This is the second part of our world university rankings posts. See the first post that lists the top 100 universities (based on 9 world university rankings). Based on almost the same logic used in our first post, we took the top 300 universities and compiled the 9 world rankings. Note that, for some universities, we only have 8 rankings. We took this liberty since our goal wasn’t to show a list of the top 300 but rather to use this listing to analyze the respective countries to which they belong.
In our initial post, one of the striking facts was that 50 of the top 100 universities are from the United States. In the top 300, the United States has 91 of the best rated 300 universities. This is an astounding amount considering that some rankings have over 20 000 universities worldwide.
How can this be explained?
To try and make sense of this, I have added two extra data points: endowment and gross domestic product (GDP – Thanks for the tip Gavin Moodie).
If we sort the universities by endowment (in descending order), 19 of the top 20 belong to the United States. In the top right visualization, the average university endowment by country is displayed. The US has 3x the average amount when compared to most countries. Now, this could be a chicken and egg issue. So what came first, the ranking or the endowment?
In the following visualization, we basically eliminate the correlation since the relation between ranking and endowment isn’t that solid.
A better indicator of hight ranking is the country’s GDP. This can be seen in the bottom left visualization: GDP vs number of universities in top 300. You can remove the United States (hover over United States and click exclude) to better view the other countries. The horizontal bar chart on the bottom right shows the country GDP divided by the number of institutions in the top 300.
A few notes on the data: We only have endowment data for 171 of the 300 universities. Therefore some countries don’t appear in the endowment sections. The GPD data was taken from worldbank.org and the endowment information from Wikipedia.org.