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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Pixels of Progress: A granular look at human development around the world

Winner in Data & Insights

Audience Honor in Data & Insights


The goal of our team at McKinsey was to create an interactive research project highlighting, using granular details and data, the progress in human development in terms of health and income over the past two decades, and what could be done to further improve that. In particular, we wanted to uncover the real extent of progress in places where until recently, their improvements were obscured by country averages.

This report shares findings from a new dataset that breaks the world down into more than 40,000 microregions, thereby using a view that’s 230 times more granular than a country perspective. By using a pixelated version of the world that uses cutting-edge statistical techniques including the use of night-time satellite imagery, this report offers a much more nuanced view of development than previous research, while also enhancing our understanding of global progress in ways that can help business and governments make better, more targeted decisions.


Strategy and Execution

To promote our report, we created a video where one of the article’s co-authors used colorful data visualizations to illustrate—in a very interactive way—the main points of the report’s findings. Then we divided the report’s research into six chapters, with each chapter further explaining—using interactive graphics and data visualizations—the main points of our findings, which include: how improvements in income relate to health; how by 2019, there was widespread progress, as nearly half of the world’s population was living in microregions with living standards now equal to the top 21 percent back in 2000; how to get more health from each dollar of income; and where development is needed the most.



Since our interactive project was first published in December 2022, it has attracted tens of thousands of readers. In addition, the introductory video itself has since attracted at least 3.5 million views on YouTube

This project has also become the first in a series of multimedia content about improving global development, including a recent section focusing on Africa. As a result, this project has introduced a growing number of audiences to how McKinsey can help leaders achieve sustainable, inclusive growth.



Video for Pixels of Progress: A granular look at human development around the world

Entrant Company / Organization Name

McKinsey Global Publishing


Entry Credits