Top 18 Data Visualizations of 2018

Happy new year to all! We’re thrilled to present our list of the top 18 visualizations from 2018.

If you’re new to HowMuch.net, this list should give you a good idea of our mission. The website’s purpose is to present interesting, informative and nonpartisan financial information about the economy.

Understanding money should be easy, and we aim to make it aesthetically pleasing too.

We are humbled by the continued growth of our audience. A big thank you to our readers for a great year, and we wish you all the best in 2019!

18. All the World’s Billionaires in a Single Map

Who wants to be a billionaire? Some countries are better at producing globe-trotting titans of industry than others. The U.S. is the clear leader, followed by China. But creating billionaires isn't exactly a sign of a well-functioning economy. There could be lots of corruption and inequality. Just take a look at how many billionaires call Russia home.

17. Comparing Cryptocurrency Against the Entire World’s Wealth in One Graph

The market for cryptocurrency is still tiny in the grand scheme of things. The market is bigger than the entire fortunes of people like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, but it's still much smaller than the market cap of several companies. And yet the numbers we're comparing can be head-spinning. For example, Apple is worth more than the entire economy of Turkey.

16. How Much Income You Need to Afford the Average Home in Every State in 2018

Owning a home is the American dream, and dreams aren't cheap. That's the lesson from our map of how much money you need to make in each state to buy a home.

15. Visualizing the Most Innovative Companies in 2018

Innovate or die. History is littered with the stories of companies with successful business models that didn't adapt to changing dynamics. This visualization highlights the companies with the largest expenditures into research and development both in overall terms and relative to their revenue. Want to bet which ones stand a chance of staying relevant 10 years from now?

14. The World's Most Valuable Brands, in One Chart

How much is a brand really worth? And which industries have the most valuable brands? Our eye-popping visualization explores the most successful brands in the country by company and industry. Like so much of the business news in 2018, tech companies dominate the center of our visual.

13. Mapping the Most Profitable Industry in Each U.S. State

What do fishermen in Maine, aerospace engineers in Kansas and casino owners in Nevada all have in common? They're from the most profitable industries in each state, according to this surprising and interesting map.

12. Visualizing Where Tourists Spend the Most Money

Tourism increased in 2018 around the world, bringing with it billions of dollars of economic activity. The winners and losers in the competition for visitors might surprise you, with several countries posting multi-billion-dollar inflows.

11. This Map Shows Every State's Biggest Export

The American economy is much more diverse than people think. The biggest exports in every state will catch you by surprise. From airplanes to medicine, diamonds and oil, the U.S. sends huge quantities of goods into the global economy. That's why President Trump's trade war is so threatening to domestic economic stability.

10. Visualizing $21 Trillion of National Debt: Which Presidents You Should Blame the Most

The national debt is now sky-high at over $21 trillion. Who should we blame? We analyzed inflation-adjusted figures for the deficits under each U.S. President, indicating how budget-busting deficits are relatively new. And in fact, both political parties deserve part of the blame.

9. How Much You Must Earn to Afford a House in the 50 Largest U.S. Cities

The housing market became more favorable for sellers in 2018 thanks to tight inventories, high demand and low interest rates. With so many Millennials taking the plunge into homeownership, we investigated how much money someone needs to earn to afford a home in several major U.S. cities. Financial advisers recommend spending no more 28% of income on a housing payment, a ratio that puts ownership out of reach for lots of people on the coasts.

8. The iPhone X Index: This Chart Shows How Ridiculously Long You Have to Work to Get One

Apple became the first American company with a market cap over $1 trillion this year, propelled in large part thanks to iPhone sales around the world. Apple combined a luxury brand with technical know-how. Want proof? See how many hours people around the world have to work just to buy Apple's flagship product. And by the way, Apple’s valuation recently fell to third place, behind Amazon and Microsoft.

7. Visualize the Entire Global Economy in One Chart

We love making complex issues immediately understandable. This visual snapshot of the global economy lets you easily and quickly see which countries and continents flex the biggest economic muscles. Plus, with the World Cup going on in Russia, creating this type of visualization was just plain old fun.

6. Find Out How Much Your Country Spends on Research & Development

You have to buy a ticket to win the lottery, and you have to invest in research and development to spur innovation. Our visualization ranks the economic juggernauts spending the most on R&D. It highlights which countries actually stand a chance in creating long-term economic growth, and which ones are going to be left behind.

5. Visualizing the Most Expensive Natural Disasters in the Last 40 Years

2018 saw severe natural disasters all over the U.S. The year started with a "historic bomb cyclone" winter storm in the East, then a volcano exploded in Hawaii, and record-setting forest fires devastated parts of California. The cost of natural disasters keeps climbing as people repeatedly rebuild in flood-prone areas, costing the economy hundreds of billions of dollars.

4. How Much Longer Until the U.S. Debt Bubble Bursts?

Debt-fueled consumption is the engine that drives the American economy. Not all debt is bad. Mortgages, car loans and student debt can all serve as healthy forms of debt. The problem is that Americans keep taking on more and more, which will eventually have severe consequences one way or another. GIFs also tell a more powerful story than a static image, making this visual one of our top 5 favorites from 2018.

3. Visualizing How Vulnerable is Each State to a Trade War

President Trump continues to shake the business world with his trade war rhetoric, causing "yuge" amounts of unease in the financial markets. We wanted to understand which states are most vulnerable in the changing trade landscape. It turns out that many of the places that voted for Trump have the most at stake.

2. Where is the Bottom? Putting the Bitcoin Crash into Perspective

If you can't handle bitcoin's double-digit declines, you don't deserve it's triple-digit gains. The price of bitcoin crashed in 2018, but anyone with access to Google should know it has crashed lots of times before. In fact, if you take the long view, even if bitcoin hasn't reach bottom yet, it will no doubt climb back to previous levels eventually. Want proof? Check out these eye-popping crashes from bitcoin's historic volatility. 2018 was extreme but nothing new.

1. Is Cryptocurrency ‘The Mother of all Bubbles’? This Visualization Puts Things in Perspective

The media has barraged cryptocurrency investors all year long with "I told you so" stories. The price of bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies has indeed collapsed, but smart readers anticipated a fall and plan for the long term. Bitcoin is down 75% from 1 year ago, but it's up 400% from 2 years ago. More importantly, the size of the crypto market pales in comparison to the bubbles building up in other parts of the economy.

We look forward to creating more visualizations explaining the world of money in 2019. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, or you can subscribe to our email newsletter.

Have a great 2019 everyone!

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