🇵 NepalTattato KhabarNews1,850,000$69,800
🇬🇹 GuatemalaJexsComedy1,810,000$102,000
🇿🇦 South AfricamorecasparEntertainment1,750,000$205
🇨🇮 Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)video whatsapptubeEntertainment1,700,000$5,100
🇨🇷 Costa RicaGermán RodezelEntertainment1,690,000$13,600
🇧🇴 BoliviaEdson FDBGaming1,640,000$48,800
🇶🇦 QatarKareemtime OfficialComedy1,530,000$40,000
🇧🇦 Bosnia and HerzegovinaOmcoComedy1,480,000$227,000
🇲🇨 MonacoJon OlssonPeople & Blogs1,470,000$24,900
🇿🇲 ZambiaCartoon ClubKids1,440,000$3,400
🇱🇰 Sri LankaApé AmmaPeople & Blogs1,430,000$94,500
🇦🇲 ArmeniaArin أرينEntertainment1,410,000$145,500
🇰🇿 KazakhstanEkaterina SaibelPeople & Blogs1,310,000$20,600
🇭🇳 Hondurasmúsicos Cínicos 鯉Music1,270,000$139,600
🇭🇷 CroatiaDoctor DSAutos1,260,000$86,400
🇸🇳 SenegalHussein and Zeinab.Kids1,230,000$184,700
🇺🇬 UgandaMasaka Kids AfrikanaKids1,140,000$103,600
🇰🇬 KyrgyzstanСань ЯньKids1,140,000$475
🇸🇾 SyriaOtakuGamer - أوتاكو قيمرGaming1,130,000$114,900
🇸🇿 Swaziland (Eswatini)OuSSama MiZaniEntertainment779n/a

*Note: Estimated earnings were calculated via NoxInfluencer. Actual earnings may vary.

As mentioned earlier, the world’s most popular YouTuber is Swedish-born vlogger PewDiePie. He’s well known for his “Let’s Play” videos, which document him playing various video games. PewDiePie joined YouTube in 2010, and has now amassed 105 million subscribers. While he’s based in England, his channel is registered under the United States.

It’s worth noting the vast discrepancies between certain countries. For example, while the U.S.’s most popular YouTuber, Like Nastya boasts 57 million subscribers, Eswatini’s top vlogger, OuSSama MiZani has less than 800. Clearly, some markets are more saturated than others.

Categories, Ranked by Popularity

Geography isn’t the only factor that impacts popularity—the type of content is important as well. Which 10 categories do the top earning YouTubers fall into?

RankCategoryNumber of Top Earning YouTubers
1Entertainment72
2Gaming25
3How To18
4Comedy16
5Kids15
6People & Blogs14
7Education5
8Music5
9Tech4
10Beauty & Style3

Not surprisingly, the most popular category is entertainment, which has 72 of the top earning YouTubers. Some of the biggest YouTube personalities fall under this category, such as PewDiePie and Chilean YouTuber HolaSoyGerman, who has 41 million subscribers.

The second most popular category is gaming, which has 25 of YouTube’s top earners. Some big names in this category include Ireland’s jacksepticeye with 24.7 million subscribers, and Canada’s VanossGaming, who has 25.2 million.

In third place are “How To” videos—18 of the 187 top earners fall into this category. Life Hacks & Experiments is the most popular YouTuber in this group, with 8.3 million subscribers.

Categories, Ranked by Earnings

Here’s the highest earning YouTuber on this list for each category.

RankCategoryTop Earner in CategoryEst. Monthly Earnings   
1KidsLike Nastya$7.73M
2EntertainmentA4$2.21M
3Gamingjacksepticeye$991.7K
4How To李子柒 Liziqi$810.0K
5People & Blogsقناة منوعات الكوميدية العراقيه$593.0K
6ComedyMarkAngelComedy$326.8K
7SportsFabio Wibmer$317.0K
8Beauty & StyleNarins Beauty$203.3K
9NatureJamal alimwase ـ جمال العمواسي$89.1K
10EducationBe Inspired$86.5K
11AutoDoctor DS$86.4K
12NewsTattato Khabar$69.8K
13TechTech Zaada$8.1K
14MusicBalanbaalis Studio$1.5K

When ranked by monthly earnings, the kids category comes in at first place. Six-year-old Like Nastya makes an estimated $7.73 million per month—that’s over 5 million more than the second ranking category, which is entertainment. The third most lucrative category is gaming, with the highest earner, jacksepticeye grossing an estimated $990,000 a month.

It’s important to note that figures are estimates of each YouTuber’s ad revenue, so it doesn’t account for corporate sponsorships, merchandise sales, or any fan donations.

So for all we know, these influencers could be making even more money. If that doesn’t inspire you to start posting amateur videos on YouTube, we don’t know what will.

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Misc

The Top 10 Largest Nuclear Explosions, Visualized

Just how powerful are nuclear bombs? Here’s a look at the top 10 largest nuclear explosions.

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infographic comparing the top 10 largest nuclear explosions

The Top 10 Largest Nuclear Explosions, Visualized

Just how powerful are nuclear explosions?

The U.S.’ Trinity test in 1945, the first-ever nuclear detonation, released around 19 kilotons of explosive energy. The explosion instantly vaporized the tower it stood on and turned the surrounding sand into green glass, before sending a powerful heatwave across the desert.

As the Cold War escalated in the years after WWII, the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested bombs that were at least 500 times greater in explosive power. This infographic visually compares the 10 largest nuclear explosions in history.

The Anatomy of a Nuclear Explosion

After exploding, nuclear bombs create giant fireballs that generate a blinding flash and a searing heatwave. The fireball engulfs the surrounding air, getting larger as it rises like a hot air balloon.

As the fireball and heated air rise, they are flattened by cooler, denser air high up in the atmosphere, creating the mushroom “cap” structure. At the base of the cloud, the fireball causes physical destruction by sending a shockwave moving outwards at thousands of miles an hour.

anatomy of a nuclear explosion's mushroom cloud

A strong updraft of air and dirt particles through the center of the cloud forms the “stem” of the mushroom cloud. In most atomic explosions, changing atmospheric pressure and water condensation create rings that surround the cloud, also known as Wilson clouds.

Over time, the mushroom cloud dissipates. However, it leaves behind radioactive fallout in the form of nuclear particles, debris, dust, and ash, causing lasting damage to the local environment. Because the particles are lightweight, global wind patterns often distribute them far beyond the place of detonation.

With this context in mind, here’s a look at the 10 largest nuclear explosions.

#10: Ivy Mike (1952)

In 1952, the U.S. detonated the Mike device—the first-ever hydrogen bomb—as part of Operation Ivy. Hydrogen bombs rely on nuclear fusion to amplify their explosions, producing much more explosive energy than atomic bombs that use nuclear fission.

Weighing 140,000 pounds (63,500kg), the Ivy Mike test generated a yield of 10,400 kilotons, equivalent to the explosive power of 10.4 million tons of TNT. The explosion was 700 times more powerful than Little Boy, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

#9: Castle Romeo (1954)

Castle Romeo was part of the Operation Castle series of U.S. nuclear tests taking place on the Marshall Islands. Shockingly, the U.S. was running out of islands to conduct tests, making Romeo the first-ever test conducted on a barge in the ocean.

At 11,000 kilotons, the test produced more than double its predicted explosive energy of 4,000 kilotons. Its fireball, as seen below, is one of the most iconic images ever captured of a nuclear explosion.

iconic image of the castle romeo nuclear explosion of 1954

#8: Soviet Test #123 (1961)

Test #123 was one of the 57 tests conducted by the Soviet Union in 1961. Most of these tests were conducted on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in Northwestern Russia. The bomb yielded 12,500 kilotons of explosive energy, enough to vaporize everything within a 2.1 mile (3.5km) radius.

#7: Castle Yankee (1954)

Castle Yankee was the fifth test in Operation Castle. The explosion marked the second-most powerful nuclear test by the U.S.

It yielded 13,500 kilotons, much higher than the predicted yield of up to 10,000 kilotons. Within four days of the blast, its fallout reached Mexico City, roughly 7,100 miles (11,400km) away.

#6: Castle Bravo (1954)

Castle Bravo, the first of the Castle Operation series, accidentally became the most powerful nuclear bomb tested by the U.S.

Due to a design error, the explosive energy from the bomb reached 15,000 kilotons, two and a half times what was expected. The mushroom cloud climbed up to roughly 25 miles (40km).

As a result of the test, an area of 7,000 square miles was contaminated, and inhabitants of nearby atolls were exposed to high levels of radioactive fallout. Traces of the blast were found in Australia, India, Japan, and Europe.

#5, #4, #3: Soviet Tests #173, #174, #147 (1962)

In 1962, the Soviet Union conducted 78 nuclear tests, three of which produced the fifth, fourth, and third-most powerful explosions in history. Tests #173, #174, and #147 each yielded around 20,000 kilotons. Due to the absolute secrecy of these tests, no photos or videos have been released.

#2: Soviet Test #219 (1962)

Test #219 was an atmospheric nuclear test carried out using an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with the bomb exploding at a height of 2.3 miles (3.8km) above sea level. It was the second-most powerful nuclear explosion, with a yield of 24,200 kilotons and a destructive radius of ~25 miles (41km).

#1: Tsar Bomba (1961)

Tsar Bomba, also called Big Ivan, needed a specially designed plane because it was too heavy to carry on conventional aircraft. The bomb was attached to a giant parachute to give the plane time to fly away.

The explosion, yielding 50,000 kilotons, obliterated an abandoned village 34 miles (55km) away and generated a 5.0-5.25 magnitude earthquake in the surrounding region. Initially, it was designed as a 100,000 kiloton bomb, but its yield was cut to half its potential by the Soviet Union. Tsar Bomba’s mushroom cloud breached through the stratosphere to reach a height of over 37 miles (60km), roughly six times the flying height of commercial aircraft.

The two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had devastating consequences, and their explosive yields were only a fraction of the 10 largest explosions. The power of modern nuclear weapons makes their scale of destruction truly unfathomable, and as history suggests, the outcomes can be unpredictable.

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Politics

Mapped: The State of Global Democracy in 2022

We map the state of global democracy, as the Democracy Index hits its lowest point since the inception of the index in 2006.

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Mapped: The State of Democracy Around the World

The world’s (almost) eight billion people live under a wide variety of political and cultural circumstances. In broad terms, those circumstances can be measured and presented on a sliding scale between “free” and “not free”—the subtext being that democracy lies on one end, and authoritarianism on the other.

This year’s Democracy Index report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), is one such attempt to apply a score to countries based on how closely they measure up to democratic ideals.

According to EIU, the state of democracy is at its lowest point since the index began in 2006, blamed in part on the pandemic restrictions that saw many countries struggling to balance public health with personal freedom.

In this year’s report, the EIU reported a drop of the average global score from 5.37 to 5.28, the biggest drop since 2010 after the global financial crisis. This translates into a sobering fact: only 46% of the population is living in a democracy “of some sort.”

Let’s dive a bit deeper into what this means.

Percentage of Population by Regime Type

In 2021, 37% of the world’s population still lived under an authoritarian regime. Afghanistan tops this list, followed by Myanmar, North Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Syria. Of course, China has a big share of the population living under this style of regime.

On the other side of the spectrum we have full democracies, which only account for 6.4% of the population. Norway tops this list, followed by New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland.

Regime TypeNo. of CountriesShare of countriesShare of World Population
Full democracies2112.6%6.4%
Flawed democracies5331.7%39.3%
Hybrid Regimes3420.4%17.2%
Authoritarian regimes5935.3%37.1%

Let’s explore the characteristics of each of the four types of regime according to the EIU:

Full democracies are nations where:

  • Civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are respected
  • Valid systems of governmental checks and balances exist
  • There are limited problems in democratic functioning
  • Media is diverse and independent

Flawed democracies are nations where:

  • Elections are fair and free
  • Basic liberties are honored but may have issues
  • There are issues in the functioning of governance

Hybrid regimes are nations where:

  • Electoral fraud or irregularities occur regularly
  • Pressure is applied to political opposition
  • Corruption is widespread and rule of law tends to be weak
  • Media is pressured and harassed
  • There are issues in the functioning of governance

Authoritarian regimes are nations where:

  • Political pluralism is nonexistent or limited
  • The population is ruled by absolute monarchies or dictatorships
  • Infringements and abuses of civil liberties are common
  • Elections are not fair or free (if they occur at all)
  • Media is state-owned or controlled directly or indirectly by the ruling regime
  • The judiciary system is not independent
  • Criticism of the government is censored

Global Democracy Index by Region

As mentioned earlier, in 2021, the global democracy score declined from 5.37 to 5.28. This was driven by a decline in the average regional score, but every region has a different reality. Let’s take a look at the democratic state of each region in the world.

Americas

North America (Canada and U.S.) is the top-ranked region in the Democracy Index with an average score of 8.36, but this dropped significantly from 8.58 in 2020.

Both countries have dropped their positions in the global ranking, however, Canada still maintains the status as a full democracy.

map showing democracy index measuring political regimes in north and south america

The U.S. is still classified by EIU as a flawed democracy, and has been since 2016. The report points to extreme polarization and “gerrymandering” as key issues facing the country. On the bright side, political participation in the U.S. is still very robust compared with the rest of the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the largest decline in regional scores in the world. This region dropped from 6.09 in 2020 to 5.83 in 2021. This decline shows the general discontent of the population about how their governments have handled the pandemic.

In this region, the only country that falls under a full democracy is Costa Rica. On the other side of the spectrum, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba fall under the authoritarian regime classification.

Europe

In 2021, Western Europe is the region with the most full democracies in the world.

In fact, four out of the top five full democracies are in this region: Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. A notable downgrade in this region happened in Spain; the country is now considered a flawed democracy.

map showing democracy index measuring political regimes in europe

Eastern Europe paints a different picture, where there is not a single full democracy. Three countries (Moldova, Montenegro, and North Macedonia) were upgraded from being considered hybrid regimes to flawed democracies.

Ukraine’s score declined to 5.57, becoming a hybrid region. Russia’s score also declined to 3.24 keeping the authoritarian regime status. It’s important to note that this report by the EIU was published before the invasion of Ukraine began, and the conflict will almost certainly impact scores in next year’s report.

Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has the most countries at the bottom of the Democracy Index rankings.

The fact is that 23 countries are considered “authoritarian regimes”. Meanwhile, there are 14 countries that are hybrid regimes, six countries under flawed democracy, and only one country, Mauritius, is considered a full democracy.

map showing democracy index measuring political regimes in africa

In North Africa, four countries are considered authoritarian regimes: Sudan, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria. Only Morocco and Tunisia fall into the hybrid regime classification.

Middle East and Central Asia

This region concentrates a substantial number of countries classified as authoritarian regimes. In fact, the region’s overall democracy score is now lower than what it was before the start of the Arab Spring in 2010.

map showing democracy index measuring political regimes in the middle east

There are no countries falling under the category of full democracy in this region. Only Israel (7.97) and Cyprus (7.43) are considered flawed democracies. Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Pakistan fall under the category of hybrid regimes, and the rest of the countries in the region are considered authoritarian regimes.

East Asia and Oceania

This is broad region is full of contrasts. Aside from Western Europe, East Asia and Oceania contains the most full democracies: New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, and Japan. There are also a high number of countries that fall under the category of flawed democracies.

map showing democracy index measuring political regimes in east asia and oceania

It’s worth noting that some of the most contentious geopolitical relationships are between neighbors with big differences in their scores: China and Taiwan, or North and South Korea are examples of this juxtaposition.

Decline in Global Democracy Levels

Two years after the world got hit by the pandemic, we can see that global democracy is in a downward trend.

Every region’s global score experienced a drop, with the exception of Western Europe, which remained flat. Out of the 167 countries, 74 (44%) experienced a decline in their democracy score.

As pandemic restrictions continue to be lifted, will democracy make a comeback in 2022?

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