Global Light Patterns Show Economic Shift To The East

A analysis of night light levels around the planet for the last two decades highlights the global economic shift to the East, MIT Technology Review reports.

“Over the past 17 years, [the centre of light] has been gradually shifting eastwards over a distance of roughly [620 miles], at a pace of about [37 miles] per year,” according to the three researchers the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

lightThe shift in the number of lights picked up by global satellites.

Photo: ETH Zurich

The data is from the U.S. defence Meteorological Satellite Program, which has monitored global night light continuously since the mid-1960s. The amount of light produced by a society is closely correlated with its economic status, according to MIT.Certain areas in the developing world — especially Shenzen in China and the Nile Delta in north Africa — have seen dramatic increases in light production in recent decades while cities in the developed world have remained stable.

night lights

Photo: ETH Zurich

MIT notes that the sheer size of the New York metropolitan region puts it at the top of the rankings while the exception to the stability of the West is Milan, Italy — light production has significantly increased there because of its integration with the surrounding areas of Monza, Bergamo, and Brescia.To put it all into perspective, here the shifts in the GDP-based global centre of gravity from  year 1 to 2010, and the projection for 2025:

global economic shift

Photo: McKinsey Global Institute

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