Each dot represents a country (hover over it to see the name). Countries are connected when their populations have similar* desires and political prioritizations. This uses results from the UN's MyWorld survey. Keep in mind this represents the desires of citizens rather than the actions of their governments.

Basic stats had already been performed on this data set. I chose to analyze the data this way because I thought it would be clear and actionable. Policymakers could be given a list of nations similar to their own, so they could:

  • Form alliances with their peers. When two nations' citizens want the same things, political agreement and successful diplomacy are more likely.
  • Learn from their peers' mistakes. If a political move causes riots in one nation, you'd better not try it in a nation whose citizens have similar values!

Some quick observations:

  • Developing nations form the largest cluster. Presumably the constant need for food/water has a very strong influence on whether you think fresh water is more important than preventing climate change. There are a few surprises, though; Greece, South Africa and Romania seem unexpected.
  • Northern Europe has the next most well-defined cluster. And for some reason Canada, Australia, and New Zealand join them. Supposedly these countries have the highest living standards and the calmest militaries. That can drastically affect what the citizens consider important.
  • The U.S., Japan, and Western/NW Europe bridge the gap between the developing nations and Northern Europe. Singapore and Malta are there, too.
  • Mid-African nations cluster nearby the Developing Nations cluster, but off to the side just a bit.
  • Islamic nations cluster together. No surprise there; sharing a common religious belief structure causes people to also share geopolitical beliefs. Interestingly, Iraq and Libya only connect to the rest of the world via Palestine. And while Palestine is hanging out with the Islamic nations, Israel is chillin with the Developing Nation cluster.
  • About 40 nations are on their own, and don't appear here. Good luck trying to form political alliances when the rest of the world wants different things from what you want!

Analysis by Andrew Elias. Special thanks to the UN for collecting and releasing this data and to DataKind for helping organize the effort to get it analyzed.

*"Similar" desires and political prioritizations is defined as follows: Step 1. For each country, produce a ranked list of political desires, based on raw vote counts. Step 2. The Spearman correlation between two countries' ranked orderings is recorded. Step 3. Two countries are deemed to have similar desires when Spearman's rho > 0.95.

The node colors are meaningless; they merely help the graph not look like such a monotonous blob.