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Someone asked today about the best time to ask a question (a question that has come up before) and it got me thinking that if there is a best time, then there is probably a particular geographical region or set of regions that provides more answers than others. I would assume this is most likely North America due to the companies that rule most people's lives in at least the SO and SF domains, like Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple, but are there any stats that could be used to analyse this?

I think it would be interesting to see the patterns as those in high activity regions would face more competition in answering questions than those in low activity regions, or more importantly, time zones. It could give a whole new insight into some of the top rep holders.

As a corollary, the times of day that people answer and ask questions might also be useful on some level.

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Related question: – Jon Skeet Oct 1 '09 at 14:18
@Jon: I suppose you think it's clever being one (or twenty) steps ahead, huh? o_O – Jeff Yates Oct 1 '09 at 14:25
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You could easily just break it down into the primary economic hubs of the IT world:

  • East Coast USA
  • West Coast USA
  • United Kingdom
  • Western Europe
  • Australia

The Top 7 on SO are as follows:

  1. UK
  2. UK
  3. Iowa, USA
  4. Washington, USA
  5. Australia
  6. New Zealand
  7. New York

I am sure someone with more time and perhaps usage of the data dumps could provide a greater breakdown of the data, but just based on Jon and Marc alone, the UK is pretty dominant at the top.


After some more counting here are some geographic counts (All Users >= 20,000 rep):

  • Unknown (15)
  • Western Europe (13)
  • Eastern USA (9)
  • United Kingdom (9)
  • Western USA (9)
  • Australia/New Zealand (6)
  • Midwest USA (5)
  • Canada (1)
  • Central America (1)
  • Russia (1)

Note: Many of the Unknowns are simply listed as "USA" which combined with the fact that the USA is divided into three regions can skew the results significantly. If the United States was combined into a single entity, it would vastly outperform the other regions in terms of users over 20,000 reputation (currently 69 users in total meet this threshold).

Further Note: Some of the American regions are a bit off, but if you break them down too far you start to make the results a bit more dirty.

New Edit: Combining the regions of the United States into a single entity leaves us with:

  • United States (32)
  • Western Europe (13)
  • United Kingdom (9)
  • Australia / New Zealand (6)
  • Unknown (6)
  • Canada (1)
  • Central America (1)
  • Russia (1)
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Wow, the UK twice. That's impressive. – Jeff Yates Oct 1 '09 at 14:22
Dammit, I'm just outside... 24th – Greg Oct 1 '09 at 14:31
No canadian eh? – Troggy Oct 1 '09 at 14:32
One Canadian in the top 35 – TheTXI Oct 1 '09 at 14:34
Having Iowa in there once trumps both of the UK appearances. – user27414 Oct 1 '09 at 14:39
Feeling a little slighted because I'm currently #8. (Wisconsin, btw) – Joel Coehoorn Oct 1 '09 at 14:43
For further British and US discussion, please see:… – Troggy Oct 1 '09 at 14:53
It would be interesting to normalise by population, but I expect that is a lot of work. – Marc Gravell Oct 1 '09 at 15:35
IOWA IOWA – Brad Gilbert Oct 1 '09 at 16:16
The UK is Western Europe, we just don't always like to admit it. – Dan Dyer Oct 1 '09 at 17:46
I see Russia here (and probably even know the reason), but where is Iran? @Mehrdad is from Iran, and it should apparently be in the list. – Quassnoi Oct 12 '09 at 21:14
@Quassnoi: I don't have a simple method of figuring out where people are from if they don't have it listed on their location field on their profile. – TheTXI Oct 13 '09 at 13:24
@TheTXI: I clearly remember seeing Tehran in his profile, but now he seems to have removed it. – Quassnoi Oct 13 '09 at 21:35

According to my research, it seems that all of them are on Earth.

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I say we have an SO fundraiser to raise millions...billions send Jon Skeet to the International Space Station for a few days. That way, a SO user won't be on Earth. – Thomas Owens Oct 1 '09 at 19:21

Population stats from Wikipedia, User stats from about 17:00 UTC:

Order of table is by first appearance

Clearly New Zealand is the place to be, this is without counting Chris Jester-Young in their total (expat Kiwi living in US)

Key	Pop		Agg.	20K users	users/M	Agg Rep/M
UK	61.6	392.2	10			0.16	6.37
US	304.1	1002	32			0.11	3.30
AU	21.0	145.6	4			0.19	6.93
NZ	4.2		80.9	2			0.48	19.38
DE	82.1	208.8	6			0.07	2.54
FR	65.1	68.4	2			0.03	1.05
GU	14.0	40.9	1			0.07	2.92
DK	5.5	35.8		1			0.18	6.49
CA	33.8	33.5	1			0.03	0.99
RU	142.0	31.6	1			0.01	0.22
N	4.8	28.6		1			0.21	5.91
SW	9.3	45.7		2			0.22	4.93
CH	7.7	23.3		1			0.13	3.01
N/A	176.1			5

Key	Country
AU	Australia
NZ	New Zealand
DE	Germany
FR	France
GU	Guatemala
DK	Denmark
CA	Canada
RU	Russia
N	Norway
SW	Sweden
CH	Switerland
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WTF happened to my tabs? – Rich Seller Oct 1 '09 at 17:35
ok the preview isn't matching the final output, now I'm grumpy – Rich Seller Oct 1 '09 at 17:40
looks like the CAPTCHA breaks the tabs – Rich Seller Oct 1 '09 at 17:43

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