That's Gross: the Four Worlds of Income Inequality
Based on World Bank data, Global Finance magazine recently subdivided the world into four income groups. And here are the maps that illustrate the point.
Do you remember the Third World? That's the Cold War term devised by the West (the First World, obviously) for those countries unaligned with either itself or the Communist bloc (the Second World). There also used to be a Fourth World – the term for underprivileged groups within the First World.
And then of course the Soviet Union collapsed, taking with it to the dustbin of history this neat numerical subdivision of the world.
But here's another way to quarter the world. Based on World Bank data, Global Finance magazine recently subdivided the world into four income groups.
Low-income countries have an annual per capita Gross National Income (GNI) of no more than $1,045. Anywhere between that figure and $4,125, and you're lower-middle-income. Increase that to any figure up to $12,745, and you're earning an upper middle income. High-income countries have an annual per capita GNI of $12,746 and over.
The good folks at Howmuch.net poured all that data into four maps, with four colours that add a bit of unexpected illumination to the world.
Most of North America is green; that's because the U.S. and Canada fall into the high-income category. The Bahamas adds the only other dash of green to the map. The only country on the other side of the scale is Haiti, in red: the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. All the others fall into the yellow category – upper middle income.
Small is beautiful, or at least rich: in South America, Chile and Uruguay are the only two countries in the high-income category. Bigger countries like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela are are upper-middle income. But the poorest seven countries on this map are also relatively small. Bolivia and Paraguay have the excuse of being landlocked, but Guyana is poorer than all of its neighbours, while Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua form a scrum of relative poverty in Central America.
The European map is especially interesting, as it shows which former Communist countries have managed to lift themselves up to a living standard approximating that of the West. The Baltics, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia have all joined the green club. Greece also is still a member, surprisingly. The rest of former Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania fall into upper-middle-income limbo. So does Hungary, which is also a bit of a surprise: weren't they the first Communist country to experiment with market reforms? Snarky retort: perhaps they succeeded a bit too well. Turkey, Belarus and Azerbaijan are also a member of the yellow club.
Europe's Haiti is Moldova – the continent's poorest cousin. But still, in the orange club instead of the red one. Other members are Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. I wouldn't have thought things were as bad as that in Ukraine. Or as relatively good as that in Belarus.
Asia's green club members are all peripheral: Russia, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. Its poorest countries are rather more centrally located: Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia and North Korea – the DMZ between both Koreas is the only border where a country in the richest club meets one in the poorest club.
Despite years of war and bloodshed, Iraq is member of the upper-middle-income club, showing how relative the average per capita GNI is as a measure of actual wealth. Other members of the yellow club include Iran, Kazakhstan and China. All are richer than India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines, prominent members of the orange club.
Despite all the optimism about Africa's economic future, there's precious little green on the Mother Continent. In fact, Equatorial Guinea is the only green bit – its reputation as a kleptocracy doesn't bode well for the even spread of that wealth. They don't call it Equitable Guinea, do they? With poverty still rampant across the continent, the only glimmers of hope are the eight members of the yellow (upper-middle-income) club: Algeria, Tunisia and Libya (really, Libya?) in the north, Gabon in the middle and South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Botswana in the south.
Oceania is mainly green, thanks to Australia and New Zealand (and New Caledonia, piggybacking on France's green rating). For the rest, Fiji is an island of yellow in a sea of orange (PNG, the Solomons, Vanuatu and Samoa).
Strange Maps #773
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.