Our global village:

If the earth's population (over 6 billion now -- 9 billion by 2050) could be shrunk to approximately 100 people and yet retain existing human ratios:

8 people would be Africans
14 people would be Americans (north, central and south)
21 people would be Europeans
57 people would be Asians
52 people would be women
48 people would be men
70 people would be of color
30 people would be white
70 people would be non-Christian
30 people would be Christian
89 people would be heterosexual
11 people would be homosexual
70 people would be unable to read
66 people would never have made a telephone call
40 would not have electricity
80 would live in a developing country
80 people would live in substandard housing
50 would suffer from malnutrition
47 would live on less than $2 U.S. per day
6 people (ALL U.S. CITIZENS) would control 59% of the village wealth
1 person would have a college education
2 would own computers
1 would be on Twitter or tweet

Other data worthy of noting:
Ninty-seven percent of population increase occurs in less developed regions; each year Asian population increases by 50 million, Africa by 17 million, and Latin America and the Caribbean, 8 million.

Regarding wealth in the United States, the gap between rich and poor has grown. Now, the top 1% (2.7 million) will have as many after-tax dollars as the bottom 100 million.

The ratio has doubled since 1977 (when the top 1% had as much as the bottom 49 million).

The poorest one-fifth of households will average $8,000, down from $10,000 in 1977.

Since 1992, the world has lost 10% more of its tropical forest (about a million square miles).

Since 1992, population has increased by 1 billion while energy and material consumption have soared -- and Co-2 emissions and temperatures continued to climb. Now 40% of the total productivity of the planet are used by humans at the expense of other species and habitats.

Since 1992, another 100,000 species have gone extinct. (It would take only 10% of the world's military spending -- and new thinking, of course -- to fix many of the problems.)

The use of fossil fuels has multiplied by 5 in 50 years. Oil consumption has multiplied by 8 -- today the world uses in 1.5 months the amount of oil used in one year in 1950.

The growing land per inhabitant has been cut in half 50 years -- and in 2000 1/3 of the world's children less than 5 suffered from malnutrition.

The world's use of water has multiplied by 5 times since 1940 (while the world's population has doubled since then). The average Kenyan uses 1.24 gallons of water a day; the average New Yorker uses just over 180 gallons per day. One billion people do not have access to potable water (up from 250 million a decade ago.

The average American produces 1,540 pounds of trash per year -- the average person in France half that.

The Earth's astmosphere absorbs 1/3 of the carbonic gasses produced every year -- the remaining 2/3 build up (greenhouse effect) an off-balance climate that generates natural disasters such as floods, storms, droughts and fires.

Sources: United Nations Demographic data; WWU Women's Studies Program; Harper's Magazine; Every Other Weekly; WWU Healthnotes; The Millennium: A Rough Guide to the Year 2000; Seattle P-I (Sept. 5, 1999, p. 1); "Sustain the planet that sustains us," Richard Steiner, Seattle P-I, Aug. 21, 2002, B9. Earth from Above by Herve Le Bras, 2001
Top of page

Redesigned 2012; checked 2016