The American slice of the global GDP pie is shrinking - and this map proves it.
Thirty years ago, the U.S. accounted for about a third of global economic output. Today, it's halfway between a quarter and a fifth. The decline is relative — due in large part to the rise of other economies, notably China's, which trebled over the same period from close to 5 percent back then to around 15 percent now. And, as this Voronoi diagram (1) shows, the American slice is still by far the biggest one.
Of course, there are several ways to measure GDP, and I'm not sure when this particular snapshot was taken. One could argue that China's share should be bigger by now, or that it has already overtaken the U.S. It certainly has for industrial output — the middle of the three shades contained within each slide. The U.S. is overwhelmingly a service-based economy (darker shade), with a relatively small contribution by the agricultural sector (lighter shade).
But the point of this cartogram is that it offers the advantage of an at-a-glance overview that is typical for maps, and lacking in mere lists. Here, for comparison, is the ranking of the 38 economies shown on this map:
The map shows even more clearly than the above list how the economic power of the European Union, listed here as separate member states, adds up. It's immediately apparent that the German, British, French, and Italian slices together are bigger than Japan's, and even China's. In fact, those four alone amount to 15.8 percent. Add the other eight member states on the list, and the E.U. slice (22.41 percent) is almost as big as the U.S. one. Since there are 16 more European Union members hidden in the Rest of the World slice (8.80 percent), the European Union's share of this diagram is probably slightly bigger than the U.S. one.
Strange Maps #747
(1) For more Voronoi joy, see #657.