The next time you see a nice color-coded GIS map of a statistic, you should think twice about the way the data are being presented. Countries’ size on the map is determined by their land mass, not their population. Though the shapes are familiar, any geographic projection subtly adds influence to some countries and steals it from others. Greenland is the famous example from grade school. The map conditions us to ignore countries with high population density, even major powers such as India and China, and to assume that countries with low population density are more important.
This unfamiliar shape should be the basis for comparisons of human statistics: wealth, income, health, literacy, the things that matter most.
This cartogram by Worldmapper shows country size in proportion to population, not land mass.
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