VIII.5 Gapminder World Map

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Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Ola Rosling

Who in the world is rich or poor, and who lives the longest? Gapminder, a non-profit foundation based in Stockholm, has developed classroom materials to stimulate an interest in using statistics to understand the world. This sorting game developed by Mattias Lindgren based on an idea by Paula Cooper was designed to replace devastating myths with a fact-based worldview. Students are given a number of “country cards.” They are asked to group the cards in a way that reflects the development level of these countries. Any grouping—sorting into two or more groups or arranging them into one line—is fine. Next, students are asked to explain how they arranged the cards—does the sorting reflect incomes, health, or development in a more general sense? Subsequently, the teacher introduces the Gapminder World Map shown here: The Y-axis is life expectancy (increases bottom-up); the X-axis is income per person (less than $500 per year on left to more than $50,000 on right). Each bubble is a country, color-coded by continent and size-coded by country population. When the sorting is compared with the placement of bubbles on the map, are there any surprises? Find out more at


Lindgren, Mattias. 2010. Gapminder World Map. Courtesy of Gapminder Foundation. In “8th Iteration (2012): Science Maps for Kids,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Michael J. Stamper.

Lindgren, Mattias. 2010. A Card Game with the Gapminder World Map.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.