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  Canada 24 36,953,765 6.495
23  New Zealand 3 4,749,598 6.316
24  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 3,503,554 5.708
25  Latvia 1 1,929,938 5.182
26  Australia 12 24,772,247 4.844
27  Slovenia 1 2,081,260 4.805
28  Macedonia 1 2,085,051 4.796
29  Czech Republic 5 10,625,250 4.706
30  Liberia 2 4,853,516 4.121
31  Lithuania 1 2,876,475 3.476
32  Italy 20 59,290,969 3.373
33  Poland 12 38,104,832 3.149
 Tibet[4] 1 3,310,836 3.020
34  Croatia 1 4,164,783 2.401
35  Japan 27 127,185,332 2.123
36  Belarus 2 9,452,113 2.116
37  Romania 4 19,580,634 2.043
38  Costa Rica 1 4,953,199 2.019
39  Palestine 1 5,052,776 1.979
40  Portugal 2 10,291,196 1.943
41  Greece 2 11,142,161 1.795
42  South Africa 10 57,398,421 1.742
43  Spain 8 46,397,452 1.724
44  Russia 23 143,964,709 1.598
45  Bulgaria 1 7,036,848 1.421
 Hong Kong 1 7,428,887 1.346
 World[5] 908 7,632,819,325 1.190
46  Guatemala 2 17,245,346 1.160
47  Argentina 5 44,688,864 1.119
48  Chile 2 18,197,209 1.099
49  Azerbaijan 1 9,923,914 1.008
50  Algeria 2 42,008,054 0.476
51  Ukraine 2 44,009,214 0.454
52  Taiwan 1 23,694,089 0.422
53  Colombia 2 49,464,683 0.404
54  Egypt 4 99,375,741 0.403
55  Yemen 1 28,915,284 0.346
56  Ghana 1 29,463,643 0.339
57  Venezuela 1 32,381,221 0.309
58  Peru 1 32,551,815 0.307
59  Morocco 1 36,191,805 0.276
60  Iraq 1 39,339,753 0.254
61  Turkey 2 81,916,871 0.244
62  Iran 2 82,011,735 0.244
63  Mexico 3 130,759,074 0.229
64  Kenya 1 50,950,879 0.196
65  South Korea 1 51,164,435 0.195
66  Myanmar 1 53,855,735 0.186
67  DR Congo 1 84,004,989 0.119
68  Vietnam 1 96,491,146 0.104
69  Pakistan 2 200,813,818 0.100
70  India 10 1,354,051,854 0.074
71  China 9 1,415,045,928 0.064
72  Bangladesh 1 166,368,149 0.060
73  Nigeria 1 195,875,237 0.051
74  Brazil 1 210,867,954 0.047

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 12 9,688,847 12.385
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[6] 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  Australia 11 24,772,247 4.440
23  Ireland 2 4,803,748 4.163
24  Lithuania 1 2,876,475 3.476
25  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 3,503,554 2.854
26  Czech Republic 3 10,625,250 2.823
27  Croatia 1 4,164,783 2.401
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[5] 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
48  Brazil 1 210,867,954 0.047
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.[7]
  • 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).[8] 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.[9][10]

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 population estimate for 2018 was calculated using the average annual population growth in the Tibet Autonomous Region between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. 2000 census population: 2,616,329 (Source: National Bureau of Statistics of China). 2010 census population: 3,002,166 (Source: Xinhua News Agency). Formula used: 3002166+(2018-2010)*(3002166-2616329)/(2010-2000)=3310835.6.
  5. ^ a b In this case each Nobel laureate was only counted once. Source: "Nobel Prize Facts". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2014-10-09.
  6. ^ Includes every credit given separately to each of the 28 EU member states.
  7. ^ "Gabriel Lippmann – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  8. ^ "Lev Landau – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  9. ^ "Lawrence Bragg – Biography". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  10. ^ "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]