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Power and Money

population, millions (rank)324 (3)24 (53)17 (66)
land area, sq. mi. in thousands (rank, % water)3,677 (4; 2)2,969 (6; > 1)41 (131; 18)
ethnic makeupCaucasian 63%, other 37%Caucasian 92%, other 8%Caucasian 83%, other 17%
GDP in billions of $ (rank)18,500 (2)1,140 (19)820 (28)
GDP per capita in thousands of $ (rank)55 (10)47 (16)49 (14)
taxes - as a % of GDP272639
total expenditure on health as a % of GDP (% gov't/% private)17% (48/52%)9% (67/33%)10% (87/13%)
development aid, $ ($/capita, % of GDP)31.08 billion ($96; 0.0016%)3.22 billion (134)5.81 billion (341)
% of GDP for foreign aid (rank)0.19% (21)0.29% (15)0.80% (4)
military expenditure per capita, US$1,900900750
military and paramilitary personnel, number per 1,0002,349,950 (7.3)84,750 (3.6)46,500 (2.7)
billionaires536 (1 per 615,000)57 (1 per 421,000)9 (1 per 1,800,000)
income equality, rank67100121
believers, % yes653332
prisoners, per 1,0007.01.50.8
capital punishment, number executions4200
guns, per 100 residents112223
intentional homicide, per 100,000 residents (number of homicides)42 (12,200)10 (238)10 (125)
voter turnout, rank120126

Learn more

Every number on this page is publicly available, usually from multiple sources. Links go to the original data source, where I could find it. Many go to a Wikipedia page with the information. Those pages usually link to the original data sources -- and to much more. As few of the links below as possible go to secondary sources like newspaper articles about the original data.

Please let me know if I have made any errors in transferring numbers from the sources to the table above. Also, I am very interested in data that differs from what is above.

population – Wikipedia’s List of countries by population

land area (sq mi) – Wikipedia’s List of countries by area

ethnic makeup - each country's Wikipedia page: U.S., Australia, Netherlands

How rich are these countries?

GDP - Wikipedia's:

taxes - tax revenue as a percentage of GDP

One Economic Theory to Explain Everything
by Noah Smith
Bloomberg Views, January 8, 2015

Income (measured by purchasing power parity) has skyrocketed in emerging middle-class countries such as China in the last few decades, while middle-class individuals in rich countries such as the U.S. haven’t done so well. … Industrialization isn’t a smooth process, each time a new country makes its development sprint, the existing rich countries experience a growth slowdown.

Viewed from a worldwide perspective, people’s wealth has increased all over the globe. The most desperately poor (far left) have seen more increase, as a percentage of their income in 1998, than the U.S. lower middle class. The middle group, much of it in China, has grown the most. The people who were very rich before, that is the U.S. and European middle class, have seen the lowest growth of all. The world’s richest people (far right) have seen 65% growth.

Theory of Everything

Theory of Everything

What do they spend this wealth on? (as a % of GDP)

health as a % of GDP  (% gov't, % private) - Wikipedia's List of countries by health insurance coverage

- The U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO):

development aid to other countries, $ ($/capita, % of GDP) - Wikipedia's List of development aid country donors

% of GDP for development aid (rank) - Statistic Brain, which compiled it from the OECD, The World Bank, and OECD's Development Assistance Committee

military expenditures - see bar chart on the right

Top five countries by military expenditure in 2015. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Top five countries by military expenditure in 2015. (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)

military expenditures as a % of GDP - Wikipedia's List of countries by military expenditures

military expenditure per capita, US$ - Wikipedia's List of countries by military expenditure per capita

military and paramilitary personnel, number per 1,000 - Wikipedia's List of countries by military and paramilitary personnel

Where are they? CNN's U.S. military personnel by country: Not counting those at sea, the United States has active duty military troops stationed in about 150 countries, that is, 3/4 of all the countries on Earth. Australia has troops in six other countries: Afghanistan, East Timor, Egypt, Iraq, the Solomon Islands, and Sudan. The Netherlands has troops in four other countries: Mali, Afghanistan, Somalia, and South Sudan.

billionaires - Wikipedia's List of countries by the number of US dollar billionaires

income equality, rank - Wikipedia's

income equality - How equally is income distributed in a country? How great is the divide between rich and poor? The U.N.’s GINI index measures that divide. A Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality. The table shows the rank order for each country out of the 141 countries. The lower the rank number, the greater the gap between rich and poor.

Adjusting for the size of the country, countries on the high-inequality end have a lot of rich people and a lot of poor people. The low-inequality countries with ranks numbers closer to the highest, Denmark’s GINI of 40 and rank of #139, don’t have as many rich people, but they have hardly any poor people.

believers - The Gallup poll asked: “Is religion important in your daily life?” The table shows the percentage of people in that country responding “yes”.

prisoners - How many people are in prison? Wikipedia’s List of countries by incarceration rate. Our table show the number per 1,000. See also the NY Times interactive graphic.

capital punishment - The number of “verifiable judicial executions” in the last year: worldwide total: 1,514. Source: NationMaster’s Executions

guns, per 100 residents - Wikipedia's Estimated number of guns per capita by country

intentional homicide, rate per 100,000 population. Nationmaster 

voter turnout, rank - Pew Research's study U.S. voter turnout trails most developed countries


The pie charts below show how the governments use each country's resources. The categories are not directly comparable, but they give a sense of each country's values.

Australian 2011 federal budget

Australian 2011 federal budget


Netherlands 2012 budget


U.S. 2015 budget

Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions

Power Distance Index 403638
Uncertainty Avoidance Index465153
Indulgence versus Restraint687168
Long-Term Orientation292144

Geert Hofstede

Geert Hofstede

Geert Hofstede (right) is the world’s preeminent researcher in the field of cross-cultural characteristics. For several decades, he has measured and compared most of the world’s countries on seven dimensions of culture.

The table above shows each country’s score (always a number) for each of these dimensions, not its rank order. The text below was drawn from his web:

Power Distance Index (PDI) “The extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.” – A higher score (larger number) indicates more distance.
Individualism (IDV) “On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.” A high score indicates a country that rewards individual behavior more than group behavior.
Masculinity (MAS) High scores indicate tough, competitive cultures; low scores indicate tender, nurturing, cooperative cultures.Note that the U.S. scores high on both individuality and masculinity — the cowboy. The Netherlands has the lowest masculinity score yet a score almost as high as the U.S. on individualism. Is it possible to separate the two? Apparently.Hofstede’s web explains. He is Dutch, so he’ll have some special insight here:

A high score (masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner/best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational behaviour.

A low score (feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (masculine) or liking what you do (feminine).

The Netherlands scores 14 on this dimension and is therefore a feminine society. In feminine countries it is important to keep the life/work balance and you make sure that all are included. An effective manager is supportive to his/her people, and decision making is achieved through involvement. Managers strive for consensus and people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation and Dutch are known for their long discussions until consensus has been reached.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) “Indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations.” High scores indicate societies that go to greater lengths to reduce uncertainly in people’s lives. Low scores indicate a society that is more tolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity.
Indulgence versus Restraint (IND)

One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which little children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”. This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “indulgence”, a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun.

Relatively strong control (lower scores) is called “restraint”, a society that suppresses gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms. Societies with a low score in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism. Also, in contrast to indulgent societies, restrained societies do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires. People with this orientation have the perception that their actions are restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.

Long-Term Orientation (LTO) Higher scores indicate more long-term orientation.