People in Poverty, then and now

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Above is two snapshots of the number of people living in extreme poverty for various countries around the world. Countries are colored by the geographic region they are in — East Asia & Pacific, South Asia, etc. The first snapshot is from 1993 and the other is 20 years later in 2013. What is striking the decrease in extreme poverty in China and for the East Asia/Pacific region generally. For a comparison, China and India have comparable population 1.4 billion and 1.3 billion respectively — however, China has been much more successful in lifting a much larger proportion of its citizens out of poverty; presumably due to double-digit GDP growth year after year over this period.

Another comparison: Africa has a population of 1.2 billion, again comparable in size to both India and China. Yet, the number of people in extreme poverty has actually increased over the past 20 years with the largest gains coming from Nigeria (Africa’s most populous country) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Economic growth numbers are typically hard to come by for many countries in Africa due to a large proportion of the workforce working in the informal economy (black market). Although, the poverty numbers (shown above) and the GDP per capita estimates (shown below) seem to indicate that African’s experienced negative GDP per capita growth throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s.

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World Urbanization Prospects 2014

The following are highlights from the World Urbanization Prospects 2014 report published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

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Globally, 54% of the world population lives in an urban area with at least 500k people. (note: urban in purple, rural in grey) The world has become more urban over time and is projected to continue.

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Urbanization differs across regions, with North American and Europe being the most urbanized — Africa and Asia least urbanized.

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High-income countries tend to be more urban (80%) than low-income countries (30%) — implying that urbanization and development are related

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Urbanized areas are displayed below in various groups (ranging from small cities to megacities) for the years 1990, 2014, and projected 2030.

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Urbanized areas (500k+ population) in 2014 are displayed on the map below

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Other interesting notes:

Africa and Asia are home to 90% of the worlds rural population and have the lowest rate of urbanization by content 40% and 48%.

China, India, and Nigeria will account for 37% of urban pop growth between now and 2050.

One in eight people live in one of the world’s 28 megacities (10m+ pop)

Link to the full report here: https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/publications/files/wup2014-highlights.pdf

Github Users 2017

Github is the world’s largest host of source code in the world with more than 57 million repositories. The site also has 26 million users as of March 2017. Software engineers and programmers actively use Gitbub to post projects and to collaborate in teams using versions control. It’s interesting to ask where do these programmers live – who and where is the user base on the site?

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The map above displays the percentage of Github users by country and commits per country. The United States comprises 31% of Github’s users and 35% of Github commits. The next largest country is the United Kingdom with 6% of users and 7% of commits. Followed by Germany (5%, 6%) and China (6%, 5%). The top ten countries compose 70% of the users and over 70% of the commits. They are: US, UK, Germany, China, France, Brazil, Canada, India, Russia, and Japan.

Ageing Population in Developed Countries

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In 2015, the percentage of the population 65+ years old in OECD countries was 28%, this figure is expected to rise to over 50% by 2050. The graphic above display where each country stands or the population projects in the next 40 years. Japan, Italy, and Greece are already the oldest countries with 46%, 37%, and 35% of their population over 65 years old (in 2015), by 2050 these countries are projected to continue to lead with 78%, 75%, and 73% respectively. This is amazing to imagine. Think about it, Japan in 2050 with nearly 80% of its population over 65 years old. What will a country like that look like?

On the other end of the spectrum in the OCED – Mexico and Turkey are looking stable with only 35% and 37% of their population above 65 years old. This figure is approximately already what the average OCED country is at. The US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all look stable with a healthy inflow of immigrants that aid in slowing the growth in elderly people as a fraction of the overall population. Side note: South Korea is projected to undertake the most drastic population change. It is currently one of the youngest countries in the OCED, but in 40 years it will be among the oldest – moving from 19% of its population over 65 to over 70% by 2050.

California and Canada

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Did you know that California (39 million) has more population than Canada (36 million)? The map above displays the area comparison and map below shows how Canada’s population would fit into California. For example, most Canada’s population is concentrated in the two provinces of Ontario and Quebec – these provinces have approximately the same population of southern California. Even though Canada has an area larger than the entire United States, its population can fit into California with room to spare. Side note: California also has a substantially larger economy with a 2.6 trillion nominal GDP compared to 1.5 trillion for Canada (2017).

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Europe GDP per Capita (PPP) 2017

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Above is a map of Europe displaying whether a country has a GDP per capita less than or greater than Turkey. The data is from the IMF in Oct 2017. Turkey has a GDP per capita of $24,912 at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The data displays the income divide Europe where all of western Europe and Russia (labeled in Blue) have a higher standard of living than Turkey and most the former USSR and former Yugoslavia countries (labeled Red) have a lower standard of living than Turkey. The income differences help to explain some of the internal migration within Europe.

Coke, Soda, or Pop

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The United States has various regional quirks, one of which is what do you call a carbonated soft drink. Where I grew up in Ohio, we called it a Pop. As in, can you give me a pop? When I moved to South Carolina, I noticed that everyone referred to it as a ‘Coke’ – even if they were talking about another soft drink. Now where I live in California, it’s called a Soda.

Religion in China

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China is a large and diverse country with stark geographic differences. One particular regional difference is religion. The Communist Party of China is officially atheist and party members are strongly discouraged from holding religious faith, however, China does officially sanction five religious organizations – Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestant Christianity, and Catholicism (the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is not recognized by the Vatican). Above are six maps of China, each showing the regional concentration of the largest faiths in China. The northwestern desert region is Islamic, the southwestern mountainous region is Buddhist, the northeast is Chinese folk religions, and the southeast Taoist.

The above maps may be a little misleading as they display the percentage for various religions, but the scale on each map is different and the population in the western provinces are much smaller than the eastern ones. For example, the Christianity scale only goes up to 7% (for the darkest shade) whereas Buddhism reaches a high of 70% and Islam 50%. Overall, the majority of Chinese are unaffiliated with any religion or practice some ancient folk religion (73% of the population). The other major religions are Buddhism 16%, Taoism 7%, Christianity 2%, and Islam 0.5%.

Africa Birth Rate

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No continent in the world outside of Africa averages more than 2.5 children per women – Africa averages 5! A society or country will remain at the same population level if it remains at the replacement level – 2.1 children per women – below this point, the location’s population is decreasing. Africa’s rate of 5 children per women is well above the replacement level, if fact, at this rate the continent will double in population in the next 30 years. As shown in the map of above, much of this growth is happening between Sub-Saharan Africa and north of southern Africa.

It also important to note the differences in birth rates intra-country. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with 185 million people and is the 7th largest in the world. Its fertility rate is 5.5 children per women which is the highest rate for any country already above 100 million people. The fertility rate is not evenly distributed (as pictured below) with a high rate of 8.4 children per women in rural northern regions compared with 3.8 in coastal urbanized areas. A staggering statistic is that: According to 2013 data, approximately 17% of Zamfara state’s women (the highest figure of 8.4 on this map) are currently pregnant!oeyem8ltks5z.png