Reddit user Teadranks is back with another amazing cartogram, a type of distorted map around one variable, in this case world population in 1900. To see how much it’s changed you can jump to the 2015 cartogram post, or scroll below.
Here are just a few of the surprising changes observed by Teadranks:
- As you can see the whole 1900 world almost fits into modern China.
- 1900 Africa fits into modern Germany.
- 1900 South America fits into modern Spain.
And here are just a few more things we noticed:
- The United States only had 76 million people compared to 320 million today.
- Canada’s population has grown from a tiny 5.5 million to 35.6 million, a proportionally larger increase than the United States.
- Australia grew from 4 million to 23.7 million today.
- Ireland’s population in 1900 was near its low point. Before the potato famine in the 1840s, the entire island had a population of over 8 million. As you can see, Ireland’s population dropped to 3.2 million by 1900. It has since recovered somewhat over the last 115 years to reach a population of 6.4 million today (Republic – 4.6 million, NI – 1.8 million)
- The population of the United Kingdom hasn’t even doubled during this period growing from 38 million (which includes Ireland) to 64 million today. However, the successor countries of the British Empire have grown by leaps and bounds. Whereas the Empire had a total population of 384 million in 1900, India alone has a population of 1.3 billion today.
- Belgium in 1900 had more people than the Netherlands.
- China’s population in 1900, during the Qing Empire, was only about a third of the People’s Republic of China’s population of 1.4 billion today.
- Ethiopia (Abyssinia in 1900) grew from an estimated 4 million people in 1900 to 90 million today, a growth of 22.5 times and the largest one we could find.
There are also several countries included on the map in 1900 that no longer exist or not longer exist in the form that they did in 1900:
- Austria-Hungary had 51 million people in 1900, while today Austria only has a population of 8.5 million and Hungary only has 9.8 million people.
- The Russian Empire had a population of 136 million in 1900, but today Russia is barely any larger, at 146 million and it’s depopulating.
- The Ottoman Empire had a population of 31 million in 1900 compared to Turkey’s population of 82 million today.
- The German Empire had 56 million people in 1900, today the Federal Republic of Germany has 80.7 million people, but also faces the threat of a shrinking population.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the map really highlights how much of the world was split between the European powers in 1900. At reddit user klug3 point’s out: “Europe’s population used to 1.5x that of India, now its not even 0.6x, quite a different world.”
Compare the map above with the one from 2015 edition (below) and the one thing that stands out, besides increase in population, is the sheer growth in the number of countries:
To learn more read:
- A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps
- A Concise History of World Population
- Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
What do you find most surprising about the change in population between 1900 and today? Leave your comments below: