Our Favorite Infographics Of 2016 Are A Crash Course In How The World Works

Somehow, there are none about Trump, but Trump would do well to digest them all.

Remember, back in those innocent days of the beginning of 2016, when income inequality seemed like an issue we might actually start to confront? Ah, to be living in the timeline where that momentum continued.


But while our cabinet of billionaires may have pushed issues of equity off the national agenda, when a designer remakes city maps based on differences in incomes from block to block, the results remind you that it’s just one of the many issues that we must be vigilant to not let fall by the wayside over the next four years.

In addition to the problems of income inequality and the shrinking middle class, these 10 infographics–our favorites that we wrote about in 2016–also explain our energy, financial, and shipping systems, the global population boom, our diets, and when your job will be taken by a robot. Couple those with a series of maps that will reframe how you think about geopolitics and you have the start of an understanding of the world we are living in today: interconnected, increasingly automated, and full of vast inequities. Please absorb them well and get ready for 2017.

1. These Apocalyptic Maps Show The Holes Income Inequality Has Left In Cities


Tall buildings represent the wealthy; short ones represent the poor. What’s missing? The middle class.

2. 7 Maps That Will Change How You Think About Global Politics

The ways we look at geopolitics are hopelessly out of date. Military might and the power of nation-states aren’t what they used to be. Now, it’s all about who’s the most connected.


3. All The Money In The World, In A Single Chart

A million dollars isn’t cool. 1.2 quadrillion dollars is cool. (In other words, you might want to get into derivatives.)

4. Watch How The World’s Population Has Exploded (And Isn’t Stopping)


There will be 9.5 billion people on Earth in 2050.

[Photo: Walter Stein/Getty Images]

5. This Very, Very Detailed Chart Shows How All The Energy In The U.S. Is Used

Take a master’s level course in improving your energy literacy, down to the half percent of our energy that we use to fly military jets.


6. Watch All The World’s Ships Move Around The Globe In Mesmerizing Detail

International shipping—which touches 90% of everything we buy—is a major global polluter, and this map makes it easy to understand why.

[Photo: Petrified Collection/Getty Images]

7. Chart The Rise And Fall Of America’s Most-Eaten Foods


Until recently, barely anyone had even heard of a dark leafy green.

8. How Soon Before Your Job Is Done By A Robot? This Handy Chart Will Tell You

What’s your job’s “automation potential”? Hint: It’s very high!


9. This Plane’s Seating Chart Tells The Story Of American Income Inequality

What better way to contemplate bad wealth distribution than thinking about being jammed into an economy class plane seat?

10. This Redesigned Map Of U.S. Train Routes Might Make You Actually Want To Take Amtrak


You might not have known it from the old map, but you can actually get to a lot of places by train (if you’re willing to take a while).


About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Impact section, formerly Have an idea for a story? You can reach him at mclendaniel [at]


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