Maps are obviously incredibly useful tools for navigational purposes, but if you’re creative enough, you can also use them to inform people about a whole range of interesting and weird things. Like, for instance, which countries still live under a monarchy? Or which ones have ever had a female leader? How big is Africa really? Where are the hairiest men on Earth found? All these facts and more can be told through some pretty eye-opening maps.
Lion populations of the past vs. the present
This map tells a depressing story. In red, we see all the places lions could be found historically. In blue, we see where they can be found today. The drop in their population is stark when boiled down to colors on a map. Where once lions called large swathes of Africa, India, and even parts of Europe home, now they survive only in tiny pockets.
The cold numbers make for grim reading. As recently as a century ago, there were around 200,000 lions alive. Now, it’s barely more than 20,000. In the last 25 years alone, their population has been halved.
The world’s life satisfaction
Happiness is nearly impossible to measure or quantify, but social scientists have tried to do so nonetheless. This map shows the results of one such effort. Participants from around the world were asked to picture a ladder, where the step at the bottom equated to zero and the one at the top equated to ten. To be at the top of the ladder, at number ten, would mean you felt your life was as good as it possibly could be, while being at the bottom, naturally, meant you felt it was as bad as could be.
The participants were then asked where on the ladder they stood. This all seems overly elaborate — they could have just asked on a scale of zero to ten, right? — but the map shows us which countries fared better than others. The ones with lighter colors were the places where participants reported being highest up the ladder, or "most happy," while the darker ones were where people claimed to be near the bottom, or "least happy."
Who brings the Christmas gifts?
Christmas Eve is a busy night for Santa Claus, as he sets out with his reindeer to deliver gifts to children all over the world. But not every kid, it seems, knows him by the same name. No, this magical fellow is known by different names depending on the country. Translated directly into English, a lot of these monikers just sound odd to those of us who only know Santa by one name.
There’s the paternal Father Christmas, which anyone with any British friends will be aware of. But there's also Grandfather Frost, Daddy Christmas, Christmas Man, and Christmas Gnome in other parts of the world.
Highest paid job per state
If you’re thinking about training for a new job and want high wages to be a sure bet, perhaps this is the map you should consult. It shows us the best paying jobs within each U.S. state, based on yearly mean wage numbers, which ensures outliers are cut out. For example, A-list actors in California make lots of money, but smaller actors tend not to. Anesthesiologists, on the other hand, tend to make decent money as an entire group.
So, with that in mind, we can see how working in medicine is pretty much where you want to be, if you want to be pretty sure of making money. All across the country, it’s those professionals who come out on top.