Wednesday, July 20, 2011

100 People

If we could reduce the world's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, the demographics would look something like this:

The village would have 60 Asians, 14 Africans, 12 Europeans, 8 Latin Americans, 5 from the USA and Canada, and 1 from the South Pacific

51 would be male, 49 would be female
82 would be non-white; 18 white
67 would be non-Christian; 33 would be Christian
80 would live in substandard housing
67 would be unable to read
50 would be malnourished and 1 dying of starvation
33 would be without access to a safe water supply
39 would lack access to improved sanitation
24 would not have any electricity (And of the 76 that do have electricity, most would only use it for light at night.)
7 people would have access to the Internet
1 would have a college education
1 would have HIV
2 would be near birth; 1 near death
5 would control 32% of the entire world's wealth; all 5 would be US citizens
33 would be receiving --and attempting to live on-- only 3% of the income of "the village" 

These demographics are surprising aren't they? For those of us who live in the US, it's surprising - I know it was for me. Especially that about 1/3 of the world's wealth is concentrated in the US. 5 people in the USA (and Canada)...5 Americans control that wealth. Not 1 or 2... all 5. Amazing. 
33 people - obviously NOT the Americans - live on only 3% of the income. In America MY family is probably considered lower-middle class. Well, in the economy, maybe middle-middle, but we are struggling along with a lot of people. But we still have our house. We still have electricity and we still have internet and cell phones. We can't be doing that bad, right?

It baffles me that One Quarter of the people not only don't have internet, the don't even have electricity! Only 7 have internet? This vast mode of communication - this massive mode of business and commerce and world events - only 7% of people have it? That's unreal!

Something that does not surprise me is the racial demographics. I think a lot of white people in America don't realize that WE are the world minority. I live in The South where racial tensions are still high. I saw a guy the other day with "white pride" tattooed across the back of his neck. I was grossed out and embarrassed to be in line behind him. I was very glad my children could not read the scrawl. I really wanted to tap this guy on the shoulder and tell him, "Look, white people are the minority. Most of the food we eat, clothes we wear and items we use are 'non-white' in invention and production. And, Big Guy, in case you didn't know it - Jesus was NOT WHITE." 
Some people are just clueless. 

So what's the point? For me the point is to realize that my problems are "First World" problems - a faulty cell phone, paying $6 more for NetFlix a month, choosing from the dozen shirts and bottoms I have to create the "right" outfit. I even get to choose which church I want to go to. First World problems. I don't wonder where my next meal from come from. I don't worry that my door will be broken down and we'll be attacked for our station, heritage, or religion.  

What can we do? Share our wealth. Minister to others. Realize that even if we have a bad job and don't make a ton of money, we're still doing better than half of the rest of the world who are at risk of dying of starvation. We can still read, we have running water and electricity. 

I wish I had a magical solution to some of these problems (clean water, food, electricity, etc). I wish I had even a simple, small, non-magical solution. Right now all I seem to be able to do is share about it - raise awareness. Maybe one of you out there will have the solution to some of these problems in your grasp. 


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