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World Map, the animated and youtube versions
September 14, 2010 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Which countries have the highest proportion of people living on $1/day? $2/day? $200/day? Which countries have the highest rates of book borrowing? Highest circulation of daily papers? If you just want to see the quick summary in youtube verion of a lot of this data, see the youtube Money video by N.A.S.A.

Worldmapper has plotted numerous categories and sizes the map of the country according to this data.

The short attention-span version of this "Oh my gosh what happened to Paraguay and China you are so big" on NPR

Previously
posted by Wolfster (20 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously.
posted by John Cohen at 8:02 AM on September 14, 2010


Oh, never mind, you knew it was a double.
posted by John Cohen at 8:02 AM on September 14, 2010


I'd like to know how the "living on less than $1 a day" figure is arrived at. How does anyone know that someone is living on less than $1 a day? Is that considered to be the same thing as having less than $365 a year in annual income (which would be very misleading if that were the measure)? Does it include government benefits?
posted by John Cohen at 8:05 AM on September 14, 2010


I'd like to know how the "living on less than $1 a day" figure is arrived at.

Those are always a bit misleading. 8 RMB (yuan) will buy you a lot more food in China than $1 will in the U.S. Though if I recall correctly, the exchange rate holds a lot more accurately for stuff like electronics.
posted by kmz at 8:20 AM on September 14, 2010


8 RMB (yuan) will buy you a lot more food in China than $1 will in the U.S.

Also, not everything is like food. Everyone needs food that costs money. But not everyone needs a dwelling that costs money. Some homes have been fully paid-for long ago. So it's misleading to think "Gee, I'm paying $30 a day for rent, so all those people living on $1 a day have apartments that are at most one 30th as good as mine!"
posted by John Cohen at 8:37 AM on September 14, 2010


Assuming it looks at just income (salary or wages), you could make a long list of people who make $0-1 a day and aren't poor:

- someone who's not in the labor force but shares money with an affluent spouse

- a college student who doesn't have a job and is financially supported by parents

- a retiree (if the statistics don't consider pensions, government benefits, support from family, etc.)

- a beginning entrepreneur whose business isn't making enough money yet to pay him/herself but who has a strong basis of financial backing

etc.

Knowing that someone has an income of $1 a day is virtually meaningless. If we equate this with extreme poverty, it's worse than meaningless.
posted by John Cohen at 8:58 AM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm glad the Internet is having a love affair with maps and geography, but I am irked by the lack of context in many of the maps I see. The comments above cover the points I was going to make about the income figures, but another serious error is that there is no legend for the map. What do the colors mean? We have no idea. (I thought they were shaded by region, but why is Japan a different color than the rest of Asia? Why is Pakistan in the same color group as Australia? Why is France a darker color than the rest of Europe?) I shouldn't be guessing at this.

Time for another map-related pet peeve: faux tilt shift photos of maps and globes. Maybe it looked cool the first 500 times I saw it, but jeez, give it a rest.
posted by desjardins at 9:08 AM on September 14, 2010


It's also important to note that Worldmapper (which is a really cool site and a great time-waster) considers the baseline map to be not based on land area, but based on population. So it's starting with a map that has an enormously inflated India, for instance. Even if you keep this in mind, it's hard not to a visceral reaction of "OMG, India has so many problems!" Well, India does have a lot of problems, but the fact that it keeps having a balloon-like appearance on this site isn't good evidence of that.
posted by John Cohen at 9:13 AM on September 14, 2010


John Cohen:Assuming it looks at just income (salary or wages), you could make a long list of people who make $0-1 a day and aren't poor:

well your first assumption john is wrong, they measure poverty by consumption or "private consumption expenditure" (PCE)

Knowing that someone has an income of $1 a day is virtually meaningless. If we equate this with extreme poverty, it's worse than meaningless.

One interesting thing to me is that this dollar a day number is actually a measurement of absolute poverty derived from the purchasing power of the poorest people in the poorest countries and is intended to be a 'low' estimate of how many people are in the worst conditions. Most criticisms I've seen of this number is that it is too low and fails to give us the full magnitude of those living in poverty. If you actually want to understand what a dollar a day means in terms of absolute poverty try reading the article linked below

Dollar a day revisited
posted by Shit Parade at 10:23 AM on September 14, 2010


I'm glad it's not based on income, but that doesn't get around the fact that not everyone needs to pay for housing. Do they really include all consumption, including medical and government services? Is there a reliable way to keep track of whether Person A is buying things for Person B, or does this get recorded as no consumption by Person B?
posted by John Cohen at 10:58 AM on September 14, 2010


I'd also like to see what they are consuming. You could look at what kinds of things they feel they need to buy. The less essential those things are, the less worried we should be about whether they have enough money to get by. Right?
posted by John Cohen at 11:07 AM on September 14, 2010


Right. Well, at the end of the day, it's just a map. If you can't make it India or Nigeria, you can rest assured, there are poor people there, living with a lot less than the poorest of you in the West. Don't need a map for that!
posted by iamck at 11:12 AM on September 14, 2010


try researching, Poverty Analysis is a good start.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:15 AM on September 14, 2010


So in other words, iamck, we'll hold out the maps as if they support our view of the world, whether they actually do or not. And we'll have no qualms about this since we know our view is correct anyway. And if the statistics themselves are flawed too? Same thing.
posted by John Cohen at 11:18 AM on September 14, 2010


Shit Parade, I think my questions are fairly straightforward. If you know the answers, please don't hesitate to put them in the thread so they get the most possible exposure. Telling me to "try researching" is not an answer.
posted by John Cohen at 11:20 AM on September 14, 2010


John Cohen, what Shit Parade is trying to accomplish is in kind with "Give a man a fish / Teach a man to fish". The internet has nearly all the answers to your questions. Expecting others to spoon feed you the information is rather juvenile and obscene.
posted by LoudMusic at 11:34 AM on September 14, 2010


Some days I don't spend any money. Guess I'm living on less that $1/day somedays.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:01 PM on September 14, 2010


Less prefab maps; more geodata plz!
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:15 PM on September 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Books borrowed and books published would mean more if we also had books purchased.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:08 AM on September 15, 2010


John Cohen, what Shit Parade is trying to accomplish is in kind with "Give a man a fish / Teach a man to fish". The internet has nearly all the answers to your questions. Expecting others to spoon feed you the information is rather juvenile and obscene.

No, I don't accept this. If we're going to talk about these issues, why do you get to dictate some arbitrary point where we're no longer talking about it in the thread and I'm instructed to do "research"?

I've seen this tactic many times on the site: once the discussion takes a turn that someone finds uncomfortable or hard to answer, they give a link to a voluminous source as if to say "look at all this text -- clearly the answer must be somewhere in here," often with a subtext that the person they're responding to is in the wrong. I don't find this impressive.

Again, if you know the answer to my question, either answer it in the thread so the debate is had out-in-the-open on Metafilter, or don't answer at all, thanks. I'm not going to wade through some 50-page report just because someone can't deign to have a discussion with me.
posted by John Cohen at 6:53 AM on September 15, 2010


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