They say everyone has one thing they’re good at. The same can be said for countries, too. There’s a country out there that has the most of something, the least of something, the biggest, the smallest, you name it. Now, no one said the things these countries are famous for have to be good or desirable, but that’s irrelevant. Sometimes your claim to fame is just really weird or unexpected.
10. The US Has the Most Extreme Weather
The United States is famous for a lot of things and there’s no doubt that people from all over the world want to go there. Before Covid, the United States was welcoming over 160 million tourists per year. More than one million immigrants arrive every year as well. So we can all agree America has a lot of appeal to people abroad.
It’s somewhat surprising then that America can also lay claim to the worst weather in the world. That’s not in the sense that it rains too much, that’s in the sense that it has the most devastatingly terrible weather. The US gets more tornadoes than anywhere else on Earth. Over 1,000 per year touch down in America. And that’s just for the start.
Factor in the floods, the droughts, the hurricanes, heat waves and blizzards and nowhere else can offer up such extreme weather diversity. It’s been called “high impact weather” and the US just has an abundance of it.
9. Suriname is the Greenest Country
Green is a real buzzword in the modern world, not as a color but a concept. Green energy, going green, green spaces, they’re all desirable things. After chopping down an incalculable number of trees, people started believing they were worth keeping around and supporting and the struggle between those who want to keep things green and those who don’t really care so much continues.
In terms of just open, beautiful green space, there are a lot of countries that can certainly boast of their forests and jungles. But of all the countries in all the world, no place is quite as green as Suriname, the small South American country that is 94% rainforest.
Because of all the forests and the relatively small population of just over 600,000, the country is considered carbon negative with its trees offsetting any dangerous emissions from pollution. It was the first of two countries in the world to hit this status in 2021 and one of only 10 in the world that can make that claim.
8. Sweden Has the Most Islands
There are many famous islands in the world from Bali to Ibiza to Hawaii but, for all the islands dotting the oceans of the world, not many of us stop to consider where you can find more of them than anywhere else.
People love to vacation in the Caribbean and it can lay claim to over 700 tropical destinations. Greece is known for its islands and there are over 6,000 of them. Indonesia has around 18,000 islands. But if you really want to go island hopping, you need to look a little further north. Sweden takes the crown for the most islands in the world with 267,750 of them.
The whole Nordic region is so saturated with islands it’s amazing anyone ever got out to sea past them all. Norway has 239,057 and Finland has 178,947. In fact, if you want to visit the most island-rich nation that isn’t in Northern Europe you have to go to Canada which can claim 52,455.
It’s worth noting that figures don’t always add up the same. Ten different websites might give you ten different answers about how many islands Sweden has precisely, but even when a site drops Sweden’s total down to around 220,000, they’re still head and shoulders above every other nation.
7. Iceland Has No Mosquitoes
Iceland is the Land of Fire and Ice thanks to its glaciers and volcanoes. It’s known for its Viking history and Skyr yogurt. One lesser known claim to fame but one that no other populated country in the world shares and that’s mosquitoes. Iceland has no mosquitoes. The only other place on Earth where you won’t find mosquitos is Antarctica, and at least it has the excuse of being a secluded, frozen desert at the bottom of the world. Iceland has other countries all around it, all of which do, in fact, have mosquitos.
Mosquitos are actually the deadliest creature in the world, responsible for over 800,000 deaths per year. But Iceland is such a unique country that the little bloodsuckers haven’t managed to gain a foothold. In other northern climates, mosquitos can still thrive. You can find them in Norway, Scotland, Russia, Canada and even Greenland. In the winter, the pupa hibernate beneath the ice and are revived when the land thaws. But Iceland’s climate bounces around so the winter may experience sudden thaws and then freezes again and again. This causes mosquitoes to emerge and then quickly die. It’s also speculated that the chemical composition of Icelandic soil is inhospitable to mosquito life.
6. Papua New Guinea Has the Most Languages
Language can be very fluid. Some languages die out completely when the people who spoke it all vanish from the world and fewer may have a chance at resurrection one day. Some languages are only spoken by a handful of people and others are made up to add some flavor to a work of fiction and end up being a whole, speakable language with people learning it all around the world. Currently, there are over 7,000 spoken languages on Earth.
It’d be impossible for someone to learn all of those languages and very difficult to even experience all of them firsthand. But your best bet if you ever wanted to try would be to start in Papua New Guinea which is the most linguistically diverse country on Earth.
Though most people speak English and a handful of other languages, there are speakers of Native languages throughout the nation and those total somewhere around 850. Indonesia comes in second with just over 700 spoken languages. The United States is 5th with 328 spoken languages.
There is fear that many of those languages will soon be lost as younger generations stick to just the “main” languages but, for now at least, Papua New Guinea remains the most diverse of all lands
5. Ireland Consumes More Calories Per Day Than Any Other Nation
It’s no big secret that a lot of people in the world are maybe not as healthy as they should be. People in America are notorious for not getting enough exercise. Nearly a quarter of Americans eat out more than once a week. Based on research from 2018, the average American is consuming 3,782 calories per day
But despite America being the focus of so many statistics and articles about unhealthy living, it’s not the country that takes the title for consuming the most calories per capita per day. That honor goes to Ireland. The per capita intake of calories in the Emerald Isle is 3,885. It may only be the difference of eating two celery stalks, but it counts.
4. Iceland is the Only Country With Near Total Internet
It’s time to head back to Iceland which has more than just a lack of mosquitoes going for it. Turns out, if you like to live your life online, then Iceland is the place to be.
Data on this issue is complicated at the best of times and seems to vary from source to source. It can also mean different things. How many people use the internet compared to what percentage of people use the internet compared to what percentage of people could use the internet. And based on that last one, a question of access, Iceland is the most connected nation in the world. According to statistics, the entire population of Iceland has access to the internet.
The widespread internet in Iceland was thanks to the government’s plan to introduce high-speed fiber internet to everywhere in the country, rural and otherwise, by 2020 in the hopes of ensuring 99.9% of homes were connected. By 2019 they were working on plans to connect the final 1,500 houses in the country that were without it.
3. Bhutan Converts More CO2 Than it Produces
We saw earlier that Suriname is the greenest nation, and it’s also carbon negative but there is one country in the world that beat Suriname to the punch when it comes to being carbon negative and converting more CO2 than it produces and that is Bhutan.
Not only is Bhutan carbon negative, compared to other nations it’s incredibly efficient and clean. In fact, the country is able to remove three times as much CO2 from the atmosphere as it produces.
Of course, Bhutan’s secret is less about having amazing technology or a remarkable approach to pollution management than it is about circumstance. The country has a lot of green space with about 70% of it covered in forest and plants. The population is very low at around 750,000 and, arguably the biggest piece of the puzzle, it’s very underdeveloped compared to other nations. Most of the population works in agriculture, there aren’t tons of cars driving around and huge cities burning oil.
All of these factors together ensured that, for years, Bhutan was the world’s only carbon negative country.
2. The Czech Republic is the Most Non-Religious
In 2012, there were around 1.1 billion people in the world who considered themselves unaffiliated with any religion. That’s about 16% of the population. That wasn’t to say they had no spiritual beliefs at all, they just didn’t claim to be connected to any established religion. Around the world, only six countries had a majority of religiously unaffiliated citizens. Most of those countries were found in Asia and included China, Hong Kong, Japan and North Korea. Europe rounded out the six with Estonia and then the most irreligious country on Earth – the Czech Republic. According to research for Pew, 76% of the population in the Czech Republic are not affiliated with a religion.
What is meant by being irreligious is, of course, a little hard to figure out. Based on the numbers five years later, it was down to 72% but only 25% of those claimed to be totally atheist. A total of 46% of those who answered gave the vague answer of their religion being “nothing in particular.”
1. The US is the Biggest Oil Producer in the World
The world has run on oil for a very long time and the only thing bigger than the oil industry itself is the money tied up in it. Wars are fought over it and, without fuel, the economy would grind to a halt. Until we master and fully implement better alternatives across the board, it’s an integral part of how the world works. And for all the turmoil caused by oil in the Middle East and natural gas in Russia and even oil sands up in Canada, it’s the United States that actually ranks as the world’s biggest oil producer.
While Saudi Arabia is able to churn out 11 million barrels of oil per day, the United States was producing 16.6 million per day in 2021 according to BP. Alternate data from the US Energy Information Administration actually boosts those numbers to 18.98 million barrels per day. That means the United States produces 20% of all the oil in the entire world. On the flip side, the US consumes 21% of the world’s oil.