Photos as data – show your real neighbours

Ola Nilsson

Have you been thinking of how people live their lives in other parts of the world? People with the same living conditions as yourself?
A new website, the Dollar Street, makes it possible.
– The way people live on the same income levels is often surprisingly similar, says Anna Rosling Rönnlund from Gapminder, founder of dollarstreet.org.

Often when you watch the international news you see people under certain hard circumstances. Maybe it’s because of a weather storm or because of war. But how is every day-life on different places on our planet? How are common people doing? 

The new born website dollarstreet.org wants to show you that. Show how people really live behind the stereotypes.

They want to show it with pictures.

”Most people hate stats. But on Dollar Street we use photos as data, which let you see the reality behind the numbers”, says Anna Rosling Rönnlund from Gapminder, founder of dollarstreet.org in a press release.

The pictures are sorted after income. It’s families, stoves and all kinds of things. Pictures of the same standard on different places, or as in the top picture in this article, wealth to the right and poverty to the left. It's not sorted by geography.

”People from different continents, with the same income, are neighbours on Dollar Street. The way people live on the same income levels is often surprisingly similar.”

And common people are – perhaps naturally – average. 

”Country averages are misleading. Differences within countries are huge. But it’s also misleading to talk about the gap between the richest and the poorest, because most people live in the middle.”

The new website is a collaborative platform, in which anyone will be able to upload photos of their homes.

”I came up with the Dollar Street idea 16 years ago as I was studying to become a photographer and sociologist. I had not traveled to many countries, and even if I was going through a lot of data, it was hard to get an image of life on different income levels. What kind of toilet do people have on different income levels? By using photos as data, we can find out. Without travelling.”

Check it out! Find your neighbors on another continent.


Anna Rosling Rönnlund is Head of Design & User Experience and Co-Founder of Gapminder. She is also a member of the jury of inUse Award 2016

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