Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Each year, the Economist outs a skinny little book titled "Pocket World in Figures". Since I love data, I look forward to each new volume. And this years' data does not disappoint.

The top 5 nations when it comes to beer drinking…

  1. The Czech Republic
  2. Venezuela
  3. Russia
  4. Poland
  5. Australia

I'm certain that some nations are disappointed by the results. Better luck next year!


The top 5 nations when it comes to drinking the hard stuff…

  1. Finland
  2. Australia
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Russia
  5. Germany

Can we learn something from these statistics? Sure; Finn's don't like beer.


How about Press Freedom? The top 5 are…

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Sweden
  4. Japan
  5. Switzerland

The US? We ranked #27. That's still no excuse for the poor job they do.


Internet. The percentage of households with internet access…

South Korea – 94.3%

Iceland – 87.7%

Netherlands – 86.1%

Sweden – 84.4%

Norway – 84.0%

The US? We're at #25 with 62.5%. Internet access numbers also reflects just how serious a nation is when it comes to education.


When it come to computers (per 100 people), we're in 6th place. When it comes to mobile telephones, (per 100 people) we don't even make the top 50 nations. Broadband? We're number 14. We're also #14 when it comes to divorce rates.


Now the good stuff; health care costs! The highest health spending, as % of GDP…

  1. US of A – 15.7%
  2. Burundi – 13.9%
  3. Timor-Leste – 13.6%
  4. France – 11.0%
  5. Switzerland – 10.8%


Most hospital beds? We didn't make that list at all. But the American men scored 3rd in the world for obesity while American women could only come up with 6th place. We didn't make the highest or lowest numbers in death rates for infants or adults, so we just assume that we are somewhere in the middle. We are #32 for life expectancy at a combined age of 79.9 years. So if we spend all of that money on health care, what are we getting for the money? And how about DPT and measles immunizations? We don't make the top twenty on that number.


I could go on and on, but I won't. For now.


  1. I think the reason the northern countries drink the most is because it's so damn cold there! You gotta drink to stay warm! It has nothing to do with beer vs alcohol, it has to do with booze comfort, period!

  2. Obesity is a risk factor in asthma, cancer, depression, diabetes, and heart disease, which eat up 75% of the money we spend on health care. Reducing our health expenses to the level of Switzerland would save a family of four $6,000 a year.