We associate pasta with Italy, right? It may be what they're known for, but it's not necessarily what they do best.
According to data research, every country excels at one thing. So, you might be surprised to learn that Italy is good at producing kiwi fruits.
Information Is Beautiful spent months gathering facts on what world nation's are good at and illustrated the information into a map called, "International Number Ones." Data sources included: Forbes, The Economist, BBC, Reuters, and even the CIA.
In a world where it's easy to be critical of a nation's shortcomings, why not highlight their strengths instead? From Spain's high tolerance of LGBT communities to Nigeria's high concentration of Scrabble players, every country excels at something.
Data journalist and information designer David McCandless spent three weeks of research for this project.
McCandless shared the process by explaining, "Where there were multiple options for some countries, we chose the most
interesting or entertaining possibility - and kept the alternatives in
the datasheet. We tried to have really good quality sources for each entry. But we bent
our own 'information is beautiful' rules a little to include the
occasional lower quality secondary source just to try to hit our goal
and finding something for every country. It’s meant as a light-hearted
According to the map, Sweden yields great pop music, Lithuania has speedy wi-fi. And, did you know Maylaysia is the go-to place for rubber gloves, and Panama offers the best retirement?
The data is categorized into nine, color-coded distinct categories: Commodity, psychology, ecology, gastronomy, economy, nicety, humanity, technology and nasty.
The "nasty" category is highlighted in black and for good reason. They're not necessarily strengths worthy of praise. For example, female genitalia mutilation is common in Somalia, Honduras is associated with a lot of murder, and most jailed journalists are in China.
What follows is an assortment of some countries' strengths from all the different categories.
Thailand - rice
Zambia - Female Entrepreneurs
Keep reading for more on the next page.