News+Politics March 26, 2013
INFOGRAPHIC: If The World Was 100 People

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There are a lot of people in the world - 7 billion or so at the moment, and counting.

It's a staggering number. But what if there were only 100 people on the planet?

It would definitely make it easier to understand who everybody is. We could just gather all 100 people together, look around the room, and find out.

That's the idea behind this infographic. As designer Jack Hagley points out, the world as 100 people isn't a new concept.

It's been around since 1990, originally from an article titled "If the world were a village of 1000 people," by a Dartmouth professor Donella Meadows.

But this is a nice graphic representation, and it offers a thought-provoking look at humanity: how old we are, what languages we speak, how many of us have shelter, clean water, and food, what our religious beliefs are.

The data comes from 100 People: A World Portrait, an organization that's working to "find 100 people that represent the other 7 billion of us."

Of course, the data isn't precise. Professors Fritz J. Erickson and John A. Vonk, who put it together, said: "Our task was to define a few variables and develop a rational, logical, and well-founded basis for representing the world's population.

"Are we 100 per cent accurate? No. Is it possible to be 100 per cent accurate? No. Is it possible to have a high degree of confidence that what is represented here likely represents the world population? Yes."

You can read more about their methods on their About the Data page.

As for the organization's plan to find 100 people who represent the rest of us, they're using schools to complete the project.

They're asking 500 schools from 100 countries to nominate 10,000 people, from whom they will pick 100.

Then, they'll take portraits of those 100 people, which will become a multi-media traveling exhibition called 'The World Portrait'.

They've developed a lesson plan explaining how students can nominate someone to represent their community. Here's their video:

The goal of all their work is to "cultivate respect, create dialogue, and inspire global citizenship."

For a beautiful explanation of what they're hoping to achieve, check out the quote that closes out the video. It's from astronaut Bin Salman al-Saud, who talked about his experience on the International Space Station:

"The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth."



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