You can learn a lot about the world by looking at the telecommunications industry. The maps and charts below show the number of cell and main line phones per capita for every country and city state in the world. Some of the statistics they throw up are very surprising.
- Macau has an amazing 2.74 cell phone subscriptions for every person. This figure is so high as a large number of Chinese residents choose to register their mobiles through Macau.
- The top 20 is made up of newer high income countries. Traditional high income countries are well down the list.
- The United States ranks in 115th place.
- Monaco is the only place in the world that has more main line telephones in use than people living in the country. There is 1.46 main line phones for every permanent resident.
- This map looks much more like a stereotypical division of rich and poor countries. All the traditional economic powerhouses are near the top of the rankings.
- For main lines per person the United States is in 35th place.
What do These Maps Show
Africa's Mobile Revolution
Looking at the main lines per capita map above shows just how poor communications have historically been in the world's poorest continent. In fact 18 of the 20 bottom ranked countries on this map are in Africa (the other two are Afghanistan and Haiti).
But cell phones have completely revolutionized communications in Africa. People living in countries in the north and south of Africa have a very high number of cell phones per person, and it is well documented that this increased connectivity has helped many African countries grow their economies.
Cell Phones In New Money Countries
Most of the countries that have experienced rapid economic growth in the last 20-50 years feature towards the top end of the cell phone per capita map, but rank much lower for main lines in use.
As these countries have become richer, people's access to telecommunications devices has improved. More recent wealth means a larger investment in the newer technology, which is obviously cell phones.
Main Lines Important to Smaller Countries?
Many of the countries and city states that rank in the top 20 for the main line map have very small populations, which is interesting.
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About the Data
- These maps and charts were created with data from the CIA World Factbook.
- The cell phone is based on the total number of active mobile telephone subscriptions in each country.
- The fixed telephone data shows the number of main line telephones currently in use in each country.
- We have used the same country/city state classifications as this source.