GDP. The extreme poverty of much of sub-Saharan Africa causes the region almost to wither from view, while western Europe, the US, Japan and South Korea swell and assume a deep purple hue. The heft of China’s and India’s emerging economies is clearly visible from the nations’ size, but there is some way to go before Chinese and Indian citizens catch up with those of the richest countries.

GDP growth

GDP growth. It’s not just where you are, but in which direction you’re moving. That’s one reason why so much concern surrounds a nation’s rate of growth. Viewed by absolute growth in GDP in the first decade of the millennium, China was the clear winner, making impressive gains both overall and at the individual level. People across much of eastern Europe also had a good decade.

Human Development Index

Human Development Index. Are nations converting their wealth into tangible well-being for their citizens? HDI, incorporating life expectancy, educational attainment and income, aims to answer this question. Norway is the world leader. China and India lag on the index measure, but their vast populations, representing enormous human capital, cause them to swell in size and dominate the map. The anemic appearance of Africa, meanwhile, tells a sorry story of the continent’s development gap.

Happy Planet Index

Happy Planet Index. In generating wealth, we’re using natural resources unsustainably. HPI accounts for this trade-off, measuring national success in delivering long, contented lives, but reducing scores according to nations’ ecological footprints — the land area needed to provide for the average citizen's consumption. Costa Rica leads the world; profligate consumption explains the pale and emaciated appearance of the US. Can China and India can reduce their footprints and turn their economies a deeper green?