List of countries by Nobel laureates per capita

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This article includes lists of sovereign countries, territories, and supranational unions by Nobel laureates per capita. That is, lists of said entities ranked by their Nobel Prize winners in relation to their current population. The article does not account for a country's population at the time each prize was awarded. Nobel Prizes have been awarded over more than 100 years, during which time national populations have varied very significantly. Because the population of an entity is significantly higher than its Nobel laureates, the figures have been multiplied by 10 million. Thus, the number on the rightmost column should be read as the number of Nobel laureates of an entity for every 10 million of its population.

The figures include all 908 Nobel Prizes awarded to individuals up to and including 8 October 2018.

Note: Only sovereign countries are ranked; unranked entities are marked in italics.

All prizes[edit]

All five prizes (Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine) and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences are considered.

Rank Entity Nobel
laureates[1]
Population
(2018)[2]
Laureates/
10 million
 Faroe Islands 1 49,489 202.065
1  Saint Lucia 2 179,667 111.317
2  Luxembourg 2 590,321 33.880
3   Switzerland 26 8,544,034 30.431
4  Sweden 30 9,982,709 30.052
5  Iceland 1 337,780 29.605
6  Denmark 14 5,754,356 24.329
7  Norway 13 5,353,363 24.284
8  Austria 21 8,751,820 23.995
9  United Kingdom 133 66,573,504 19.978
10  East Timor 2 1,324,094 15.105
11  Ireland 7 4,803,748 14.572
12  Israel 12 8,452,841 14.196
13  Hungary 13 9,688,847 13.417
14  Germany 108 82,293,457 13.124
15  Netherlands 20 17,084,459 11.707
16  United States 375 326,766,748 11.476
17  France 63 65,233,271 9.658
-  European Union[3] 481 509,697,104 9.437
18  Finland 5 5,542,517 9.021
19  Belgium 10 11,498,519 8.697
20  Cyprus 1 1,189,085 8.410
21  Trinidad and Tobago 1 1,372,598 7.285
22  Croatia 3 4,164,783 7.200
23  Canada 24 36,953,765 6.495
24  New Zealand 3 4,749,598 6.316
25  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 3,503,554 5.708
26  Latvia 1 1,929,938 5.182
27  Australia 12 24,772,247 4.844
28  Slovenia 1 2,081,260 4.805
29  North Macedonia 1 2,085,051 4.796
30  Czech Republic 5 10,625,250 4.706
31  Liberia 2 4,853,516 4.121
32  Lithuania 1 2,876,475 3.476
33  Italy 20 59,290,969 3.373
34  Poland 12 38,104,832 3.149
35  Tibet 1]] 3,310,836 3.020
36  Japan 27 127,185,332 2.123
37  Belarus 2 9,452,113 2.116
38  Romania 4 19,580,634 2.043
39  Costa Rica 1 4,953,199 2.019
40  Palestine 1 5,052,776 1.979
41  Portugal 2 10,291,196 1.943
42  Greece 2 11,142,161 1.795
43  South Africa 10 57,398,421 1.742
44  Spain 8 46,397,452 1.724
45  Russia 23 143,964,709 1.598
46  Bulgaria 1 7,036,848 1.421
 Hong Kong 1 7,428,887 1.346
 World[4] 908 7,632,819,325 1.190
47  Guatemala 2 17,245,346 1.160
48  Argentina 5 44,688,864 1.119
49  Chile 2 18,197,209 1.099
50  Azerbaijan 1 9,923,914 1.008
51  Algeria 2 42,008,054 0.476
52  Ukraine 2 44,009,214 0.454
53  Taiwan 1 23,694,089 0.422
54  Colombia 2 49,464,683 0.404
55  Egypt 4 99,375,741 0.403
56  Yemen 1 28,915,284 0.346
57  Ghana 1 29,463,643 0.339
58  Venezuela 1 32,381,221 0.309
59  Peru 1 32,551,815 0.307
60  Morocco 1 36,191,805 0.276
61  Iraq 1 39,339,753 0.254
62  Turkey 2 81,916,871 0.244
63  Iran 2 82,011,735 0.244
64  Mexico 3 130,759,074 0.229
65  Kenya 1 50,950,879 0.196
66  South Korea 1 51,164,435 0.195
67  Myanmar 1 53,855,735 0.186
68  DR Congo 1 84,004,989 0.119
69  Vietnam 1 96,491,146 0.104
70  Pakistan 2 200,813,818 0.100
71  India 10 1,354,051,854 0.074
72  China 9 1,415,045,928 0.064
73  Bangladesh 1 166,368,149 0.060
74  Nigeria 1 195,875,237 0.051

Scientific prizes[edit]

Only the awards for Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences are considered.

Rank Entity Nobel
laureates[1]
Population
(2018)[2]
Laureates/
10 million
 Faroe Islands 1 49,489 202.065
1  Saint Lucia 1 179,667 55.659
2  Luxembourg 2 590,321 33.880
3   Switzerland 21 8,544,034 24.579
4  Austria 18 8,751,820 20.567
5  Denmark 10 5,754,356 17.378
6  Sweden 17 9,982,709 17.029
7  United Kingdom 106 66,573,504 15.922
8  Norway 8 5,353,363 14.944
9  Hungary 13 9,688,847 13.42
10  Netherlands 19 17,084,459 11.121
11  Germany 91 82,293,457 11.058
12  United States 342 326,766,748 10.466
13  Israel 8 8,452,841 9.464
14  Cyprus 1 1,189,085 8.410
 European Union[5] 351 509,697,104 6.886
15  New Zealand 3 4,749,598 6.316
16  France 38 65,233,271 5.825
17  Canada 21 36,953,765 5.683
18  Finland 3 5,542,517 5.413
19  Belgium 6 11,498,519 5.218
20  Latvia 1 1,929,938 5.182
21  Slovenia 1 2,081,260 4.805
22  Croatia 2 4,164,783 4.800
23  Australia 11 24,772,247 4.440
24  Ireland 2 4,803,748 4.163
25  Lithuania 1 2,876,475 3.476
26  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 3,503,554 2.854
27  Czech Republic 3 10,625,250 2.823
28  Italy 13 59,290,969 2.193
29  Japan 23 127,185,332 1.808
 Hong Kong 1 7,428,887 1.346
30  Poland 5 38,104,832 1.312
31  Russia 16 143,964,709 1.111
32  Belarus 1 9,452,113 1.058
33  Romania 2 19,580,634 1.021
34  Azerbaijan 1 9,923,914 1.008
35  Portugal 1 10,291,196 0.972
 World[4] 691 7,632,819,325 0.905
36  South Africa 4 57,398,421 0.697
37  Argentina 3 44,688,864 0.671
38  Spain 2 46,397,452 0.431
39  Taiwan 1 23,694,089 0.422
40  Venezuela 1 32,381,221 0.309
41  Morocco 1 36,191,805 0.276
42  Algeria 1 42,008,054 0.238
43  Ukraine 1 44,009,214 0.227
44  Turkey 1 81,916,871 0.122
45  Egypt 1 99,375,741 0.101
46  Mexico 1 130,759,074 0.076
47  Pakistan 1 200,813,818 0.050
49  India 6 1,354,051,854 0.044
50  China 5 1,415,045,928 0.035

Inclusion criteria[edit]

The list of Nobel laureates by country was compiled by BBC News using the following criteria:[1]

  • Prizes are allocated to the country/countries stated on the winner's biography on the website of the Nobel Prize committee (www.nobelprize.org).
  • Where the website mentions multiple countries in relation to a prize winner (country of birth; country of citizenship; country of residence at time of award) each of those countries is credited as having won the prize.
  • Where a prize has multiple winners, the country (or countries) of each winner are credited.
  • Prizes which were declined by the winner are included.
  • Prizes won by organisations are not allocated to countries.
  • Winners from Belarus and Ukraine are not credited to Russia. Winners born in what was then Poland but is now Ukraine are credited to Poland.

Note: The BBC News figures included all Nobel Prizes awarded up to and including 8 October 2010. Nobel prizes announced after that date were added generally following the same criteria outlined above (see Updates section below for details).

Corrections[edit]

This is a list of corrections made to the original figures provided by BBC News:

  • No award was attributed to Luxembourg, but, according to the Nobel Prize website, Gabriel Lippmann (Physics, 1908) was born in that country.[6]
  • No award was attributed to Azerbaijan, but, according to the Nobel Prize website, Lev Landau (Physics, 1962) was born in the area that is now held by that country (then part of the Russian Empire).[7] The justification for this correction is that BBC News did credit Latvia for Wilhelm Ostwald's 1909 Chemistry Prize, even though his birthplace—Latvia's capital Riga—was by the time he was born (1853) also part of the Russian Empire.
  • Australia was credited with only one Nobel laureate in Physics, but up to and including 8 October 2010 there were two Physics laureates associated with that country: William Lawrence Bragg (1915) and Aleksandr Prokhorov (1964), both of whom were born there according to the Nobel Prize website.[8][9]

Updates[edit]

This section details how Nobel Prizes announced after 8 October 2010 were added.

  • 2010 update:
    • Economic Sciences: 2 to the United States and 1 each to Cyprus, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
  • 2011 update:
    • Chemistry: 1 to Israel.
    • Literature: 1 to Sweden.
    • Peace: 2 to Liberia and 1 to Yemen.
    • Physics: 3 to the United States and 1 to Australia.
    • Physiology or Medicine: 2 to the United States and 1 each to Canada, France and Luxembourg.
    • Economic Sciences: 2 to the United States.
  • 2012 update:
    • Physiology or Medicine: 1 each to Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Physics: 1 each to France, Morocco and the United States.
    • Chemistry: 2 to the United States.
    • Literature: 1 to China.
    • Peace: Not applicable.
    • Economic Sciences: 2 to the United States.
  • 2013 update:
    • Physiology or Medicine: 2 to the United States and 1 to Germany.
    • Physics: 1 each to Belgium and the United Kingdom.
    • Chemistry: 3 to the United States, 2 to Israel, and 1 each to Austria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
    • Literature: 1 to Canada.
    • Peace: Not applicable.
    • Economic Sciences: 3 to the United States.
  • 2014 update:
    • Physiology or Medicine: 2 to Norway and 1 each to the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Physics: 3 to Japan and 1 to the United States.
    • Chemistry: 2 to the United States and 1 each to Germany and Romania.
    • Literature: 1 to France.
    • Peace: 1 each to India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.
    • Economic Sciences: 1 to France.
  • 2015 update:
    • Physiology or Medicine: 1 each to China, Ireland, Japan and the United States.
    • Physics: 1 each to Canada and Japan.
    • Chemistry: 2 to the United States and 1 each to Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
    • Literature: 1 each to Belarus and Ukraine.
    • Peace: Not applicable.
    • Economic Sciences: 1 each to the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • 2016 update:
    • Physiology or Medicine: 1 to Japan.
    • Physics: 3 each to the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Chemistry: 1 each to France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Peace: 1 to Colombia.
    • Economic Sciences: 2 to the United States and 1 each to Finland and the United Kingdom.
    • Literature: 1 to the United States.
  • 2017 update:
    • Physiology or Medicine: 3 to the United States.
    • Physics: 3 to the United States and 1 to Germany.
    • Chemistry: 1 each to Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Literature: 1 each to Japan and the United Kingdom.
    • Peace: Not applicable.
    • Economic Sciences: 1 to the United States.
  • 2018 update:
    • Physiology or Medicine: 1 each to Japan and the United States.
    • Physics: 2 to the United States and 1 each to Canada and France.
    • Chemistry: 2 to the United States and 1 to the United Kingdom.
    • Literature: Not awarded.
    • Peace: 1 each to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany and Iraq.
    • Economic Sciences: 2 to the United States.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Which country has the best brains?". BBC News. 2010-10-10. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  2. ^ a b "Total Population - Both Sexes". World Population Prospects, the 2017 Revision. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Population Estimates and Projections Section. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  3. ^ Includes every credit given separately to each of the 28 EU member states. It does not include the Peace Prize given to the EU in 2012.
  4. ^ a b In this case each Nobel laureate was only counted once. Source: "Nobel Prize Facts". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2014-10-09.
  5. ^ Includes every credit given separately to each of the 28 EU member states.
  6. ^ "Gabriel Lippmann – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  7. ^ "Lev Landau – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  8. ^ "Lawrence Bragg – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  9. ^ "Aleksandr M. Prokhorov – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2012-08-16.

Further reading[edit]

  • Emeka Nwabunnia, Bishop Emeka Ebisi (2007), The Nobel prize (1901-2000): handbook of landmark records, University Press of America, ISBN 978-0-7618-3573-8

External links[edit]