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40 charts that explain the world
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How toilet paper explains the world
January 20 at 10:20 am
At different stages in our lives, we require more and less of certain hygienic products: First diapers, then mostly toilet paper and menstrual maintenance items, and as bowels become more difficult to control, a different kind of diaper. It stands to reason that the relative popularity of those product categories would reflect a country's age demographics -- and the market research firm Euromonitor has given us a map to prove it.
You'll notice that prosperous, dynamic economies like the United States, Canada, Brazil and South Africa buy a lot of toilet paper, which would tend to correlate with a high number of bathrooms per capita. Countries in the developing world with very young populations, like Mexico and much of Southeast Asia, buy a lot of diapers and nappies (China, in particular, is likely to see a boom in diaper consumption as it relaxes its one-child policy). Interestingly, feminine hygiene products sell best in Muslim countries like Iran and Pakistan. And those with low birth rates facing a wave of retirees, like Japan and much of Western Europe, mostly consume products for taking care of incontinence.
It's a lot to soak in!
Lydia DePillis is a reporter focusing on business policy, including lobbying, government contracting, and international trade, with a bit of urban affairs and infrastructure on the side. She was previously a staff writer at The New Republic and the Washington City Paper. Email her here and follow her on Twitter here.
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