13 Maps That Explain India In Comparison To The Rest Of The World

13 Maps That Explain India In Comparison To The Rest Of The World
The Washington Post was instrumental in starting a trend sometime late last year. One that tried to simplify the world’s many conundrums by providing us relative comparisons of countries with respect to different scales and subjects, through the visual representations of a map. While we have since learned, from pop culture no less, that the maps we’ve grown up with are quite possibly entirely wrong, it’s definitely a more interesting way to learn about stuff than, well, wordy, undulating articles. Either way, we decided to take a cue from the pioneers and put together this collection of maps that do a fairly good job of showcasing India’s position in a global context, across a number of interesting and unrelated issues. Some of them may seem less necessary than others, but all are equally fascinating when you apply your own analyses to them. Plus we've included links for further reading in as many of these maps as possible.
Without further ado, here they are. 15 (two for bonus because we're nice like that) maps that explain India, within the context of the rest of the world.

I. We have the highest number of enslaved individuals in the world.

The Map: Where the world's 30 million slaves live

How it works: It is colour coded to signify the density of the concentration of slaves in the world. Countries that are more yellow, have a lower number, while countries like India which are darker, belong to the other extreme end of the scale.


II. We are one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

How Humans Spread Across The World

How It Works: The map shows where the first waves of migration went, when humans first began leaving Africa.


III. There was more terrorism in Eastern India (in 2012) than a lot of the Middle East.

The Map: All terror attacks worldwide in 2012 

How It Works: The concentration of dots indicates the presence of terrorism at all, while the colour demarcates the intensity/frequency of the same. As such, the redder the colour, the higher is the intensity of those attacks, putting North Eastern India right up there with the Middle East as far as relative scales go.


IV. We’re not as hospitable as we think (So much for atithi devo bhava?)

The Map: Where people are the most and least welcoming to foreigners 

How It Works: As part of a World Economic Forum report on global tourism, they actually compiled compelling data of each countries’ population’s attitude towards foreigners. The colour grading is such that countries that are more blue indicate a better attitude while countries moving towards red are less hospitable.

As the map clearly shows, despite Indian customs being in line with great hospitality, we’re still nowhere close to the acceptance levels in countries like huge chunks of New Zealand, Iceland or even America. However, we are better off that Russia, Bolivia and Venezuela and some expectedly troubled states like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia but at least they have serious internal conflict to cite as an excuse.


V. We’re one of the worst places in the world to be born.

The Map: The Best And Worst Places To Be Born

How It Works: The Economic Intelligence unit looked at 80 countries, scoring them across 11 variables to determine "which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead."


VI. We’re not as emotional as the 'K' serials we love to watch.

The Map: The countries where people are the most and least emotional

How It Works: People in yellow countries are the least likely to report having emotional experiences of any kind, positive or negative. Purple countries are where people report experiencing the most feelings.


VII. Incomes in India are more equitably distributed than in America.

The Map: How countries compare on economic inequality

How It Works: Based on the Palma Ratio, which measures the gap between the rich and poor, bluer countries experience more equality in income distribution than red countries.


VIII. We’re moving backwards as far as gay rights are concerned.

The Map: Gay Rights Around The World

How It Works: Blocks of colour variate countries’ progression as far as gay rights are concerned by looking at their legal systems and how they treat homosexuality. Countries in grey, like India, imply the lack of any laws pertaining to the same but things have changed since this map was made.


IX. In comparison to others, we don't smoke quite as much as we thought. 

The Map: Where people smoke the most (and least) cigarettes per person

How it works: The colours represent different ranges (of numbers) of cigarettes smoked per person in the country.


X. We’re one of the worst countries to be a mother in.

The Map: Best & Worst Countries To Be A Mother

How It Works: The colour index on this map, based on a report by Save The Children, indicates that bluer countries are far better places to be a mother while the ones moving in the opposite direction are quite literally ‘in the red’ as far as being a mother is concerned.


XI. We love god more than many, many others.

The Map: Where the atheists live

How it works: A 2012 poll by Win/Gallup International asked more than 50,000 people in 40 countries whether they considered themselves “religious,” “non religious” or “convinced atheist” and made the following inferences based on it.


XII. Our economic activity is still relatively low

The Map: The World Light Map

How It Works: For the most part, it’s difficult to measure things as abstract as economic activity but there are simpler ways to take a stab at guessing how developed a country is. Take this Light map for example, essentially satellite images of the world at night and it quickly becomes clear that light is a good estimator of population density and progress together.


XIII. We’re not as happy as a lot of the world

The Map: The happiest and least happy countries in the world

How it works: Columbia University’s world happiness ranking attempted to measure happiness using a series of social metrics including more obvious ones like wealth, health, political stability and economic equality among others.



A. We've got way too many people over in our corner.

The Map: More than half of humanity lives inside this circle 

How It Works: By drawing a circle around India and China for starters!


B. More than half of our country's households don't have a toilet to call their own.

The Map: How many Indian homes have toilets

How It Works: Higher density of green dots indicate the presence of bathrooms per house.

“continues to be a big concern for the country.”
“Cultural and traditional reasons,” he argued, “and lack of education seemed to be the primary reasons for this unhygienic practice. We have to do a lot in these areas.”

For more interesting statistics that were uncovered by this survey, click here.

Words: Mandovi Menon