Homicide rates: Murder most foul
A global picture of homicide rates


IT IS famously tricky to compare crime statistics across frontiers. Murder figures are the best of the bunch because the offence is usually reported. According to the first global study on homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, most of the world’s 468,000 intentional homicides in 2010 were in Africa (36%) and the Americas (31%), where the murder rate was 15-16 per 100,000 people, more than twice the global average of 6.9 per 100,000. Homicide in most parts of the world has been falling since 1995, but it has risen recently in Central America and the Caribbean. (There are no reliable data for Africa.) The study suggests two broad trends. The first is a link between development and crime. Countries with low scores on the United Nations Development Programme’s human-development index tend to have high murder rates and vice versa. But exceptions to this reveal a second trend. Organised crime, drug trafficking, violent gang culture and the prevalence of firearms are also correlated with higher murder rates, even in relatively developed countries. Honduras and El Salvador, which have the highest and second-highest murder rates in the world (82 per 100,000 and 66 per 100,000 respectively), are the prime examples of this. One worrying final thought: sudden dips in economic performance have also been known to increase the homicide rate, usually with a lag.

Homicide rates: Murder most foul

A global picture of homicide rates


IT IS famously tricky to compare crime statistics across frontiers. Murder figures are the best of the bunch because the offence is usually reported. According to the first global study on homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, most of the world’s 468,000 intentional homicides in 2010 were in Africa (36%) and the Americas (31%), where the murder rate was 15-16 per 100,000 people, more than twice the global average of 6.9 per 100,000. Homicide in most parts of the world has been falling since 1995, but it has risen recently in Central America and the Caribbean. (There are no reliable data for Africa.) The study suggests two broad trends. The first is a link between development and crime. Countries with low scores on the United Nations Development Programme’s human-development index tend to have high murder rates and vice versa. But exceptions to this reveal a second trend. Organised crime, drug trafficking, violent gang culture and the prevalence of firearms are also correlated with higher murder rates, even in relatively developed countries. Honduras and El Salvador, which have the highest and second-highest murder rates in the world (82 per 100,000 and 66 per 100,000 respectively), are the prime examples of this. One worrying final thought: sudden dips in economic performance have also been known to increase the homicide rate, usually with a lag.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
Comparing India and China: Chasing the dragon

How the Asian superpowers compare on various measures of development

IN THE recent Singapore Grand Prix, a car belonging to the Force  India team reached the finish line just 111 seconds after the leader.  Today’s chart uses a stopwatch to compare India’s progress in  development against another pace-setter, China. The chart shows the  number of years that have elapsed since China passed the development  milestones that India has now reached. India’s income per head, for  example, was about $3,200 in 2009 (holding purchasing power constant  across time and between countries). China reached that level of  development nine years ago. The lag in social progress is much longer. A  child’s odds of surviving past their fifth birthday are as bad in India  today as they were in China in the 1970s. Moreover, the chart does not  necessarily imply that India in nine years’ time will be as rich as  China is today. That is because China grew faster in the last nine years  than India is likely to grow over the next nine. We stopped the clock  at $3200 per head. But China did not stop racing ahead.

Comparing India and China: Chasing the dragon

How the Asian superpowers compare on various measures of development


IN THE recent Singapore Grand Prix, a car belonging to the Force India team reached the finish line just 111 seconds after the leader. Today’s chart uses a stopwatch to compare India’s progress in development against another pace-setter, China. The chart shows the number of years that have elapsed since China passed the development milestones that India has now reached. India’s income per head, for example, was about $3,200 in 2009 (holding purchasing power constant across time and between countries). China reached that level of development nine years ago. The lag in social progress is much longer. A child’s odds of surviving past their fifth birthday are as bad in India today as they were in China in the 1970s. Moreover, the chart does not necessarily imply that India in nine years’ time will be as rich as China is today. That is because China grew faster in the last nine years than India is likely to grow over the next nine. We stopped the clock at $3200 per head. But China did not stop racing ahead.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago with 1 note
#the economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
Digital verbosity: What’s in a tweet


THE beauty of Twitter, the popular microblogging service, is that  users have to keep it short: messages can only be 140 characters long.  But companies that mine the stream of tweets for marketing and other  purposes get much more information. Below  is a map of a tweet including all its metadata. The map was published  by Raffi Krikorian, a developer at Twitter. It is 18 months old, but it  is safe to say that the amount of metadata attached to a tweet has not  decreased since.

Digital verbosity: What’s in a tweet

THE beauty of Twitter, the popular microblogging service, is that users have to keep it short: messages can only be 140 characters long. But companies that mine the stream of tweets for marketing and other purposes get much more information. Below is a map of a tweet including all its metadata. The map was published by Raffi Krikorian, a developer at Twitter. It is 18 months old, but it is safe to say that the amount of metadata attached to a tweet has not decreased since.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago with 1 note
#The Economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT  MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least  some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the  regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice.  Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that  continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the  surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010.  In the states which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income,  such as Nevada, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If  such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as  residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also  hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the  opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems  to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation  is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible  explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those  most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may  be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for  reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the  general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic  times.

US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice. Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010. In the states which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income, such as Nevada, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic times.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago with 1 note
#the economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
Global health: Developing diseases

Non-communicable diseases account for the majority of deaths worldwide


NON-COMMUNICABLE diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the biggest killers on the planet, accounting for 63% of the 56m deaths in 2008. Such is their growing impact that the UN General Assembly is holding a two-day summit in New York this week to address their prevention and treatment. This is only the second time in history that the UN has convened on the topic of health (the first was to discuss AIDS). NCDs have long been considered a rich-world problem, but current figures show their increasing prevalency in developing countries. Indeed, of the 36m people killed by NCDs, some 80% live in low- and middle-income countries. These diseases are associated with increased prosperity and longevity, and the results are costly. The World Economic Forum estimates that NCDs will cost low- and middle-income countries $7 trillion over the next 15 years.

Global health: Developing diseases

Non-communicable diseases account for the majority of deaths worldwide


NON-COMMUNICABLE diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the biggest killers on the planet, accounting for 63% of the 56m deaths in 2008. Such is their growing impact that the UN General Assembly is holding a two-day summit in New York this week to address their prevention and treatment. This is only the second time in history that the UN has convened on the topic of health (the first was to discuss AIDS). NCDs have long been considered a rich-world problem, but current figures show their increasing prevalency in developing countries. Indeed, of the 36m people killed by NCDs, some 80% live in low- and middle-income countries. These diseases are associated with increased prosperity and longevity, and the results are costly. The World Economic Forum estimates that NCDs will cost low- and middle-income countries $7 trillion over the next 15 years.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Public opinion on government spending: Splurge or slash?
How do the public feel about current levels of government spending?


VIEWS on the best way to deal with the rich-world’s debt problems vary across its countries, according to the latest annual survey of American and European public opinion by the German Marshall Fund, a think-tank. The poll shows clear support for austerity over stimulus in the rich world. That may be because announced austerity plans have yet to kick in: Britain is an exception to this, and there views seem to be more finely balanced. The biggest change in sentiment can be seen in the euro area. In 2009 only 8% of Italians thought their government was spending too much compared to 49% who now want it cut. In Portugal and Spain nearly one-third of those asked two years ago thought that too little was being spent, an opinion now held by only a fraction of that.

Public opinion on government spending: Splurge or slash?

How do the public feel about current levels of government spending?


VIEWS on the best way to deal with the rich-world’s debt problems vary across its countries, according to the latest annual survey of American and European public opinion by the German Marshall Fund, a think-tank. The poll shows clear support for austerity over stimulus in the rich world. That may be because announced austerity plans have yet to kick in: Britain is an exception to this, and there views seem to be more finely balanced. The biggest change in sentiment can be seen in the euro area. In 2009 only 8% of Italians thought their government was spending too much compared to 49% who now want it cut. In Portugal and Spain nearly one-third of those asked two years ago thought that too little was being spent, an opinion now held by only a fraction of that.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Government bonds: Dramatic yields

Which governments are perceived to issue the riskiest and the safest debt?


HOW much does Mr Market dislike Greece’s sovereign debt? The chart below, which shows the ten countries with the highest-yielding two-year paper, puts Athens in the kind of company that Greeks are unused to keeping. Shorter-dated Greek government bonds have even higher yields. On the other side of the ledger, money has flooded to safe havens like Switzerland, leading the Swiss government to announce measures to put a ceiling on the value of the Swiss franc. This brings its own risks, as our Buttonwood columnist points out.

Government bonds: Dramatic yields

Which governments are perceived to issue the riskiest and the safest debt?


HOW much does Mr Market dislike Greece’s sovereign debt? The chart below, which shows the ten countries with the highest-yielding two-year paper, puts Athens in the kind of company that Greeks are unused to keeping. Shorter-dated Greek government bonds have even higher yields. On the other side of the ledger, money has flooded to safe havens like Switzerland, leading the Swiss government to announce measures to put a ceiling on the value of the Swiss franc. This brings its own risks, as our Buttonwood columnist points out.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
Newborn deaths: Good news, sort of

The number of deaths among babies is declining


THE first 28 days of life are among the most dangerous in a human’s existence. In 2009 3.3m children died before they were four weeks old, down from 4.6m in 1990, according to a new paper from the World Health Organisation. The burden is not spread evenly. Five populous countries—India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Congo—now account for more than half of all neonatal deaths. And though mortality rates for newborns are falling, progress is much faster in some regions than others. If current trends continue, neonatal mortality rates in Africa will not reach the rich world’s levels until 2166. 

Newborn deaths: Good news, sort of

The number of deaths among babies is declining


THE first 28 days of life are among the most dangerous in a human’s existence. In 2009 3.3m children died before they were four weeks old, down from 4.6m in 1990, according to a new paper from the World Health Organisation. The burden is not spread evenly. Five populous countries—India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Congo—now account for more than half of all neonatal deaths. And though mortality rates for newborns are falling, progress is much faster in some regions than others. If current trends continue, neonatal mortality rates in Africa will not reach the rich world’s levels until 2166. 

(Source: economist.com)

@3 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Nobel prizes in chemistry: Getting squishier 

The changing chemical affinities of the Nobel Committee


ALFRED NOBEL, himself a chemist, founded his prizes in the late 19th century, when scientific excitement centred on chemistry. Boffins were busily filling in the blanks in the periodic table and probing unknown atomic phenomena (like radioactivity and bonding). Little wonder, then, that at the start of the 20th century most of the Nobel prizes in the discipline went to these and other discoveries under the broad label of physical chemistry. Soon, however, chemists reached a point where further advances became the province of chemical physics, rather than physical chemistry. As our chart shows, topics like the nature of organic compounds and of biological substances and processes grew more prominent. (Where the winning work straddled two categories, we ascribed half a prize to each.) The trend towards squishiness moved into reverse in the last two decades of the 20th century, however, in part because of developments in physics which yielded precision devices like the scanning-tunnelling microscope that permitted chemists to study the structure of chemical compounds close up. The 21st century, meanwhile, has again been dominated by mushier matters. Until this year’s prize, that is. On October 5th it was awarded to Daniel Shechtman for the discovery of a new type of atomic lattice called quasicrystals—a discovery that, it must be remembered, was first reported in 1984 in Physical Review Letters, the world’s leading physics journal.

Nobel prizes in chemistry: Getting squishier

The changing chemical affinities of the Nobel Committee


ALFRED NOBEL, himself a chemist, founded his prizes in the late 19th century, when scientific excitement centred on chemistry. Boffins were busily filling in the blanks in the periodic table and probing unknown atomic phenomena (like radioactivity and bonding). Little wonder, then, that at the start of the 20th century most of the Nobel prizes in the discipline went to these and other discoveries under the broad label of physical chemistry. Soon, however, chemists reached a point where further advances became the province of chemical physics, rather than physical chemistry. As our chart shows, topics like the nature of organic compounds and of biological substances and processes grew more prominent. (Where the winning work straddled two categories, we ascribed half a prize to each.) The trend towards squishiness moved into reverse in the last two decades of the 20th century, however, in part because of developments in physics which yielded precision devices like the scanning-tunnelling microscope that permitted chemists to study the structure of chemical compounds close up. The 21st century, meanwhile, has again been dominated by mushier matters. Until this year’s prize, that is. On October 5th it was awarded to Daniel Shechtman for the discovery of a new type of atomic lattice called quasicrystals—a discovery that, it must be remembered, was first reported in 1984 in Physical Review Letters, the world’s leading physics journal.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Effective tax rates: Taxing times

Which governments take the biggest chunk from a $100,000 salary?


DENMARK has the highest rate of income tax for a person earning $100,000, according to a survey of effective tax rates in 93 countries published on September 29th by KPMG, an accounting firm. But employee social-security contributions in Denmark are only 0.2%, and once such contributions are taken into account, high earners in several countries, including Belgium, Greece, Germany and France, take home less than the Danes. Belgium’s government grabs the highest share from earnings of $100,000, at almost 48%. Between 2003 and 2009, the highest tax rates on personal income declined. But last year they increased by 0.4% as governments sought to reduce deficits. Sickly euro-zone economies such as Iceland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal were among the countries who levied more on their top earners. Countries that have suffered natural disasters, like Japan, may introduce temporary taxes.

Effective tax rates: Taxing times

Which governments take the biggest chunk from a $100,000 salary?


DENMARK has the highest rate of income tax for a person earning $100,000, according to a survey of effective tax rates in 93 countries published on September 29th by KPMG, an accounting firm. But employee social-security contributions in Denmark are only 0.2%, and once such contributions are taken into account, high earners in several countries, including Belgium, Greece, Germany and France, take home less than the Danes. Belgium’s government grabs the highest share from earnings of $100,000, at almost 48%. Between 2003 and 2009, the highest tax rates on personal income declined. But last year they increased by 0.4% as governments sought to reduce deficits. Sickly euro-zone economies such as Iceland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal were among the countries who levied more on their top earners. Countries that have suffered natural disasters, like Japan, may introduce temporary taxes.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
Demographics and GDP: Graysia

The economic impact of demographics in Asia

INVESTORS  are often lured to countries like India and Vietnam by their  demographic promise—by their fast-growing population of workers and  consumers. Likewise, investors in China often worry that it “will grow  old before it grows rich”. Demographics are not destiny, but they are a  noteworthy determinant of economic potential. Youngsters and retirees do  not work, which harms growth directly. And because these dependants  make a claim on a country’s income without adding to it, they also  depress savings, thereby slowing the accumulation of capital and the  growth of productivity. In its latest Asian Development Outlook, the  Asian Development Bank calculates the contribution of Asia’s youthful  demographics to its economic success over the past decade. The bank also  projects the impact of a greying population on Asia’s growth from now  until 2030.

Demographics and GDP: Graysia

The economic impact of demographics in Asia


INVESTORS are often lured to countries like India and Vietnam by their demographic promise—by their fast-growing population of workers and consumers. Likewise, investors in China often worry that it “will grow old before it grows rich”. Demographics are not destiny, but they are a noteworthy determinant of economic potential. Youngsters and retirees do not work, which harms growth directly. And because these dependants make a claim on a country’s income without adding to it, they also depress savings, thereby slowing the accumulation of capital and the growth of productivity. In its latest Asian Development Outlook, the Asian Development Bank calculates the contribution of Asia’s youthful demographics to its economic success over the past decade. The bank also projects the impact of a greying population on Asia’s growth from now until 2030.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#The economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice. Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010. States like Nevada, which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic times.

US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice. Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010. States like Nevada, which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic times.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago with 1 note
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Gender inequality: Death and the maiden

Women and girls die prematurely in greater numbers than men


OVER a quarter of all excess female deaths occur in China at birth, says the World Bank’s annual World Development Report, published on September 19th. The number has risen since 1990 from 890,000 to 1.1m. These are the numbers of extra girls who would have been born if the normal sex ratio at birth (105 boys to 100 girls) had prevailed in China. It does not do so because of the practice of sex-selective abortion. Aborted girls account for the largest single share of excess female deaths worldwide, but other sorts of death have been growing faster, notably those of women of child-bearing age in Africa. The excess deaths of African women aged 15 to 49 (when compared with female death rates in rich countries) rose by 150% between 1990 and 2008. The number of excess deaths in African countries with high rates of HIV-AIDS increased by 760%. Excess female mortality is shifting from birth in East Asia to adulthood in Africa.


*Correction to this article
We mistakenly said that the natural sex ratio at birth is 105 girls to 100 boys when it is, of course, 105 boys to 100 girls. This was corrected on September 19th.

Gender inequality: Death and the maiden

Women and girls die prematurely in greater numbers than men


OVER a quarter of all excess female deaths occur in China at birth, says the World Bank’s annual World Development Report, published on September 19th. The number has risen since 1990 from 890,000 to 1.1m. These are the numbers of extra girls who would have been born if the normal sex ratio at birth (105 boys to 100 girls) had prevailed in China. It does not do so because of the practice of sex-selective abortion. Aborted girls account for the largest single share of excess female deaths worldwide, but other sorts of death have been growing faster, notably those of women of child-bearing age in Africa. The excess deaths of African women aged 15 to 49 (when compared with female death rates in rich countries) rose by 150% between 1990 and 2008. The number of excess deaths in African countries with high rates of HIV-AIDS increased by 760%. Excess female mortality is shifting from birth in East Asia to adulthood in Africa.


*Correction to this article
We mistakenly said that the natural sex ratio at birth is 105 girls to 100 boys when it is, of course, 105 boys to 100 girls. This was corrected on September 19th.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Employment: Defending jobs

Who are the world’s biggest employers?


ONE of the biggest headaches for policymakers in many rich countries has been how to create jobs during a period of fiscal austerity and anaemic growth. The private sector has been slow to generate jobs, and government-spending cuts usually end up cutting jobs. And governments employ a lot of people: in our chart of the ten biggest global employers, below, seven are government-run. America’s defence department had 3.2m people on its payroll last year, equivalent to 1% of the country’s population. China, the world’s most populous nation and a big military spender, employs 2.3m people in its armed forces. And the number of people working for the National Health Service in England is equivalent to over 2.5% of the country’s population. The three private companies are Walmart, McDonald’s and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, a subsidiary of which is Foxconn, a secretive electronics manufacturer.

Employment: Defending jobs

Who are the world’s biggest employers?


ONE of the biggest headaches for policymakers in many rich countries has been how to create jobs during a period of fiscal austerity and anaemic growth. The private sector has been slow to generate jobs, and government-spending cuts usually end up cutting jobs. And governments employ a lot of people: in our chart of the ten biggest global employers, below, seven are government-run. America’s defence department had 3.2m people on its payroll last year, equivalent to 1% of the country’s population. China, the world’s most populous nation and a big military spender, employs 2.3m people in its armed forces. And the number of people working for the National Health Service in England is equivalent to over 2.5% of the country’s population. The three private companies are Walmart, McDonald’s and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, a subsidiary of which is Foxconn, a secretive electronics manufacturer.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
The middle class: Bourgeois and proud
The ever-expanding middle class in developing countries


THE past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. Estimates from the Asian and African Development Banks, using a rather broad definition of middle class as living on $2-20 a day, confirm the picture. On this measurement, which includes many people who are only just above the poverty line, a third of Africans and three-quarters of Latin Americans were middle class in 2008. Meanwhile, the evidence that this progress will bring political demands that will reshape the developing world is mounting. 

The middle class: Bourgeois and proud

The ever-expanding middle class in developing countries


THE past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. Estimates from the Asian and African Development Banks, using a rather broad definition of middle class as living on $2-20 a day, confirm the picture. On this measurement, which includes many people who are only just above the poverty line, a third of Africans and three-quarters of Latin Americans were middle class in 2008. Meanwhile, the evidence that this progress will bring political demands that will reshape the developing world is mounting. 

(Source: economist.com)

@3 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
Homicide rates: Murder most foul
A global picture of homicide rates


IT IS famously tricky to compare crime statistics across frontiers. Murder figures are the best of the bunch because the offence is usually reported. According to the first global study on homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, most of the world’s 468,000 intentional homicides in 2010 were in Africa (36%) and the Americas (31%), where the murder rate was 15-16 per 100,000 people, more than twice the global average of 6.9 per 100,000. Homicide in most parts of the world has been falling since 1995, but it has risen recently in Central America and the Caribbean. (There are no reliable data for Africa.) The study suggests two broad trends. The first is a link between development and crime. Countries with low scores on the United Nations Development Programme’s human-development index tend to have high murder rates and vice versa. But exceptions to this reveal a second trend. Organised crime, drug trafficking, violent gang culture and the prevalence of firearms are also correlated with higher murder rates, even in relatively developed countries. Honduras and El Salvador, which have the highest and second-highest murder rates in the world (82 per 100,000 and 66 per 100,000 respectively), are the prime examples of this. One worrying final thought: sudden dips in economic performance have also been known to increase the homicide rate, usually with a lag.
2 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
Nobel prizes in chemistry: Getting squishier 

The changing chemical affinities of the Nobel Committee


ALFRED NOBEL, himself a chemist, founded his prizes in the late 19th century, when scientific excitement centred on chemistry. Boffins were busily filling in the blanks in the periodic table and probing unknown atomic phenomena (like radioactivity and bonding). Little wonder, then, that at the start of the 20th century most of the Nobel prizes in the discipline went to these and other discoveries under the broad label of physical chemistry. Soon, however, chemists reached a point where further advances became the province of chemical physics, rather than physical chemistry. As our chart shows, topics like the nature of organic compounds and of biological substances and processes grew more prominent. (Where the winning work straddled two categories, we ascribed half a prize to each.) The trend towards squishiness moved into reverse in the last two decades of the 20th century, however, in part because of developments in physics which yielded precision devices like the scanning-tunnelling microscope that permitted chemists to study the structure of chemical compounds close up. The 21st century, meanwhile, has again been dominated by mushier matters. Until this year’s prize, that is. On October 5th it was awarded to Daniel Shechtman for the discovery of a new type of atomic lattice called quasicrystals—a discovery that, it must be remembered, was first reported in 1984 in Physical Review Letters, the world’s leading physics journal.
2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Comparing India and China: Chasing the dragon

How the Asian superpowers compare on various measures of development

IN THE recent Singapore Grand Prix, a car belonging to the Force  India team reached the finish line just 111 seconds after the leader.  Today’s chart uses a stopwatch to compare India’s progress in  development against another pace-setter, China. The chart shows the  number of years that have elapsed since China passed the development  milestones that India has now reached. India’s income per head, for  example, was about $3,200 in 2009 (holding purchasing power constant  across time and between countries). China reached that level of  development nine years ago. The lag in social progress is much longer. A  child’s odds of surviving past their fifth birthday are as bad in India  today as they were in China in the 1970s. Moreover, the chart does not  necessarily imply that India in nine years’ time will be as rich as  China is today. That is because China grew faster in the last nine years  than India is likely to grow over the next nine. We stopped the clock  at $3200 per head. But China did not stop racing ahead.
2 years ago
#the economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
Effective tax rates: Taxing times

Which governments take the biggest chunk from a $100,000 salary?


DENMARK has the highest rate of income tax for a person earning $100,000, according to a survey of effective tax rates in 93 countries published on September 29th by KPMG, an accounting firm. But employee social-security contributions in Denmark are only 0.2%, and once such contributions are taken into account, high earners in several countries, including Belgium, Greece, Germany and France, take home less than the Danes. Belgium’s government grabs the highest share from earnings of $100,000, at almost 48%. Between 2003 and 2009, the highest tax rates on personal income declined. But last year they increased by 0.4% as governments sought to reduce deficits. Sickly euro-zone economies such as Iceland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal were among the countries who levied more on their top earners. Countries that have suffered natural disasters, like Japan, may introduce temporary taxes.
2 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
Digital verbosity: What’s in a tweet


THE beauty of Twitter, the popular microblogging service, is that  users have to keep it short: messages can only be 140 characters long.  But companies that mine the stream of tweets for marketing and other  purposes get much more information. Below  is a map of a tweet including all its metadata. The map was published  by Raffi Krikorian, a developer at Twitter. It is 18 months old, but it  is safe to say that the amount of metadata attached to a tweet has not  decreased since.
2 years ago
#The Economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
Demographics and GDP: Graysia

The economic impact of demographics in Asia

INVESTORS  are often lured to countries like India and Vietnam by their  demographic promise—by their fast-growing population of workers and  consumers. Likewise, investors in China often worry that it “will grow  old before it grows rich”. Demographics are not destiny, but they are a  noteworthy determinant of economic potential. Youngsters and retirees do  not work, which harms growth directly. And because these dependants  make a claim on a country’s income without adding to it, they also  depress savings, thereby slowing the accumulation of capital and the  growth of productivity. In its latest Asian Development Outlook, the  Asian Development Bank calculates the contribution of Asia’s youthful  demographics to its economic success over the past decade. The bank also  projects the impact of a greying population on Asia’s growth from now  until 2030.
2 years ago
#The economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT  MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least  some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the  regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice.  Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that  continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the  surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010.  In the states which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income,  such as Nevada, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If  such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as  residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also  hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the  opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems  to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation  is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible  explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those  most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may  be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for  reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the  general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic  times.
2 years ago
#the economist #The Economist Daily Chart 
US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice. Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010. States like Nevada, which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic times.
2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Global health: Developing diseases

Non-communicable diseases account for the majority of deaths worldwide


NON-COMMUNICABLE diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the biggest killers on the planet, accounting for 63% of the 56m deaths in 2008. Such is their growing impact that the UN General Assembly is holding a two-day summit in New York this week to address their prevention and treatment. This is only the second time in history that the UN has convened on the topic of health (the first was to discuss AIDS). NCDs have long been considered a rich-world problem, but current figures show their increasing prevalency in developing countries. Indeed, of the 36m people killed by NCDs, some 80% live in low- and middle-income countries. These diseases are associated with increased prosperity and longevity, and the results are costly. The World Economic Forum estimates that NCDs will cost low- and middle-income countries $7 trillion over the next 15 years.
2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Gender inequality: Death and the maiden

Women and girls die prematurely in greater numbers than men


OVER a quarter of all excess female deaths occur in China at birth, says the World Bank’s annual World Development Report, published on September 19th. The number has risen since 1990 from 890,000 to 1.1m. These are the numbers of extra girls who would have been born if the normal sex ratio at birth (105 boys to 100 girls) had prevailed in China. It does not do so because of the practice of sex-selective abortion. Aborted girls account for the largest single share of excess female deaths worldwide, but other sorts of death have been growing faster, notably those of women of child-bearing age in Africa. The excess deaths of African women aged 15 to 49 (when compared with female death rates in rich countries) rose by 150% between 1990 and 2008. The number of excess deaths in African countries with high rates of HIV-AIDS increased by 760%. Excess female mortality is shifting from birth in East Asia to adulthood in Africa.


*Correction to this article
We mistakenly said that the natural sex ratio at birth is 105 girls to 100 boys when it is, of course, 105 boys to 100 girls. This was corrected on September 19th.
2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Public opinion on government spending: Splurge or slash?
How do the public feel about current levels of government spending?


VIEWS on the best way to deal with the rich-world’s debt problems vary across its countries, according to the latest annual survey of American and European public opinion by the German Marshall Fund, a think-tank. The poll shows clear support for austerity over stimulus in the rich world. That may be because announced austerity plans have yet to kick in: Britain is an exception to this, and there views seem to be more finely balanced. The biggest change in sentiment can be seen in the euro area. In 2009 only 8% of Italians thought their government was spending too much compared to 49% who now want it cut. In Portugal and Spain nearly one-third of those asked two years ago thought that too little was being spent, an opinion now held by only a fraction of that.
2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Employment: Defending jobs

Who are the world’s biggest employers?


ONE of the biggest headaches for policymakers in many rich countries has been how to create jobs during a period of fiscal austerity and anaemic growth. The private sector has been slow to generate jobs, and government-spending cuts usually end up cutting jobs. And governments employ a lot of people: in our chart of the ten biggest global employers, below, seven are government-run. America’s defence department had 3.2m people on its payroll last year, equivalent to 1% of the country’s population. China, the world’s most populous nation and a big military spender, employs 2.3m people in its armed forces. And the number of people working for the National Health Service in England is equivalent to over 2.5% of the country’s population. The three private companies are Walmart, McDonald’s and Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Company, a subsidiary of which is Foxconn, a secretive electronics manufacturer.
2 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart 
Government bonds: Dramatic yields

Which governments are perceived to issue the riskiest and the safest debt?


HOW much does Mr Market dislike Greece’s sovereign debt? The chart below, which shows the ten countries with the highest-yielding two-year paper, puts Athens in the kind of company that Greeks are unused to keeping. Shorter-dated Greek government bonds have even higher yields. On the other side of the ledger, money has flooded to safe havens like Switzerland, leading the Swiss government to announce measures to put a ceiling on the value of the Swiss franc. This brings its own risks, as our Buttonwood columnist points out.
2 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
The middle class: Bourgeois and proud
The ever-expanding middle class in developing countries


THE past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. Estimates from the Asian and African Development Banks, using a rather broad definition of middle class as living on $2-20 a day, confirm the picture. On this measurement, which includes many people who are only just above the poverty line, a third of Africans and three-quarters of Latin Americans were middle class in 2008. Meanwhile, the evidence that this progress will bring political demands that will reshape the developing world is mounting. 
3 years ago
#The economist #the economist daily chart 
Newborn deaths: Good news, sort of

The number of deaths among babies is declining


THE first 28 days of life are among the most dangerous in a human’s existence. In 2009 3.3m children died before they were four weeks old, down from 4.6m in 1990, according to a new paper from the World Health Organisation. The burden is not spread evenly. Five populous countries—India, Nigeria, Pakistan, China and the Congo—now account for more than half of all neonatal deaths. And though mortality rates for newborns are falling, progress is much faster in some regions than others. If current trends continue, neonatal mortality rates in Africa will not reach the rich world’s levels until 2166. 
3 years ago
#the economist #the economist daily chart