Changing country borders

Country boundaries change often

Gapminder shows the world history as if all countries of today had always existed and as if they always had the borders they have today. This is absolutely wrong, but it’s necessary to make the animations easier to understand. If our animated bubble charts had displayed all the divisions of territories by splitting bubbles as they animated, the general movement would be much harder to follow, and we would have to manage a much more complex database. For example, we talk about Bangladesh’s family sizes and life expectancy in 1942 as if it had been an independent country at that time, although in reality it was still under British rule as part of British India.

In reality country borders have changed a lot since 1800, as you can see in this animated map (at 17:17) thanks to Ollie Bye:

The borders we use can be seen in this map:

Please give us feedback about our data here.


Date Posted: 2018-03-22