The Economic Freedom Index 2013

economic freedom index

The Economic Freedom Index, compiled by the Heritage Foundation, is a measure of the economic freedom given to citizens in each of the 185 countries where it is measured. A total of ten components of economic freedom are considered, all grouped under four categories: rule of law, limited government, regulatory efficiency, and open markets.

The highest ranking country in the list is Hong Kong, with a score of 89.3, affording its citizens the highest degree of economic freedom in the world. Hong Kong is followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, Denmark, and the United States, among the top ten.

On the opposite side, the most repressed countries in terms of economic freedom include North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Eritrea, and Burma.

Source: International Business Times: US Economic Freedom Is At Lowest Point Since 2000 [MAP]

 

The Higher Cost of Higher Education

higher-education-international-studentsStudying abroad can be very expensive, specially if you are looking at universities in Australia or the United States.

The average cost of higher education for international students is very high in Australia, where a student is expected to pay a total of $38,516 in annual fees and cost of living. Australia is followed by the U.S. where the average cost of one year of higher education is estimated at $35,705. Other countries with a steep tab on higher education include the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

On the other hand, more affordable higher education can be found in Germany, where the average cost of one year of college annual fees plus cost of living is estimated at $6,285. Other countries with affordable higher education include Spain, Taiwan, China, and Russia.

Source: International Business Times- International Students: Higher Education Is Really Inexpensive In Germany, But Not In The US [CHARTS]

 

Minutes of Minimum-Wage Work to Buy a Big Mac Burger

minutes of work for a big macUsing the criteria of the Big Mac Index developed by The Economist in 1986 as a way to measure if currencies are valued at the right level, the International Business Times created this visualization showing how many minutes a minimum-wage worker needs to work in order to buy a Big Mac burger.

As it turns out, a minimum-wage worker in Afghanistan needs to work 372 minutes (6.2 hours) in order to buy a Big Mac burger. In contrast, a minimum-wage worker in Australia needs to work only 18 minutes to buy a Big Mac burger.

Source: International Business Times: Minutes Of Minimum-Wage Work To Buy A Big Mac: 36 minutes in the US, 6 hours in Afghanistan

 

Cannabis Consumption by Country

use of cannabis worldwideUruguay is on its way to legalize the production and consumption of cannabis, only waiting for the senate to pass the new bill. According to The Economist, more than 8% of Uruguay’s population ages 15 to 64 smoked cannabis in 2011, a higher percentage than in previous years.

Consumption of cannabis has also increased worldwide. Countries with the highest levels of consumption of cannabis in 2012, 10% or more of the population, include Italy, Nigeria, Australia, the United States, and Canada.

 

Oil Production and Consumption by Country

oil production and consumption since 1965When it comes to oil production and consumption, countries have a very close relationship of interdependence with each other. Some countries consume more oil than what they produce relying on imports to satisfy their internal demand. Others, consume less than what they produce, being able to export oil to nations that need it.

Oil consumption (yellow) for the United States, for example, was larger than its production (grey) for 2012, 18.55 mb/d (million barrels per day) compared to 8.9 mb/d, importing more than double its production to satisfy the gap in internal demand. Other nations with oil consumption higher that oil production include China, Brazil, Australia, India, UK, and Indonesia.

In contrast, oil consumption for Saudi Arabia for 2012 is estimated at 2.94 mb/d, while its production reached 11.53 md/d, exporting its oil surplus to the rest of the world. Other nations whose oil production exceeds its oil consumption include Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Norway, Russia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

Source: Winston Smith Labs: Global Oil Production and Consumption since 1965 [Interactive Map/Graph]

 

Global Carbon Footprint by Country

carbon footprint by countryThis original visualization by Stanford Kay shows total carbon emissions by country. Using different colors to differentiate each region, the size of the circle depicts the carbon footprint of each country.

Countries with the largest carbon footprint include China, United States, Russia, India, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Australia, UK, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Taiwan, Ukraine, France, and Spain.

 

Male and Female Literacy Rates by Country

global literacy ratesLiteracy rate is defined as the number of people 15 years or older who can read and write. According to a study published by the Oxford Internet Institute at University of Oxford, global literacy rate is 82%. While the literacy rate for men is 87%, the rate for women is 77%.

Looking at data per continent, we find that countries in the Americas are highly literate, 99% for both men and women in the United States, and 97% for both men and women in Argentina. European countries show high literacy rates as well, above 91% for both men and women.

Many nations in Asia also show high literacy rates, except for countries like India, certain neighboring countries and countries in the Middle East, where the literacy rates are even lower for women.

Most African countries have very low literacy rates, with few exceptions: South Africa, Lesotho, Kenya, and Namibia.

 

The Most and Least Racially Tolerant Countries

racial-tolerance-mapA survey conducted by two Swedish economists asked respondents in 80 countries what kind of people they would not like as neighbors, to which many replied “people of a different race”.

The results from that survey are displayed in this map published by the Washington Post. According to the survey, people in English-speaking, Scandinavian, and Latin American countries are the most racially tolerant, with the exception of Venezuela. South Africa shows to be a tolerant country, while the attitudes in Europe show a lot of variation. People in countries such as France, Turkey, India, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Nigeria, South Korea, and Indonesia are the least racially tolerant.

 

Drought Severity by Country (1901 – 2008)

drought severity worldThis map shows drought severity, measured as the product of the average length of a drought occurrence and how dry it was the drought. This visualization is based on data collected for the period between 1901 and 2008.

The red areas in the map show the regions most severely affected by droughts. The northern region of the African continent stands out as the largest area being affected by severe droughts. Southwestern Africa (Namibia and Botswana) has also been severely affected by droughts in the same period.

Some areas in the Andean region in South America (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina) have also suffered the effects of severe droughts during the past century.

Parts of Australia and Russia have also been affected by extreme drought conditions.

Sources:

 

Women in the Workforce by Country

women and equality worldIt has been said, that if women participated in the workforce more actively, like their male counterparts, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of those countries would be higher.

However, most countries, including some developed nations do not have policies in place that support women’s participation in the workforce, such as access to education, credit, employment, paid maternity leave or child care.

Countries with the highest economic success for women (measured in terms of equality of pay, degree of inclusion in the workforce, and career advancement), that offer the best policies for supporting women in the workforce include Norway, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Belgium, and Iceland.

Countries with the lowest degree of economic success that have few policies (or none) that support women in the workplace include Chad, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, among others.

women and equality world 2Some interesting facts about the success of women in the workplace and the policies in place to support them in certain countries can be seen in the graphic above.

Source: Harvard Business Review: Vision Statement: Women and the Economics of Equality