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Polities of the World
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Polities of the World

Polities of the World is an interactive map that displays various demographic, political, economic, and other types of statistics for countries, territories, and other entities around the world.

What's a Polity?

When we talk about the world, we divide it up into pieces—That helps us discuss what makes one part of the world different from another. Typically we talk about countries: The United States, France, Australia, and the like. Countries are often thought of as the "top" level of government—They don't report up to a level above them. This works fine until we get to a case like the United Kingdom, where the UK is the top level, but the constituent entities like England are still referred to as countries. So sometimes instead we talk about states—Which works great in much of the world, but leads to confusion in the United States, where the constituent entities like Texas are referred to as states. So then we qualify that we mean sovereign states—which clears things up, except that many sovereign states have overseas territories with limited economic, cultural, and historical commonality. And that makes it difficult to do what we wanted to do in the first place: Talk about different parts of the world.

So, polity is a general term, by definition and by design. It just refers to a political entity of interest. Maybe it's a sovereign state, or a country, or a territory, or an autonomous region. Calling something a polity may not tell us how that entity participates on the international stage, but it does give us the ability to segment the world into meaningful pieces so we can investigate, discuss, and gain insights.


This app is a work in progress. Suggestions and contributions welcome.

Data Import

The repository includes a Ruby script that can parse a variety of types and structures of data files, matching up the polities in the new data correctly with those in the existing data. It does this in part by having a large thesaurus of alternate names and spellings of polities.


This application and data are provided as is, with no guarantees or warranty. All data is owned by the providers indicated in the source files and interface. Some data has undergone additional interpretation or processing based on the author's own judgment. Statistics as calculated may not correspond exactly with geographies as displayed. This map should not be used for research purposes, only general learning and enjoyment. The division of territory on the map and the naming of polities are dictated largely by the data sources and libraries used to create this app. Nothing herein should be interpretted as the author's opinion about naming, ownership or territory, sovereignty, or the like.

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