The selfie knows no geographical boundaries. Across the world, from Russia to Brazil, people love taking pictures of themselves. The rate at which they do so, however, can vary widely depending on where they live.
Time has gathered the data, crunched the numbers, and found an answer to the contest we've all secretly been participating in each time we upload a vanity mugshot from an oblique angle: What is the selfiest city in the world?
The answer is Makati City in the Philippines, part of the metropolitan area of Manila, according to a database of 402,197 geotagged Instagram photos labelled "selfie" during two five-day periods in February and March 2014. Makati City and its immediate neighbor, Pasig, has 258 selfie-takers per 100,000 people. Self-absorbed Manhattan managed to come in second place with 202 selfie-takers per capita. The top-10 list: New York; Miami; Anaheim; Tel Aviv; Manchester, England; Milan; Cebu City, The Philippines; George Town, Malaysia; and Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
This doesn't necessarily paint a full picture of global selfie patterns, though it may provide an outline. The data is influenced by factors like smartphone usage rates and income levels, whether Instagram is the popular method of sharing photos in that city, whether people keep their Instagram profiles public or private, whether they actually feel compelled to tag a photo #selfie, and more. It's feasible that there's a whole pool of eager selfie-takers in, say, Moscow, but they're using a different service and so weren't included in the dataset. Plus, there may have been a few outliers of photos tagged "selfie" that weren't actually selfies. Internet irony can really mess with a dataset.
Regardless, the maps reveal a fascinating pattern of where selfies are taken within the city itself. Lower Manhattan, the southern tip of Miami Beach, and one singular spot in Anaheim are bright yellow spots of self-documentation. The takeaway? People love to take selfies at Disneyland.