Who Leads the World in Roller Coasters; What that may tell us about how Playful a Country is

In that summer is fully here (I don’t know about where you live but here in the American Northeast it is HOT!) it seems like the right time to talk about roller coasters and what love of roller coasters may say about a people and their love of play?  Does the number of roller coasters in a country tell us something about the people who live there?  In other words, can we say that the more the roller coasters the more playful the country?


In order to find out I decided to do some analysis.  First stop, what are the top countries in the world for roller coasters? 

            Country             No. of Roller Coasters

  1. United States                         761      
  2. China                                    548      
  3. Japan                                   214      
  4. United Kingdom                     169      
  5. Germany                               134
  6. France                                    96        
  7. Italy                                       67
  8. India                                      64        
  9. Canada                                   55   
  10. South Korea                            50


But wait a minute, before you start chanting USA, USA; let’s recalculate these based upon population.  Here are the pro rata rankings:


 Country                         Population per roller coaster 

  1. United Kingdom                            366,863
  2. United States                                411,300
  3. Japan                                           598,130
  4. Germany                                       604,477
  5. Canada                                         618,161
  6. France                                          677,083
  7. Italy                                             910,447
  8. South Korea                                  980,000
  9. China                                        2,372,262
  10. India                                        18,750,000

Should we be surprised that the UK is number 1?  Well, what about what Shakespeare has Henry V say in the play of the same name?  Called the “St. Crispin’s Day Speech,” Henry (Hal) is about to lead his men into battle against what seemed to be insurmountable odds when he makes an inspiring speech to him men.  He tells them to rejoice: “"[W]e few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”  It seems to me that if you can be happy about getting killed you are probably absolutely delighted about riding a roller coaster.  Well, the speech worked and the British won; nice job, Henry!

But is the UK really the number one country for roller coasters? 

Well, no they are not.  Denmark is.  That small country with its 37 roller coasters is the leader because they have one roller coaster for every 151,351 people.  I guess it shouldn’t really surprise us as it is the Danes who essentially invented the first modern amusement park (Tivoli Gardens). In fact if you go to Copenhagen it is still there and worth a trip.

So, are the people of Denmark the most playful people in the world?  Will China get to work building more amusement parks so they can pass the United States?  What do you think?

2 thoughts

  1. Interesting stat’s, but I’d be wary of reading too much into them.
    That said, there must be a description of a country’s personality hidden within them and that may influence the types of toys (or perhaps the branding) that works best in local markets.
    And that is an interesting subject now that the internet allows individuals to express themselves in a more personal way that may not run in line with global, mass marketing techniques.

  2. Interesting analysis Richard
    I’m from Denmark and we may have many roller coasters here (being a game inventor I even invented a game called “Roll-a-Coaster”). But they can definitely NOT live up to the quality of the roller coasters I’ve tried in the US in California, Texas, Florida, and New Jersey.
    But, considering the playful aspect, I guess we are pretty playful here. Traditional board games are very popular here and ranging from very simple games to heavier Euro-style games.
    Thanks for your always interesting Toy News, Richard 🙂

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