The Penguin State of the World Atlas

Ninth Edition

Dan Smith - Author

Paperback | $22.00 | add to cart | view cart
ISBN 9780143122654 | 144 pages | 28 Nov 2012 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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The completely up-to-date edition of a comprehensive overview of the elements that define our world

Now in its ninth edition, the widely praised Penguin State of the World Atlas remains an accessible, unique visual survey of current events and global trends. Completely revised and updated, this distinctive atlas presents the latest statistics on communications and information technology, international trade, globalization of work, aging and new health risks, food and water, energy resources and consumption, global warming and biodiversity, literacy, gender equality, wars and peacekeeping, and more. Fascinating, troubling, and surprising, this is one atlas no student of the world should be without.

About the Author


The problem with maps



The States of the World
Most states are relatively recent creations.

Global population continues to grow but the rate of increase is slowing.

Life Expectancy
Average life expectancy is higher than ever before and rising.

Ethnicity and Diversity
People divided by ethnic difference live side by side in peace more often than they fight.

Religious Beliefs
Differences within religions are often as intense as differences between them.

Literacy & Education
More teachers are needed if the trend towards greater school enrollment is to continue.

For the first time in history, most people live in cities.

Diversity of Cities
Cities reflect the diversity of the world.

PART TWO Wealth & Poverty

Economic growth continues to outpace the growth in world population.

While 2.6 billion people live in poverty, there are more billionaires than ever.

Quality of Life
Rich countries inevitably offer a high quality of life.

The revenues of the largest corporations outstrip those of many countries.

Despite everything, bankers continue to reap huge financial rewards.

Corruption is pervasive, some countries run on it.


Debt has soared but not everybody, everywhere is equally in debt.


Tourism is predicted to rise, bringing much-needed income to many smaller economies.

Goals for Development
Development progress is real but patchy.

PART THREE War & Peace

Wars in the 21st Century
This is an era of growing peace, despite the wars that persist.

Warlords, Ganglords, and Militias
Armed conflicts fought between non-state armed forces are proliferating.

Military Muscle
Despite the global economic crisis, military spending remains buoyant.

The New Front Line
Warfare has evolved and is now entering cyberspace.

Casualties of War
Data on war deaths are incomplete and contentious.

30 million people are refugees from war and repression.

After a period of rapid increase, the number of peacekeeping missions has started to decline.

Global Peacefulness
Understanding what makes societies peaceful is a significant step towards the world becoming more peaceful.

PART FOUR Rights & Respect

Political Systems
The global trend is for more countries to become democratic.

Religious Rights
Almost a quarter of the world's states have formal links to a religion.

Human Rights
In some countries the greatest menace citizens face comes from the state.

Children's Rights
Although respect for children's rights is increasing, millions still suffer terrible abuse.

Women's Rights
Though gender equality is advancing, women worldwide remain financially and politically disadvantaged.

Gay Rights
Gay people experience varying degrees of acceptance from fellow citizens and authorities.

PART FIVE Health of the People

Many of the world's poor suffer from diets deficient in calories and/or vital nutrients.

Many of the world's rich suffer from diets deficient in nutrients, but over-packed with unnecessary calories.

Between a third and a half of smokers die from tobacco-related dieases.

As countries become more prosperous, and their lifestyles and diets are changing, their cancer rate is rising.

Education and treatment are beginning to slow the rate of new HIV/AIDS infections and deaths.

Mental Health
Poor countries lack the resources needed to treat mental and behavioral disorders.

Living with Disease
Years of healthy life are lost to disease and disability.

PART SIX Health of the Planet

Warning Signs
Things are changing in the natural world—and not many of the changes are to the good.

Efforts to slow the loss of species of animals and plants have not been successful so far.

Water Resources
By 2025, two-thirds of the world population will have an inadequate supply of water.

Waste, especially plastic waste, is a serious global problem on both land and sea.

Energy Use
World energy use is increasing, especially in the most rapidly developing economies.

Climate Change
The build-up of carbon emissions has reached a critical point.

Planetary Boundaries
There are limits beyond which human impact on the Earth's balanced ecosystems will have as yet unknown consequences.

PART SEVEN Vital Statistics

World Tables

Notes & Sources


Praise for the 8th edition of The Penguin State of the World Atlas:

"The State of the World Atlas is something else—an occasion of wit and an act of subversion . . . These are the bad dreams of the modern world, given color and shape and submitted to a grid that can be grasped instantaneously." —The New York Times

"Unique and uniquely beautiful . . . A single map here tells us more about the world today than a dozen abstracts or scholarly tomes." —Los Angeles Times

"A striking new approach to cartography . . . no-one wishing to keep a grip on the reality of the world should be without these books." International Herald Tribune

"Packed with fascinating facts and figures on everything from the international drugs industry to climate change." Evening Standard

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