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Business - Written by on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 23:10 - 3 Comments

The World as 100 people

I came across the notion of shrinking the world down to 100 people in a blog post by Jim Estill.  I figured I’d look into it a bit deeper (I powered up the Google machine), to see what stats I can come across that would surprise me.  I came across a film project called “100 People: A World Portrait“.

The project will find and capture in film, photography, music and text 100 individuals who represent the global population, proportionate to annual global surveys and statistics. This World Portrait will be used to make an introduction between the peoples of the earth and to facilitate a greater understanding of the diversity and the commonalities among us.   

Looking through the stats of the people who would be part of the ‘ideal’ 100, it’s interesting to compare the world you would picture in 100 people to the actual 100.  I’d love to see the same idea applied to one of the world’s many global firms.  Take a look at some of the stats after the jump to see how different your image of the global 100 is to the actual. 


  • 50 would be female
  • 50 would be male 

First Languages 

  • 17 would speak Chinese
  • 8 would speak Hindustani
  • 8 would speak English
  • 7 would speak Spanish
  • 4 would speak Arabic
  • 4 would speak Russian
  • 3 would speak Bengali
  • 2 would speak Malay-Indonesian
  • 2 would speak French
  • 45 would speak other languages (this one suprised me) 

Drinking Water

  • 83 would have access to safe drinking water
  • 17 would use unimproved water  
  • 50 would live in poverty  


  • 31 would be Christian
  • 21 would be Muslim
  • 14 would be Hindu
  • 6 would be Buddhist
  • 12 would believe in other religions
  • 16 would not be religious or identify themselves as being aligned with a particular faith 


  • 34 would be cell phone subscribers
  • 17 would be active internet users
  • 1 would own a computer 

 A few more. 


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Naumi Haque
May 1, 2008 11:18

Only one would own a computer! Wow.
It would be intersting to see wage levels as well. I bet only one or two people out of 100 would make what most Westerners consider “a decent wage.”

Thusenth Dhavaloganathan
May 1, 2008 19:30

I think one of the stats was that 53 lived on less than $2USD a day – so $730 a year.

Mike Dover
May 7, 2008 11:58

I found it suprising that only one would be a college graduate

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