A few weeks ago I posted about gender gaps in alcohol consumption around the world.
In some countries — South Korea, for example — men and women consume quite different amounts of booze, according to the World Health Organization. Fueled by a love for soju, South Korea’s men are among the heaviest drinkers in the world, consuming about 78 grams per day — nearly twice as much as other men on average. Its women drink only slightly more than their counterparts abroad, on average.
But that data only averaged daily consumption, by country, among people who list themselves as “drinkers”. The organization also has estimates about per-capita consumption amounts based on countries’ import, export and sales data, normalized with their adult populations. Depending on your question, that might be more useful information.
Those data, which also offer a breakdown of alcohol types (beer, wine, spirits and “other”), tell a different story. Instead of leading the world, by that measure South Koreans rank farther down a list of 196 countries: 35th.
Scooters at a Taipei intersection. Credit: Quatro Valvole/Wikimieda
I’m in Taiwan this month to study Mandarin. During breaks, I’ll be posting occasionally about the island nation’s demographics, politics and (sticky) weather.
One of the first things you’ll notice about the streets of Taiwan — other than the excellent food, sweet people and formidable humidity, of course — is the constant buzz of scooters. They are everywhere — and loud and perhaps a little unsafe.
That’s true even in Taipei, the capitol region, which has a world-class subway system and yet about 1 million motorcycles on the roads (as opposed to roughly 800,000 cars and trucks).
It turns out there’s a proportionally startling number of motorcycles, as the government classifies them, on the roads across this country: More than 13 million in nation of just 23 million.
Most homes have them, for example:
And there are nearly twice as many motorcycles on the roads than cars and trucks, according to the government:
Though the rate of motorcycles per 1,000 population is declining: