Surprising Global Statistics

At the beginning of every year I briefly thumb through the Ecomomist Pocket Guide which lists a bunch of global rankings of random economic and sociopolitical stats, being somewhat wonkish by nature.

Some of the statistics surprise me. They probably shouldn’t. On deeper thought, they sometimes make sense.

For example, I was surprised that the most innovative country was Switzerland; which I (presumably wrongly) think of as being reactionary.

I was surprised to read the country with the most robberies was Costa Rica. I know many Canadians who have gone there and several who bought homes. They love the place. A few of the top 20 were surprising; but few of these countries were also in the top 20 for more violent crimes — which also surprised me.

I wouldn’t have guessed Bulgaria had the lowest recent inflation rate.

I always thought some North American countries had the people with the highest body mass indices. But apparently this is only true for men; with Qatar and some other Gulf countries having the highest female rankings.

I was also surprised by Gini coefficients and lots of others. But I am more interested in global statistics you did not know and were amused or shocked or just unaware of?

I always wonder how they collected the information, especially comparing First World countries with Third World countries or more closed societies. For instance, comparing the BMI of Qatarian women to, say, Syria or Chad.

But comparisons are interesting. Finland is rated the happiest nation on earth, and has a suicide rate higher than Iraq. Go figure.


People want to go out at peak happiness?

You have a lot less time to worry about whether your life truly has meaning if you’re living hand to mouth.

I was also surprised to read the country with the most female political representation was Rwanda. I briefly thought “how progressive”, then sad as I realized the likely reasons.