The Washington Post has a fascinating (but somewhat disturbing, see my final comments below) blog post on “The amazing history of the Nobel Prize, told in maps and charts,” here are some highlights:
1. A stunning 83% of all Nobel laureates have come from Western countries (Western Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia or New Zealand), see map above of the prizes broken down by region – Western Europe and North America take the vast majority of prizes.
2. The United States added three more Nobel laureates to its roster on Monday, all in economics, bringing the national total to an astounding 347 in the prize’s history. That’s the most of any country in the world, by far: next-highest ranked is Britain with 120 laureates, followed by Germany with 104, France with 65, Sweden with 30 and Russia with 27.
3. People outside of Europe and North America don’t win very many Nobels. Africa has had only 16 Nobel laureates, ever. All of Asia, despite being by far the largest and most populous region in the world, can claim only 49 Nobel laureates.
4. Nobel prizes have been awarded to people from 72 different countries. But more than half all Nobel laureates come from only three countries: the United States, Britain and Germany.
5. More than one in every three Nobel laureates is from the United States. Put another way, the United States has 4 percent of the world’s population and 34 percent of its Nobel laureates.
And - from the blog comments at the Mark Perry's blog (referenced above).
And let’s hear it for the Jews!
At least 193 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 23% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2013, and constituting 37% of all US recipients during the same period.
In the research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Physics, and Physiology/Medicine, the corresponding world and US percentages are 27% and 39%, respectively. Among women laureates in the four research fields, the Jewish percentages (world and US) are 38% and 50%, respectively. Of organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 23% were founded principally by Jews or by people of half-Jewish descent. (Jews currently make up approximately 0.2% of the world’s population and 2% of the US population.)