Friday, March 20, 2009

Kiva's Northern Lights

As a Kiva fan who happens to live ten blocks from the office in San Francisco, I've had the pleasure of volunteering with Kiva's Customer Service team for the past few months through Kiva's in-office internship program.

In this role, I correspond with lenders all over the world, and I've often found myself curious about the geographic breakdown of Kiva's lenders, so I spent some time reviewing our reach this week and thought I'd share what I found.

Given Kiva's roots in California, it was no surprise to me that lenders in the U.S. still generate the large majority of the transactions on the site.

However, once you account for population size, it was exciting to learn that lending with Kiva is already more popular in Canada, Norway, and Iceland than it is here in the States. Among U.S. states, Alaska is the current per capita leader.

This all made me wonder, what is it about life in the northern latitudes that inspires these high levels of lending? Perhaps watching entrepreneurs grow their businesses helps make the long polar winter more bearable.

Today, as the sun emerges over the North Pole for the first time in six months, please join me in toasting all the Kiva lenders up north! Happy Spring!