This Gapminder World presentation will impact your personal ‘world view’ no matter what it happens to be before looking at it. So click on the link, wait for it to load (load time is a variable depending on your computer and bandwidth), and click Play (bottom left).
You may want to print this explanation and have it handy as you play it several more times. For most systems you can print by 'right clicking' while cursor is on message and then select 'print'.
There are 5 variables being tracked:
Children per woman
Population per country
Main religion in 2008
A sixth element can be selectively added. If a specific country is checked under the alphabetized list of countries in Select (right, middle), then the name of the country will display on the chart. Multiple countries can be selected simultaneously, but as more are selected the chart tends toward busyness.
The factor of ‘Main religion in 2008’ has only been recently added to the Gapminder consortium of databases. Currently only three categories are included, Eastern religions (red); Muslim (green); and Christian (blue). Each color means over 50% of a countries population (in 2008) falls within the category. Judaism is not included, presumably because of the relatively small global footprint in terms of population. So the small, white country at the top at 2010 is Israel. As your cursor hovers over a country, the name will display.
The size of a circle represents the population of a specific country over time. The left axis represents life expectancy in years. The bottom axis represents children per woman over time. Some countries begin ‘moving’ over time before others. That indicates that data became available at different times for different countries.
As of 2010 it is ‘visually apparent’ that much of the world’s population lives in countries that over 50% of the population belong to Eastern religions. Christianity is second; Muslims are third. The Christian countries with a low life expectancy in 2010 tend to be African countries where Roman Catholicism is more prevalent than Protestantism.
The general trend of increased life expectancies and reduced family sizes are competing dynamics impacting population size. Most countries are moving toward the left (reduced family size) and up (increased life expectancy) over time, including Muslims in later years. Political instability (wars); starvation; per capita income; and quality of health care are all factors that can be seen in other charts available for viewing at the main Gapminder World site. Many of those presentations are narrated by Hans Rosling, the developer of Gapminder World software.
Play it again, Sam. You can see a lot by looking.