This map, compiled by Reddit user TeaDranks, shows what the world would look like if a country's size was proportional to its population. It's an adapted version of a Population Map made in 2005 by cartographer Paul Breding and published by ODTmaps.com, based in Amherst, Ma. TeaDranks evidently changed its scale and adapted its numbers to reflect contemporary population data.
As you can see, our sense of geographic space gets rather radically rearranged by this map.
Vast countries such as Russia, Canada and Australia turn into small rump states and slivers of territory. The United States is home to only 5 percent of the world's population and its size suitably reflects that diminished reality. Europe, and not South Asia, appears to be the real Asian subcontinent.
It should be noted that TeaDranks identifies the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, though most of the international community considers them to be part of the republic of Georgia. The Reddit user also incorporates the territory of Crimea, controversially annexed by Moscow last year, as part of Russia.
What the map emphasizes is the primacy of Asia. The continent's immensity is understood in the West, but not truly appreciated. Another map that has trended on social media illustrates it even more starkly:
Most people live in this circle pic.twitter.com/zSLWZ6InJy
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) August 27, 2014
That, of course, is not echoed in the Western media, where crises in Europe and conflicts in the Middle East still hold far more attention. The lack of coverage of India's elections last year — the world's greatest exercise in democracy — was lampooned by comedians. And many Americans probably weren't even aware of a similar landmark vote in Indonesia, home to the world's largest population of Muslims.
Some Asian cities, as delineated on the map, are larger than most European countries.
Of course, many of these Asian countries are still struggling to cope with the demands posed by their massive populations. But as the continent boasts some of the world's most dynamic developing economies, this map is a useful illustration for why some believe the 21st century will be the Asian Century.
The post has been updated to incorporate new information.