The Most Important Map in the World

7 min readSep 9

It provides a quick view how nations function internally.

Gini Index Nations in the World. Source: Wikipedia.

This map shows the work of Corrado Gini, an Italian statistician, demographer, and sociologist. The Gini coefficient shows income inequality as it exists within a nation. The map will be repeated throughout this article.

1: World Bank Estimate.

Using data of the World Bank, this map shows how the internal setup of a nation influences income distribution in that nation. The percentages indicate the slant of a nation’s income inequality; the higher the percentage, the greater the inequality. The redder the color on the map, the more income the elite in a nation can call its own.

Starting with the worst outcomes, particularly visible in Southern Africa, one can envision the Gini coefficient of these nations as strongly influenced by an elite controlling enormous riches (think about, for instance, the mining of gold, diamonds, and minerals; industries in the hands of a few). The highly desired materials make the owners stand far above the lower ranking groups in society.

The same reality can be seen in Saudi Arabia with its oil production in the hands of an elite. Columbia, too, has oil, gold, coal, and emeralds.

Other nations can be wealthy in natural reserves, too, think Norway and their Northsea oil. Yet their Gini coefficient is found at the other end of the scale. The differences seen between the rich and the poor show much less of a gap in Norway than in South-Africa. There is more going on therefore than a nation having rich natural resources. The way a society organizes itself is a major influence in the distribution of income in that nation.

Looking at Europe, Bulgaria stands out, having the same level of inequality of income as Turkey and the United States. What can we tell about Bulgaria?

The CIA World Factbook provides some answers. Bulgaria has a strong prime-minister and a good number of parties. While not a clear indicator why the…