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What Types of People Appear Most on International Currencies?

What Types of People Appear Most on International Currencies?

On currencies throughout the world, you’ll see everything from revolutionaries to poets featured prominently. But how does this mix of notable people break down quantitatively?

This graphic by NetCredit shows the types of people, by their main occupations and roles, that are featured on banknotes and coins worldwide.

Global Money Features Power

To find out the types of people most featured on money, NetCredit analyzed all the banknotes and coins in circulation in every country across the globe in 2022.

From monarchs to athletes, the analysis found that many types of people appear on banknotes and coins worldwide. In fact, 51 different main occupations and roles were identified, which were then organized into eight overarching categories:

  • Leadership
  • Government
  • Society
  • Sport & Recreation
  • Military & Espionage
  • Religion
  • The Arts
  • Humanity

Here’s a breakdown of all 51 different occupations, and what percentage of worldwide currencies they’re featured on:

OccupationCategory% on Currencies
MonarchLeadership30.24%
Head of governmentGovernment20.74%
PoliticianGovernment10.03%
MilitaryMilitary & Esionage8.22%
PoetThe Arts5.13%
Religious leaderReligion3.02%
AuthorThe Arts2.26%
ArtistThe Arts1.73%
WriterThe Arts1.51%
MusicianThe Arts1.51%
ActivistSociety1.28%
ScientistScience & Humanities1.21%
Movement leaderLeadership0.98%
SaintReligion0.98%
ExplorerScience & Humanities0.90%
InventorScience & Humanities0.83%
ScholarScience & Humanities0.83%
RevolutionaryLeadership0.60%
BusinessSociety0.60%
HeroSociety0.60%
AthleteSport & Recreation0.60%
Supreme leaderLeadership0.53%
EducatorScience & Humanities0.53%
HistorianScience & Humanities0.45%
SingerThe Arts0.45%
Nationalist leaderLeadership0.38%
DoctorScience & Humanities0.38%
MathematicianScience & Humanities0.38%
ChiefLeadership0.30%
ArchitectScience & Humanities0.30%
EconomistScience & Humanities0.30%
PhilosopherScience & Humanities0.23%
ActorThe Arts0.23%
Chief of stateGovernment0.15%
Revolutionary leaderLeadership0.15%
IntellectualScience & Humanities0.15%
LawyerScience & Humanities0.15%
WifeSociety0.15%
SpyMilitary & Esionage0.08%
RectorReligion0.08%
Civil engineerScience & Humanities0.08%
LinguistScience & Humanities0.08%
PhilanthropistScience & Humanities0.08%
AnthropologistScience and Humanities0.08%
Social workerSociety0.08%
BallerinaSport & Recreation0.08%
Chess championSport & Recreation0.08%
MountaineerSport & Recreation0.08%
ActressThe Arts0.08%
Film directorThe Arts0.08%

The analysis shows that over 50% of the people featured on money are either monarchs or heads of government, many of which are no longer in power.

For instance, Belize was once a British colony and still features the late Elizabeth II on all of its currency—even though the country gained independence from the UK in 1981.

And everyone featured on U.S. currency is also a historical figure. Putting living celebrities on U.S. money has been banned since 1866, after Spencer Clark, who was the Superintendent of the U.S. National Currency Bureau at the time, printed his own face on the 5-cent banknote instead of the explorer William Clark of “Lewis and Clark.”

International Currencies: The Most Popular Figure Heads

Featured on over 100 different currencies around the world, the late Elizabeth II is the most featured person on banknotes and coins.

This makes sense considering the UK’s widespread historical reach. During the height of its reign in the early 20th century, the British Empire ruled nearly a quarter of the world.

"Most common faces on international currencies"

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 6 of the top 10 most-featured people on currencies are monarchs, while the rest are heads of government.

Women on Banknotes

While Elizabeth II is the most featured person on currencies around the world, it’s worth mentioning that few other women have been given the same honor.

A study analyzed 1,006 current international banknotes and found that only 15% featured images of women.

However, some countries are actively trying to celebrate more women on their money. For example, the U.S. has been planning to put Harriet Tubman on the U.S. $20 bill for years, and while there have been some delays, the bill is currently on track to get released by 2030.

The post What Types of People Appear Most on International Currencies? appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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