New Data on Blood Donations

The Economist recently published a graphical visualization correlating blood donations and GDP per capita. From data collected from the World Bank and the Global Status Report on Blood Safety and Availability 2016 (from 2013), economists could discern an obvious positive correlation between blood donation and GDP per capita. In layman’s terms: the richer the country, the more charitable its citizens and their veins…

From the graph, you can see that the European countries (i.e. Sweden, Denmark, Germany) which tend to be more developed and have higher GDPs also have populations which donate nearly 500% more often than countries in Africa and the Middle East (denoted in orange). There are outliers, however. South Korea appears to sit comfortably within a swath of European countries, along with a few other, unidentified Asian and Oceanic nations. African nations see the smallest number of people donating blood.

These differences are not only understandable, but appreciated. According to the World Health Organization, anemia, an illness which commonly requires blood transfusions, is most common in Africa and least common in Europe. This appears to follow a common pattern for most diseases and illnesses, given the vast difference in health care between the two continents. Blood that is donated in Europe or the Americas can be purchased by African hospitals through organizations like the Red Cross.


Anna Graff