It’s human nature to want to be the best. To have the most, to achieve more, and to rack up some numbers that make you a standout. It doesn’t even matter what it’s in reference to, we just really like numbers. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes not. But it becomes much more interesting when we go to a larger scale and look at whole populations who do the most, have the most, and so on. The per capita stats can say a lot about a place, even if it’s not always complimentary.
10. Vatican City Has the Highest Per Capita Wine Consumption
Lots of people around the world enjoy a cold beer or a snifter of port when the mood strikes. That said, when it comes to wine, it’s not the French who take the cake for enjoying the most electric grape juice, it’s the good people of Vatican City.
According to research from the California Wine Institute, the average Vatican City resident enjoyed 74 liters of wine per year in 2012. Italy as a whole only clocks in with half that number, as does France. In America, it’s a paltry 3.18 gallons or just over 12 liters per capita.
Based on the size of an average wine bottle, we’re looking at nearly 100 bottles a year for the people of Vatican City. Keep in mind, however, that Vatican City has a preposterously small population of around 800 residents and, aside from a few Swiss guards and others, almost no one has children. Those details will skew the stats considerably to make residents seem a little bit more saucy than the average European or North American.
9. Estonia Has the Most Models Per Capita
Have you ever wondered what the prettiest country in the world is? Not in terms of scenery, but people. Where do the beautiful people live? Well, that’s a very shallow question, and shame on you for thinking it. But if we were trying to objectify and quantify beauty we might start by considering a profession known for beauty, such as modeling. And who has the most models? Turns out it’s Estonia.
Statistically speaking, Estonia produces more models than any other country with 74 models per million citizens. They even use it to try to bolster tourism while also mentioning their the 3rd tallest nation in Europe as well.
Of course, Estonia is still a small country and they don’t have more models overall than most nations. The United States still produces more models than any other nation, just not per capita.
8. Uruguay Has the Most Cows Per Capita
Do you like beef and/or milk? Well then, there’s a good chance you like cows. There’s obviously a big dairy industry in America with around 92 million cows roaming the countryside somewhere. But the industry does get bigger in other places and, on a per capita basis, the United States actually ranks down at number eight.
The biggest cattle producer per capita is Uruguay. There are nearly 12 million cows in Uruguay but only 3.45 million citizens. That means there are almost three and a half cows for everyone in the country. Americans only get 0.28 cows each.
Since 2006, beef has been the biggest export in Uruguay, raking in over a billion dollars for their economy as a result.
7. Canadians Produce the Most Trash Per Capita
Canadians have long been praised for their politeness. On the world stage that seems to be what they’re most well known for along with things like Mounties, maple syrup, and beavers. But there is at least one other thing they can claim as their own – Canadians are the filthiest people on the planet. Canada produces more trash per capita than any other nation.
Every year, Canada produces 36.1 metric tons of waste per capita. That’s ahead of the United States which clocks in at 25.9 tons placing them in third and second place trash mongers Bulgaria with 26.7 tons.
This doesn’t mean every individual Canadian is a Godzillian trash monster unto themselves. The average Canadian household could never put out 36 tons of trash in a year at all, or at least you should hope they don’t have that many Tim Hortons cups to toss out. Nearly all of that waste is industrial. So this means Canadian business is run just remarkably poorly and inefficiently. Efforts to divert more waste from landfills are increasing, but not as well as other countries have managed it.
6. New Hampshire Holds The Title of State With Most Beer Consumption
New Hampshire residents love to drink, at least compared to every other state. The per capita consumption of alcohol has New Hampsherites drinking 4.43 gallons per capita or close to 17 liters. Year to year the stats change a little bit, of course, but New Hampshire invariably stays at the top of the pack.
In 2017 that number broke down to 1.96 gallons of spirits, 1.88 gallons of beer, and 0.88 gallons of wine. Again, in each individual category, New Hampshire was still at the top of the list.
Data that was collected to reflect people only over the age of 21 changes the look of things slightly. What seemed like maybe a fairly tame amount of alcohol increases significantly if you disregard everyone underage. Now the residents of New Hampshire consume 41.5 gallons or 157 liters of beer per person.
If you feel bad about this, don’t worry, it’s nowhere near the total for worldwide consumption of alcohol by any means. That honor goes to Eastern Europe and places like Czechia where, in 2019, residents drank 14.26 liters of pure alcohol in a year per capita. That number sounds suspiciously low but only because it’s “pure alcohol.” So a 12-ounce beer only has 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.
If there are 33.8 ounces in a liter, then the people of Czechia had about 482 ounces of pure alcohol per capita. If a beer is 0.6 ounces, then they’re drinking over 800 beers a year.
5. The Netherlands Eat Far More Mushrooms Than Anyone Else
Do you like mushrooms? If you’re not a huge fan, you probably don’t want to head to the Netherlands any time soon because man, do the Dutch love mushrooms. The Dutch eat 11.62 kilograms of mushrooms per year, which is just shy of 26 pounds. Ireland comes in second with just over half that amount. Americans eat about 3.65 pounds per capita.
Globally, China is the biggest producer and consumer of mushrooms but on a per capita basis they rank very low with a mere 1.16 kilograms. The Netherlands, on the other hand, has been steadily and intentionally growing its mushroom industry since the 1950s. Today there are over 120 companies growing mushrooms in the Netherlands and it’s fast becoming one of the biggest exporters in the world.
4. Finland Produces the Most Heavy Metal Bands
Is artistry linked to culture? Are some people more inclined to be artistic than others? It’s an interesting proposition but certainly one that would be hard to either prove or disprove without a lot of historical and sociological data. But one thing you can look at, devoid of any context, is straight numbers. For instance, per capita, Finland produces more heavy metal bands than anywhere else in the world.
Scandinavia, in general, has an affinity for loud, heavy music. But Finland produces 53.2 heavy metal bands per 100,000 residents. That’s ahead of second place Sweden which only clocks in at 37.14 bands.
So what is going on in Finland that makes them love those hardcore guitar licks so much? Speculation can run rampant but there are some other interesting things to take into account. For instance, Finland also ranks as the happiest country in the world. Maybe heavy metal allows the Finnish people to work out their negative feelings in a country notoriously conservative about speaking on such things. Or, as others have suggested, maybe it speaks to that violent and intense Viking heritage in a more modern and manageable way.
3. Argentina Has the Most Pets Per Capita
Americans love their house pets. About 66% of all American households own pets, with dogs the hands-down favorite pet followed by cats and then fish in a distant third. But as much as Americans love their pets they are still not even in the same ballpark as the people of Argentina. Argentinians really love their animals.
Argentina has the most pets per capita of any nation in the world. That’s not to say other countries don’t have more pets by sheer numbers – there are more dogs in America than there are people in Argentina. In one study, 66% of Argentinians claimed to be dog owners while 32% had cats.
2. Samoa Produces More NFL Players Than Anywhere Else
Many young men aspire to be professional athletes one day and, to that end, spend years playing sports at school. Those who excel in high school can get college scholarships and then you’re closing in on the big bucks with a contract in the big leagues. Maybe.
Talent can come from all over and scouts are always hunting for the next big thing but NFL scouts probably endure a little less stress when they go looking in Samoa because, for whatever reason, Samoa produces more NFL players per capita than anywhere else.
In 2019, three percent of the league were Samoan players which means Samoans are 40 times more likely to be in the NFL than others from the rest of the population at large. A Samoan male is 56 times more likely to be an NFL player than a non-Samoan.
Why are Samoans so big in the NFL? The culture takes football seriously. It’s hugely popular and nearly everyone plays. Because they have a history of excelling, the new generations push that much harder. Football is a window to success, not just in the NFL but to get a scholarship and an education, opportunities that may not be available otherwise.
1. Iceland has More Writers Per Capita Than Anywhere in the World
It’s hard to say what makes a person want to create things. Can it be cultivated and, if so, how? What about different kinds of artists? We saw that Finland seems adept at making heavy metal bands and how that might be linked to their history and culture around expressing feelings, but what about painters? Sculptors? Writers?
If you want to master the written word, you may want to head to Iceland. For whatever reason, Iceland has a leg up on writing. Though their population is very small at just around 300,000, they’ve managed to produce more published writers per capita than anywhere else in the world. About 10% of Iceland’s population will end up publishing a book at some point in their lives.
Iceland really seems to respect the written word and writers can even get state support for their craft, drawing a salary to do so. When you head out you can scan codes on benches to download audiobooks so you have something to listen to while you sit. The whole culture just really enjoys reading and writing.