Mapping the Most Electricity Use by Country

Understanding the world’s electricity consumption can be a daunting task. However, here at BatchGeo, we find that maps make it easier to view lots of information all at once. This map is helpful in getting a sense of which country uses the most electricity, and if there are any geographical reasons for why that may be. Where do world leaders like China, the U.S., and Canada fall when it comes to how much electricity they use, and how do the rest of the 219 countries on our list stack up? The map below holds all of that information, and more.

View Most Electricity Use by Country Map in a full screen map

Check out your country’s electricity consumption versus the competition on the map above, or read on for insights into the world’s electricity use.

Most Electricity-Consuming Countries

Rank Country/Region Electricity consumption (kW·h/yr)
1 China 5,920,000,000,000
2 United States 3,911,000,000,000
3 India 1,408,624,400,000
4 Russia 1,065,000,000,000
5 Japan 934,000,000,000
6 Germany 533,000,000,000
7 Canada 528,000,000,000
8 Brazil 518,000,000,000
9 South Korea 495,000,000,000
10 France 431,000,000,000

China, the world’s number one most electricity-consuming country, uses a whopping 5,920,000,000,000 Kilowatt hours per year. Now that’s a lot of zeros! The electricity-monopolizing country also has the highest population of all of the countries on our list with 1,373,541,000 people, and those people are all in need of electricity, so the high number makes sense. Before 2011, the United States actually used up the most electricity per year, but China surpassed the U.S. after steadily growing from the 1990s onward. Most of China’s electricity comes from coal, as the country happens to be the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world.

While China may have passed the U.S. in electricity consumption, the U.S. is still the second-largest electricity-consumer in the world. Most of the U.S.’s electricity comes from natural gas, which is used to heat water for steam. Just like China, the U.S. also has lots of people who need electricity with a population of 323,995,528, the third highest populated country on our list. Another factor in the U.S.’s extensive electricity use may be the U.S.’s love of cars. Electric fuel pumps, cooling fans, starters, and power steering all use up electricity, and seeing as over 360 U.S. cities have a drive alone percentage of over fifty percent that may be a large contributing factor to its second-place status.

Least Electricity-Consuming Countries

Photo by NOAA Photo Library

The first and second place titles for the least electricity-consuming countries belong to the Northern Mariana Islands and the Gaza Strip respectively.

The Northern Mariana Islands are located in the northwest Pacific Ocean and consist of 15 islands in total. With a combined total population of 53,467, these small islands come in at #219 on our list of electricity consumers, only consuming a mere 48,300 Kilowatt hours per year. Compare that to our number one electricity consumer, China, and the Northern Mariana Islands’ 48,300 kW·h/yr is over 120,000,000 times less than China’s thirteen figure number of 5,920,000,000,000 kW·h/yr.

The Northern Mariana Islands import nearly all of their largest energy source: petroleum, which fuels the islands’ electric plants. The islands have no reserves of their own. Because the cost of petroleum changes in accordance with the world’s diesel fuel price, the price of electricity in the Northern Mariana Islands is between three to four times higher than the price of electricity in the U.S. Due to the high cost of running electric plants in the Northern Mariana Islands, many big-ticket businesses such as hotels have generators and use them make their own electricity, especially when diesel fuel prices skyrocket worldwide.

The Gaza Strip, the second least electricity consumer worldwide, or #218 on our list consumes only 202,000 Kilowatt hours per year, which is the second and last electricity consumption under six digits. The Gaza Strip, with a population of 1,753,327, has a tumultuous history when it comes to accessing electricity, and in 2017 many residents were lucky to get four hours of electricity a day.

Gaza’s issues with accessing electricity began in 1967 with the Arab-Israeli War, which left Gaza under the control of Israel. Until 1993, Israel provided the Strip with electricity, but upon removal of Israeli forces in 2005, Gaza was left with an only sometimes functioning power plant and a fast-rising population. Gaza’s one and only power plant was bombed repeatedly by Israel in 2006, 2008, and again in 2009. Only about 60 percent of Gaza’s population has intermittent electricity while the other 40 percent are forced to completely forgo what some may deem a necessity for daily life. To this day, hospitals in Gaza are unable to function fully.

Highest Electricity Usage Per Capita

Rank: Electricity Usage Per Capita Country/Region Population Average energy per capita (kWh per person per year) Electricity consumption (kW·h/yr)
1 Iceland 335,878 50,613 17,000,000,000
2 Liechtenstein 37,937 35,848 1,360,000,000
3 Norway 5,265,158 24,006 126,400,000,000
4 Kuwait 2,832,776 19,062 54,000,000,000
5 Bahrain 1,378,904 18,130 25,000,000,000
6 United Arab Emirates 5,927,482 16,195 96,000,000,000
7 Qatar 2,258,283 15,055 34,000,000,000
8 Canada 35,362,905 14,930 528,000,000,000
9 Finland 5,498,211 14,732 81,000,000,000
10 Sweden 9,880,604 12,853 127,000,000,000

While China, the United States, and the rest of the top ten electricity-consuming countries of the world may need to start rethinking how much electricity they use, both China and the U.S.’s electricity usages aren’t as unbelievable if we look at electricity consumption per capita. With population size taken into account, China actually moves from #1 to #64 on our list and the U.S. just narrowly misses being in the top ten with its #11 spot.

However, one country ends up in the top ten electricity-consuming countries with or without a noted population size. Canada is in the top ten for both overall electricity consumption and electricity consumption per capita.

Lowest Electricity Usage Per Capita

While we saw the #1 electricity-consuming country move all the way down to #64 when population size was added to the equation, not much changes for the lowest electricity consumers. Once again, both the Gaza Strip and the Northern Mariana Islands are the lowest of the low when it comes to electricity consumption, even once population is noted.

However, there is one slight change. Per capita, the Northern Mariana Islands move down from the lowest electricity-consuming country to the second-lowest electricity-consuming country. With population size taken into account, Gaza wins the title of least-electricity consuming country. The Northern Mariana Islands may have a much smaller population of 53,467 than the Gaza Strip, which has a population of 1,753,327, (nearly 33 times larger than the Northern Mariana Islands), but the islands don’t struggle with political issues impacting their power plants like Gaza does. The Northern Mariana Islands’ small population size and subsequent lower electricity usage explain why they were #219 for overall electricity-consumption, but compared to Gaza’s significantly larger population size, and their relatively similar electricity usage, Gaza comes out as using less electricity per capita.

How did your country come out in terms of electricity consumption? If you feel like turning off all of your lights and unplugging your computer charger after seeing just how high those electricity numbers went, we don’t blame you. Hopefully, your computer is charged enough that you can make your own interactive map like this one with BatchGeo.

If not, you can also get your map data to go on any iPhone or iPad.