Comparing Countries the Easy Way

Map_of_USA_with_state_names_2.svgIf you read the news, you’ll often see one country compared to others using many different indices (measures; the singular is “index”). Many times, these indices have to do with political, economic, and social comparisons (looking for similarities and difference between two or more things).

I’ve come across an easy way for each of us to compare countries for a rough (approximate; not precise) idea of what it would be like living another country. If you visit the website, you can compare your country with another country using several common indices. First, look at the thin blue box in the center of the homepage to make sure the website has automatically determined (found; decided) that you’re in the correct country. Then, click on the name of any other country you see below.

The first thing you’ll see is a size comparison. For example, when I compare the United States with Japan, the outline (shape without the details) of Japan is superimposed (visually placed on top of) over a map of the United States, showing its relative (compared to each other) size. Then, I see a list of comparisons using several common factors.

The website uses several different sources of information for its data (information in numbers), but here are some definitions for common indices.

Unemployment rate: The number of adults who don’t have jobs out of the total workforce (total number of people who can and are available to work).
Infant mortality rate: The number of deaths of children under one year old out of every 1,000 live (not dead) births.
Rates of incarceration: The number of people in prison out for every 100,000 people.
Resource consumption: The amount of electricity, oil, and other resources people or households (everyone living in one home) uses.
Murder rate: The number of people killed out of every 100,000 people.
Birth rate: The number of live  babies born for every 1,000 people.

There are others, but these are the main comparisons.

Try doing a few comparisons yourself. If nothing else (even if you don’t benefit any other way), the size comparisons between countries are interesting, at least they were to me. Are you finding any surprising results?

~ Lucy

Image Credit: From Wikipedia

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27 Responses to Comparing Countries the Easy Way

  1. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy! Thanks.

    I had to compare Italy to the US and here’s what I got:

    Be 41.13% less likely to be unemployed. Source: CIA World Factbook
    Make 78.38% more money. Source: CIA World Factbook
    And these are the only green/positive things it showed me.

    The red ones:

    Be 4.7 times more likely to be murdered. Source: UNOonDandC (United Nation Office on Drugs and Crimes)
    Use more oil and electricity 2.5 and 2.4. Source: CIA World Factbook
    Experience 41% more of a class divide. Source: CIA World Factbook
    Be 86% likely to die in infancy. Source: CIA World Factbook
    Be 8 times more likely to be in prison. Source: International Center for Prison Studies.

    After that I had fun comparing other countries Japan, Israel, Iran.
    If you guys have not, try a comparison between your country and Vatican city. I am not going to spoil what the result is. Try it, it had me laughing.


  2. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    No, Lucy. Actually I am very curious about comparisons between countries. I have to say that I feel ashamed and humiliated when I see the comparisons between Brazil and other countries when the indices are about education. The country I see these comparisons is with South Chorea, which in the 60’s had one of the worst education in the world and today it is one of the best, just because they invested much money in education. With education it comes the wealth together. I’d like to feel proud of my country if government would put money to grow the education system. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say or to do for my country. Sorry, guys, if I didn’t make you feel happy with the news.
    Aecio, from ugly Brazil.

  3. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    If you plan to come to visit Brazil, choose a small city where the violence is not big. Watch the TV news and get acquired to Brazil. In big cities there are groups of hookers stealing and killing for nothing than money and drugs.

  4. peter says:

    Well , the comparison doesn’t have to be between two countries. it can simply be a comparison within a country in different times.

    For example in Canada ,all demographers were talking about ,in recent years, was the worrisome notion of aging population in Canada.
    Well ,guess what statistic Canada ,just recently , published an article riddled with staggering figures and charts that sadly shows that Canada finally arrived to the point that demographers forsaw it would come almost a decade ago.

    This year Canadian population line chart reads a sharp spike over the areas of 65 years old and over.
    What it is more signified more notable in the chart ,by comparison, is the fact that the number of Canadians 65 and over is more than Canadians age 16 and under.
    In percentage term 65 and above roughly forms 16.3 of the entire population ,whereas 16 years old are accountable for less than 15 percent of the entire population.

    One decade ago , the story had a complete opposit trends.

    All the figures ,numbers and charts screaming just one thing the aging is speeding as the cohort of people over 65 growth not showing any sign of slowing down. In fact the rate is 3.5 percent per year which ,by comparison , is faster than the rest of demographic group in Canada.

    Canada is aging people
    That concerns more than running comparisons among countries.

    Thanks Lucy for the terms

    I better punch out

  5. peter says:

    Dear comprades
    If you are a proud owner of an iPhone six set update to ISO9 read the following:
    Go to cellar data and turn off Wifi assist on the button of the page.
    Scroll all the way down,and the sneaky bastard is right there waiting to screw you over every time the main line wifi connection is Flickery.
    Wifi assist consumes the cellular data.
    U leave it on and before you know it u are over the monthly data cap.
    It switches over without any warning or something.
    So there is no telling wether your are using wifi or wifi assust.
    So ,at the time your celleral data get replenished rather reset ,u may have gone way over your monthly data coverage. the extra fee will come as a rude awakening.
    Off course ,no use crying over spilled milk.
    So ,nip it in the bud before it becomes problematic.
    Turn the damn thing off people.

    I better punch out

  6. Tania says:

    Very interesting the mentioned website, Lucy. We can use it when we want to know the development level of a country.
    A current problem is the aging of the population in many countries, as the young families have just one or two children.
    Thank you Peter for talking about the aging population in Canada. An interesting topic.

  7. Tania says:

    I have printed the U.S. map to use it when Jeff told us about a certain state from the U.S.
    In this way we can learn easier all states and their name pronunciation, and their location.
    Thank you.

  8. Tania says:

    Looking up my dictionary the word index, as I did not know its plural, I found the saying
    “in the forehead and the eye the index of the mind does lie”.
    I remember that this is what I wanted to say talking about Jeff’s eyes.

  9. Tania says:

    Learn English Magazine No. 8…
    I like all articles, as we can learn a lot from everyone.
    Fake Online Reviews (written opinions posted on the Internet)…
    New word to me “reviewer”, and the fact that writing fake (false) online reviews has become a business.
    Good or bad reviews can make or break a business (make successful or unsuccessful).
    Thank you for the tips on how to spot (find) fake reviews.

  10. Tania says:

    Learn English Magazine…
    And Traveling California – Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)… with very nice images.
    Interesting the history of the 21 missions that comprises California’s Historic Mission Trail.
    I have not known that mission means and church. But I know the word missionary, as we say “misionar”.
    I like the phrases, ” PCH hugs the coast”, and “the road hangs precariously (dangerously) from the cliffs”.
    Thank you, Warren.

  11. Tania says:

    All “Last Laugh” are funny with many new phrases or words.
    I read a part of them every day to keep in my mind new phrases.
    Thank you.

  12. peter says:

    By comparison ,Canada is the second world country in the world and the US comes right after Canada with a lot or two smaller :))))
    Seriously ,they are almost the same in size with Canada a few thousands square miles larger.
    Well but
    But , Interestingly enough , Canada has a tenth of U.S population. The U.S. Has a population of a tad over 300 milion and Canada’s is a tad over 30 million.
    That must make Canada a stretch of heaven on earth in terms of rent and housing prices.
    Well my friends ,make no mistake.
    shockingly enough,the trend is moving the exact opposite. The rent is so high up that consumes a large chunk of monthly incomes. And don’t get me start on housing market here in Canada.
    Why do the tent and home prices are insanely high? Honest ,it beats me too.

    I m no expert on the matter but I heard the homes and unite prices are way higher here then the most of the U.S.
    Why ? Again ,beats me.
    Let me add here that
    In Canada,every u go u see vast free lands spreading away as far as your eyes can lay at. And ,exactly it is where and when the very question hits u.
    Why ? Why am I paying 60 percent of my income for a damn close quarter as large as my three strides 🙂
    Guys the wonder never stops there.

    U know, what Canada is famous for ?
    Vast reservoirs of underground Water and gas
    Yet ,monthly utility and hydro bills alone are enough to render you bankrupt in a short run.

    I hear our comrades in the neighbouring country get moderate monthly hydro and utility bills in mail. Is it true ? Beat me!

    I am all taped out

  13. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    All who laughs last laughs better.

  14. Tania says:

    Hi Peter,
    Please tell us more about Canada.
    Many people from other countries live there saying that it is O.K. excepting the low temperatures
    in winter time. And the winter is too long.
    And too long distances to their jobs. And not everyone has a job. But every thing is perfect.

  15. peter says:

    Hi Jeff ,

    I don’t know if u recall but a few months back u provided Eslpod members with a slew of tips as to optimizing our learning outcome.
    Well ,as u know me ,I never take your expert advice lightly.
    One of the tips was : do a lot of reading.
    Well ,I never put down books since.
    All I m trying to see here is that I m starting to see your points.
    I find reading very effective.

    Well ,I know ,it is off subject
    I just wanted to thank you for the tips

    Thanks boss

  16. peter says:

    Hi Tania,

    Don’t let me start on winter in this subarctic country.
    All the rumour you hear about the bitter winter in Canada is accurate, and 100 percent true.
    Except that it is not the cold ,but the bitting wind chill that penetrates to bone and spread out the entire body.
    People here ,at least people I know , dread winter.
    It is long. The winter always linger here so far as people get the impression that the cold never gonna die down and blow over.
    Every where you go , you hear people bitching about how cold is out side and that they are wearing too many lawyers that is limiting their movement and making them feel uncomfortable.

    Today ,is getting cold and I m still in bed writing. Normally ,I m up by now but I dread to go out.

    Trust me , I am not stretching the truth by saying that winter in Canada is brutal ,scary ,and frigid.
    U see icicles. Can u believe it?
    Actual and real icicles.

    But ,what makes it all worst is the constant ,implacable wind.

    Toronto is famous for its winds.
    Regardless the season ,it is always windy. I suppose the reason behind is that Toronto is a vast ,flat sprawling city. I mean ,regardless the direction you gaze upon ,all you see is that the ground spread out and reaches the horizon and above. There is no mountain. No even a God damn hill.
    Man ,I better drag myself out of bed or I m gonna loose my job.

    Well, there is one thing that in a way alleviate the ordeal -that is- in the city ,I mean just downtown , there is this labyrinth of under ground passages that is called ” The path” connecting places to gether.
    So , in winter time , if you are lucky enough to work downtown , you can reach your work without fighting the elements.

    U jump to a close by buss or subway stations , if you find a nearby buss or subway station that I highly doubt it , and go all the way down town. Once in down town ,you never go out to the surface streets instead you use the labyrinth paths to get to work.
    Well , u gonna get turned around for the first month or two as it is not easy to learn rather get your bearings in the damn winding pathes which is called ” The path.”

    I will get to the rest later ,unless u want me to run around the city fighting the cold with a bundle of resumes in my hand 🙂

    Hope I depict an accurate picture for u.

    Canada is beautiful but never in winter


  17. peter says:

    Dear Tania
    allow me to add that Toronto ,and Canada at large is my domicile.
    The world’s second large country with its intact nature definitely has more to offer than a soulless winter. That I can assure you of.

    Well , it is not the land of milk and honey. It has it’s ups and downs like the rest of lands across the big rock we all call ” planet earth.”

    The winter is harsh no doubt about it ,but the mesmerizing ,magnificent short fall here with the crisp ,fresh air and all the colourful trees lining up around major streets and parks all around the cities across Canada is surly making up for whatever winter throws at us.
    Let’s not belittle the summer here with all it offers: breathtaking sceneries as you drive along the intercity highways to reach to numerous camp-ground sites with timbered cottages ,lake and all other facilities that facilitates a quick recovery from the humdrum of a hectic city life.

    And spring speaks for itself


  18. Dan says:

    Hey everyone! How are you doing? I am fine, doing good.

    Lucy is right, the best thing about that website is the immediate understanding of countries’ sizes by superimposition.

    Italy as a land area in Km2 is comparable to Arizona and New Mexico.


  19. lili:) says:

    Thank you Dear Lucy for providing us an insight into the world through the CIA’s website.

    I am not sure people in China can access to the CIA’s website. But I can.

    Since aims to teach English to the whole world, it must be very important for you Lucy and Jeff to include information like this in your Research and Development.

    However, how accurate is the information? Can you really rely on it?

    Well, I’m an old woman and I don’t have to worry about anything beyond my home boundary. I spent the whole day yesterday struggling with logging into my internet bank account but failed because of incorrect passwords. I blame my bad memory on learning too much English. I really must pay more attention to my own life than anything else.

    Nevertheless, I simply could not forget about learning English here. I’m absolutely excited to read your article and everyone’s comment above.

    Then, I just click, click and click, and I got to know so much about the Vatican City, (thanks Dan for introducing Vatican City to us). The Pope is visiting many countries right now and so it’s nice to learn more about the Vatican City, although it seems the CIA is not very good at collecting information on Vatican City.

    OK, the results for me are as follows:

    (A). If Hong Kong were your home instead of United Kingdom you would…

    (i) Green
    be 56.94% less likely to be unemployed
    make 41.29% more money
    live 2.36 years longer
    be 38.51% less likely to die in infancy
    be 10% less likely to be murdered
    be 4.2% less likely to be in prison
    be 50% less likely to have HIV/AIDS

    (ii) Red:
    consume 2.5 times more oil
    experience 66.25% more of a class divide
    use 22.56% more electricity

    (iii) Blue:
    have 23.24% fewer babies

    (B). If China were your home instead of United Kingdom you would…

    (i) Green:
    be 43.06% less likely to be unemployed
    spend 91.18% less money on health care
    consume 62.3% less oil
    use 22.6% less electricity
    be 20% less likely to be murdered
    be 50% less likely to have HIV/AIDS

    (ii) Red:
    die 5.27 years sooner
    be 3.3 times more likely to die in infancy
    make 73.73% less money
    experience 46.44% more of a class divide

    (iii) Blue:
    be equally as likely to be in prison
    have 0.41% fewer babies

    As I said, I’m old and nothing matters anymore apart from “consume 2.5 times more oil in Hong Kong”!!! But, it’s still fun to find out.

    Many thanks again.

    Best Regards


  20. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Hi, Lucy, today is Saturday, but in fact I am looking forward to Sunday, tomorrow, with a new podcast with new ideas and new topics. Do you have something good for us? Of course you do. I hope so.
    Aecio, from Brazil

  21. Dan says:

    Hey lili.

    Just to let you know that the website has nothing to do with the CIA.
    They are only using the CIA world book as a source.

    I just wanted to have that clear for everyone.


  22. Dan says:

    Me again, sorry.

    I just wanted to share something I read on the CIA’s website reading
    about the World factbook.
    It reads: “We share this information with the people of all nations in the belief that knowledge of the truth underpins the functioning of free societies”

    I agree with that.


  23. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Hi, Jeff. Tomorrow will be Tuesday and there will be another podcast, English Café. I can’t wait.

  24. Dr. Lucy Tse says:

    The World Factbook is a series of reference materials produced by the U.S. federal government through the Central Intelligence Agency. It uses information from scientific, military, governmental agency, periodical, and other sources and are listed on their website as follows:

    “Information is provided by Antarctic Information Program (National Science Foundation), Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (Department of Defense), Bureau of the Census (Department of Commerce), Bureau of Labor Statistics (Department of Labor), Central Intelligence Agency, Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs, Defense Intelligence Agency (Department of Defense), Department of Energy, Department of State, Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the Interior), Maritime Administration (Department of Transportation), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (Department of Defense), Naval Facilities Engineering Command (Department of Defense), Office of Insular Affairs (Department of the Interior), Office of Naval Intelligence (Department of Defense), US Board on Geographic Names (Department of the Interior), US Transportation Command (Department of Defense), Oil & Gas Journal, and other public and private sources.”

    None of the information provided in the World Factbook is “classified” (considered secret and protected), and is open information available through the U.S. government. You can access the World Factbook directly:
    “Abridged” (or shortened) versions of the website are available in several languages, including Arabic, Chinese (simplified), French, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish:

  25. Dan says:

    Thanks Lucy.

    Jeez! How many departments!
    That’s kind of scary. It reminds me of those mythical monsters
    with several heads.
    I am not criticizing. It’s just my first thought reading all that list of government agencies.
    By the way, using a key word like CIA, right now we are probably getting spied by some other agency like the NSA.

    Bye, thanks

  26. Dan says:

    Me again, sorry.

    That’s the creature’s name I was looking for.
    I am learning that there also is this mythical creature called Chimera.
    Good! I like cute animals.


  27. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Thanks, Lucy, for the additional information. As always, you rule.

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