Horse Nations

Just over 10 million horses live in the USA and 6.8 million in China*. But New Zealand has only just over 56 thousand horses. You and a friend could count the horses in Malawi, Granada or Guam on your fingers and toes. Apparently, the island territories of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Islands have none – really. Big, more populous, nations have more horses, but that is not interesting. Which are the Horse Nations of the world?

Where is the horse most common because they more densely populate the landscape (horses per square kilometre) AND people are more likely to own them (horses per person)?

Horses per 100 people in the worlds nations. Statistics from www.fao.org and map from http://kids.fao.org/glipha/

Horses per 100 people in the worlds nations. Statistics from http://www.fao.org for 2005 and map from http://kids.fao.org/glipha/

The Americas – north, central and south – are nations of horses. Southeast Asia and Africa are not. Central Asia might be a rival for the American crown.

Argentina, Brazil and the USA are mad with horses – places with more recent traditions of colonial expansion across vast frontiers and the cowboy ethos. Over half of the world’s horses (32 million or 54%) are American. There are 3.6 horses for every 100 Americans. The value does not sound high but it is when we consider how urbanised the Americas are. Around 82% of North and South Americans, and 72% of Central Americans, live in cities – mega-cities. Almost every American nation has at least a horse per square mile. In central America, in particular, you can’t move without being kicked or bitten by a horse. It has an extraordinary 14 horses per square kilometre of land (36 per square mile).

Horses per square km

Horses per square kilometer in the countries of the world. Statistics from http://www.fao.org for 2005 and http://kids.fao.org/glipha/.

The five republics – the ‘stans’of central Asia are not far behind. There are 3.4 horses for every 100 people living in central Asia but they are spread thinly – about a horse every two square kilometres (1.3 per square mile). China and Mongolia have almost one horse (0.8) per km2 (2 per square mile) but China is a populous nation and so there is just half a horse per 100 people.

Some other nations and regions of the world are dense with horses but they also are dense with people, like Europe. A smaller proportion of Europeans are horsing about. In other nations a larger proportion of people might be horsing about but they are also large countries with small populations of people and horses, like Namibia.

So which country is the world’s horse nation?

… take a guess.

* In text statistics from www.fao.org for 2011. Statistics used to construct maps from 2005 at http://kids.fao.org/glipha/.

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