Mapping the World’s Youngest and Oldest Countries
Country age demographics are determined by two key factors: fertility and mortality.
Throughout history, it was typical to see both birth and death rates at higher levels. But today, in most parts of the world, women are having fewer children, and innovations in healthcare and technology mean we are all living longer. The average person today lives to 72.6 years old, while the rate of births per woman has fallen to 2.5.
These trends have drastically altered the demographics of mature economies, resulting in a much older population. In many developing countries, however, births still outweigh deaths, resulting in populations that skew younger.
This visualization uses data from the World Bank to examine the countries with the highest shares of old and young people.
The Fountain of Youth
By 2030, the United Nations estimates there will be 1.3 billion people on the planet between the ages of 15-24. Proving to be a fountain of youth globally, the continent of Africa boasts the top 10 countries with the largest shares of young people in the world.
Somalia, Zambia, and the DRC are just a few to crack the top 10 list. The youngest country in the world is Niger, where almost 50% of the population is below the age of 15.
Here’s a full list of global countries, sorted by percentage of population under 15 years old:
|Country||Share of Population Younger Than 15 (% of total, 2019)|
|🇨🇩 Congo, Dem. Rep.||46.0%|
|🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||44.7%|
|🇬🇲 The Gambia||44.1%|
|🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||42.1%|
|🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire||41.7%|
|🇸🇸 South Sudan||41.6%|
|🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||40.7%|
|🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||40.1%|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||37.0%|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||35.5%|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||29.0%|
|🇨🇻 Cape Verde||28.4%|
|🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||27.7%|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||26.9%|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||24.9%|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||24.0%|
|🇵🇫 French Polynesia||22.6%|
|🇳🇨 New Caledonia||22.4%|
|🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines||22.2%|
|🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||22.0%|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||21.1%|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||20.3%|
|🇰🇵 North Korea||20.0%|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||19.6%|
|🇻🇮 U.S. Virgin Islands||19.5%|
|🇺🇸 United States||18.5%|
|🇱🇨 St. Lucia||18.2%|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||17.7%|
|🇲🇰 North Macedonia||16.4%|
|🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||16.3%|
|🇨🇿 Czech Republic||15.7%|
|🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||14.7%|
|🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||14.7%|
|🇲🇴 Macao SAR, China||14.0%|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||12.7%|
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR, China||12.3%|
Young countries have significant opportunities ahead of them. A younger population means a larger upcoming workforce and more opportunities for innovation and economic growth.
While domestic markets in Africa grow in terms of labor supply, innovation, and potential consumers, there are also challenges that arise in these countries. Corruption, political instability and unemployment, particularly in Africa, are all potential barriers to prosperity for the continent’s Gen Z population.
Populations Skewing Older
The world’s oldest country is Japan, where 28% of the population is older than 65. However, it’s an anomaly—the rest of the oldest countries in the top 10 are all in Europe.
Globally, it’s the 65+ age group that is growing the fastest. According to the same UN estimates, it is predicted that by 2050 that one in six people will be over 65 years old.
Here’s a full list of global countries, sorted by percentage of population over 65 years old:
|Country||Share of Population Older Than 65 (% of total, 2019)|
|🇻🇮 U.S. Virgin Islands||19.8%|
|🇨🇿 Czech Republic||19.8%|
|🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||19.6%|
|🇬🇧 United Kingdom||18.5%|
|🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR, China||17.4%|
|🇧🇦 Bosnia and Herzegovina||17.2%|
|🇺🇸 United States||16.2%|
|🇳🇿 New Zealand||15.9%|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||15.0%|
|🇲🇰 North Macedonia||14.0%|
|🇲🇴 Macao SAR, China||11.2%|
|🇹🇹 Trinidad and Tobago||11.1%|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||10.8%|
|🇱🇨 St. Lucia||10.0%|
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||9.8%|
|🇻🇨 St. Vincent and the Grenadines||9.7%|
|🇳🇨 New Caledonia||9.4%|
|🇰🇵 North Korea||9.2%|
|🇦🇬 Antigua and Barbuda||9.0%|
|🇵🇫 French Polynesia||8.6%|
|🇸🇻 El Salvador||8.4%|
|🇩🇴 Dominican Republic||7.2%|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||5.4%|
|🇨🇻 Cape Verde||4.6%|
|🇸🇧 Solomon Islands||3.6%|
|🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||3.5%|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||3.4%|
|🇸🇸 South Sudan||3.3%|
|🇨🇩 Democratic Republic of the Congo||3.0%|
|🇸🇹 Sao Tome and Principe||2.9%|
|🇸🇱 Sierra Leone||2.9%|
|🇨🇮 Cote d'Ivoire||2.8%|
|🇨🇫 Central African Republic||2.8%|
|🇬🇲 The Gambia||2.5%|
|🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea||2.4%|
|🇧🇫 Burkina Faso||2.4%|
|🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||1.1%|
Fewer births, and a resulting older population, is a trend attributed to the changing lifestyles of women. For example, Japan’s fertility rate has fallen to less than 1.5 children per woman due to modern access to contraceptives and the prioritization of work over marriage and family life.
However, fewer young people also means a smaller workforce on the horizon and a shrinking domestic market. There is also a rising social cost of caring for the elderly, as longer lifespans have resulted in a higher prevalence of chronic diseases and an increasing inability to care for oneself. This can result in an increased tax burden on the diminishing younger, working population.
Another Perspective on the Data
Looking at the data from the opposite angle also reveals information about our world. Here’s a look at the countries with the lowest proportions of younger or older people.
Hong Kong and Singapore have some of the lowest fertility rates in the world (1.1), so it’s no surprise to see low numbers of children in their demographic data.
In a country like the United Arab Emirates, the majority of the population is made up of foreign workers, so the number of people in the 65+ age group is extremely low. In the coming decades though, the situation is expected to shift dramatically with one in every five Emiratis residing that age group by 2050.
The Big Picture
While each country has its own unique demographic make up, one thing is clear. As education and wealth levels rise around the world, fertility rates are dropping almost everywhere.
The trend of long life expectancies and fewer births is likely to continue, but young outliers will remain and they present immense economic potential.
Mapped: Distribution of Global GDP by Region
Where does the world’s economic activity take place? This cartogram shows the $94 trillion global economy divided into 1,000 hexagons.
Mapped: The Distribution of Global GDP by Region
Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of goods and services that an economy produces in a given year, but in a global context, it is typically shown using country-level data.
As a result, we don’t often get to see the nuances of the global economy, such as how much specific regions and metro areas contribute to global GDP.
In these cartograms, global GDP has been normalized to a base number of 1,000 in order to show a more regional breakdown of economic activity. Created by Reddit user /BerryBlue_Blueberry, the two maps show the distribution in different ways: by nominal GDP and by GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP).
Before diving in, let us give you some context on how these maps were designed. Each hexagon on the two maps represents 0.1% of the world’s overall GDP.
The number below each region, country or metropolitan area represents the number of hexagons covered by that entity. So in the nominal GDP map, the state of New York represents 20 hexagons (i.e. 2.0% of global GDP), while Munich’s metro area is 3 hexagons (0.3%).
Countries are further broken down based on size. Countries that make up more than 0.95% of global GDP are broken down into subdivisions, while countries that are smaller than 0.1% of GDP are grouped together. Metro areas that account for over 0.25% of global GDP are featured.
Finally, it should be noted that to account for some outdated subdivision participation data, the map creator calculated 2021 estimates for this using the formula: national GDP (2021) x % of subdivision participation (2017-2020).
Nominal vs. PPP
The above map is using nominal data, while the below map accounts for differences in purchasing power (PPP).
Adjusting for PPP takes into account the relative value of currencies and purchasing power in countries around the world. For example, $100 (or its exchange equivalent in Indian rupees) is generally going to be able to buy more in India than it is in the United States.
This is because goods and services are cheaper in India, meaning you can actually purchase more there for the same amount of money.
Anomalies in Global GDP Distribution
Breaking down global GDP distribution into cartograms highlights some interesting anomalies worth considering:
- North America, Europe, and East Asia, with a combined GDP of nearly $75 trillion, make up 80% of the world’s GDP in nominal terms.
- The U.S. State of California accounts for 3.7% of the world’s GDP by itself, which ranks higher than the United Kingdom’s total contribution of 3.3%.
- Canada as a country accounts for 2% of the world’s GDP, which is comparable to the GDP contribution of the Greater Tokyo Area at 2.2%.
- With a GDP of $3 trillion, India’s contribution overshadows the GDP of the whole African continent ($2.6 trillion).
- This visualization highlights the economic might of cities better than a conventional map. One standout example of this is in Ontario, Canada. The Greater Toronto Area completely eclipses the economy of the rest of the province.
Inequality of GDP Distribution
The fact that certain countries generate most of the world’s economic output is reflected in the above cartograms, which resize countries or regions accordingly.
Compared to wealthier nations, emerging economies still account for just a tiny sliver of the pie.
India, for example, accounts for 3.2% of global GDP in nominal terms, even though it contains 17.8% of the world’s population.
That’s why on the nominal map, India is about the same size as France, the United Kingdom, or Japan’s two largest metro areas (Tokyo and Osaka-Kobe)—but of course, these wealthier places have a far higher GDP per capita.
The Top 10 Biggest Companies in Brazil
What drives some of the world’s emerging economies? From natural resources to giant banks, here are the top 10 biggest companies in Brazil.
The Top 10 Biggest Companies in Brazil
In 2009, the at-the-time emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China held their first formal summits as members of BRIC (with South Africa joining in 2010).
Together, BRICS represents 26.7% of the world’s land surface and 41.5% of its population. By GDP ranking, they’re also some of the most powerful economies in the world.
But what drives their economies? We’re highlighting the top 10 biggest companies in each country, starting with Brazil.
What Are the Biggest Public Companies in Brazil?
Brazil isn’t just one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world, it is also an economic powerhouse.
With over 213 million people, Brazil is the sixth most populous country on Earth and the largest in Latin America. It’s also the wealthiest on the continent, with the world’s 12th-largest economy.
Once a colony focused on sugar and gold, Brazil rapidly industrialized in the 20th century. Today, it is a top 10 exporter of industrial steel, with the country’s economic strength coming chiefly from natural resources and financials.
Here are Brazil’s biggest public companies by market capitalization in October 2021:
|Top 10 Companies (October 2021)||Category||Market Cap (USD)|
|Vale||Metals and Mining||$73.03B|
|Petróleo Brasileiro||Oil and Gas||$69.84B|
|Banco Santander Brasil||Financial||$24.70B|
|Rede D’Or Sao Luiz||Hospital||$23.79B|
At the top of the ranking is Vale, a metals and mining giant that is the world’s largest producer of iron ore and nickel. Also the operator of infrastructure including hydroelectricity plants, railroads, and ports, It consistently ranks as the most valuable company in Latin America.
Vale and second-ranking company Petróleo Brasileiro, Brazil’s largest oil producer, were former state-owned corporations that became privatized in the 1990s.
Finance in Brazil’s Top 10 Biggest Companies
Other than former monopolies, the top 10 biggest companies in Brazil highlight the power of the banking sector.
Five of the 10 companies with a market cap above $20 billion are in the financial industry.
They include Itaú Unibanco, the largest bank in the Southern Hemisphere, and Banco Santander Brasil, the Brazilian subsidiary of Spanish finance corp.
Another well-known subsidiary is brewing company Ambev, which produces the majority of the country’s liquors and also bottles and distributes PepsiCo products in much of Latin America. Ambev is an important piece of Belgian drink juggernaut Anheuser-Busch InBev, which is one of the world’s largest 100 companies.
Noticeably missing from the top 10 list are companies in the agriculture sector, as Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of coffee, soybeans, beef, and ethanol. Many multinational corporations have Brazilian subsidiaries or partners for supply chain access, which has recently put a spotlight on Amazon deforestation.
What other companies or industries do you associate with Brazil?
Correction: Two companies listed had errors in their market cap calculations and have been updated. All data is as of October 11, 2021.
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