We post a lot of infographics, but we pass on even more of them. A common shortcoming of global maps is fairly simple: They favor the most developed parts of the world. Even a very scientific map might make it appear that meteors mostly hit the U.S. when, in reality, it’s far more likely that we’ve simply dug up more meteors here because we’ve dug up much of this country in the last 100 years.
But this Birth & Death Rate World Map, that appears to be by Taipei’s Stark Design, works almost in the opposite way. Each country is typed out on a world map, and the size of that type is dictated by birth rate (white) and death rate (red). Its very foundational approach challenges xenocentrism. You can’t focus on the most powerful parts of the world because, at least in the case of the U.S., they simply cease to exist. Instead, you’re left with the unavoidable truth staring you right in the face: The continent of Africa has the most births and deaths per capita.
I will say, the graphic isn’t perfect. Its font size scheme—which depicts a mathematical ratio of births to deaths for each country—doesn’t seem to play out perceptually. Namely, it’s hard to get a feel for what that ratio actually is. I wonder if simply making two graphs—one showing births, one showing deaths—would have been a better approach.
Even still, it’s an imaginative play on the tired trope of word clouds. And it’s a clever way to get our eyes exploring parts of the map beyond our own borders.
[Hat tip: visual.ly]