In I&S class, we used ‘gap minder’ to compare two countries with different variables such as the birth rate, population growth, GDP per capita, life expectancy etc. I compared China and Sweden with different variables in different time. There are some interesting difference between two countries, and by looking at the statistics, you can see how the country was at that time.
I first looked at Child mortality rate and child fertility rate. They interrelate, since you can find out how many child grows up as an adult after they are born, and can find out if that country is innovated enough to keep the kids alive. In 1800, both China and Italy had high fertility rate and high death rate of child from 0~5. Even though Italy is much smaller than China, they had 457 child dead per 1000, while China had 417. Italy even had more higher child death rate than China. I believe that the reason why both countries had high fertility rate, is because they wanted to grow the population and they needed to make many babies so the population won’t go down even if some dies from sickness or starvation. In 2012, Both countries had lower child fertility rate and child mortality rate. Italy had now 3.8 child death per 1000, while China has 14. Looking at Italy’s data, the both child fertility rate and mortality rate were going down steadily, while China had a lot of up-downs and weren’t stable. I believe this is because of the cultural revolution in 1960 which made the child mortality rate go down, and the 2 child policy in 1980 that made the child fertility rate go to 2.
I then looked at GDP per capita and literacy rate. They interrelate, since if you are highly educated and are able to read, you can make money in better companies which makes the GDP go higher. In 1982, 66% of China were able to read and 96% of Italy were able to read. Italy is very small compared to China, and even 4% couldn’t read, there aren’t that many. But China, was very big compared to Italy. 36% of China couldn’t read, which means that one-third didn’t have a literacy education. Also the GDP capita in China were very low compared to Italy. I believe that this gap shows how Italy were one of the MEDC when China were one of the LEDC. China is a very big country, and I believe that there is a huge gap between the poor and uneducated group, and the wealthy and educated group. The poor citizen didn’t have enough money to pay them selves education, so they worked in a factory where no educational knowledge were needed. Those factory payed very little amount of money which made the GDP per capita go low. In 2012, China were catching up by raising the GDP per capita and the literacy rate, but not as far as Italy. Italy now became one of the most developed country, with high GDP and high literacy rate. This shows that the citizen has well education which creates more profit when they work in companies.
I looked at HDI and life expectancy. They interrelate, since if theres higher HDI, its a better place for you live, which means your life expectancy goes higher. In 1980, China’s average life expectancy was 66, and Italy’s average life expectancy was 74. Italy clearly had a higher HDI than China, which proves that Italy is MEDC than China. People in Italy had longer life expectancy, meaning that they were wealthy enough to afford the food, medicine, and other things they need in order to live healthy. China, on the other hand had a lower HDI and life expectancy. I believe this is because China has a huge population, and because theres many of them, theres not enough food, medicine or wealth for everyone to live healthy like Italy. Also many people work in mass-producing factories, which are unhygienic environment with low payment and many people who weren’t rich enough to go to school works because it doesn’t need any educational knowledge. This is one of the problems China has a low HDI. Mostly everyone in Italy are highly educated, lives in a clean environment with medicine to cure disease, and has highly decent amount of money paid. In 2011, China’s HDI and life expectancy grows, but still aren’t no where close to Italy. In fact, China now is how it was like in Italy, 1980. Italy is now ranked as one of the MEDC, and still continues to grow their HDI and life expectancy.
You can see, from looking at these statistic shows why some countries are ranked as LEDC and some countries ranked as MEDC. There are gaps between countries, some small some big. It may be because of the disadvantage of their environment, population, government, wealth etc. But these data can be inaccurate and deceiving. These are just the average, and China is a very big country. Some parts in China can be highly innovated just like Italy, while some parts aren’t very developed. I believe that these datas can help us understand their history, but also misunderstand the truth.