Maps of Inequity Among the World’s Seven Billion People

Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 5:00 am

Maps of Inequity Among the World’s Seven Billion People

The World of Seven Billion: Where and How We Live
My household just received the latest issue of National Geographic, which contains a massive pull-out poster showing “a composite face of the world’s most typical person” as the total world population nears seven billion people.
The portrait is fascinating to ponder, but it’s the poster’s back side featuring a comparative chart of the world that presents some striking differences and disparities. The mapmakers have categorized the world’s populations into four groups of annual income-earners: low-income ( or less), lower middle (-,945), upper middle (,946-,195), and high (more than ,196). Then they highlight selected statistics — birth rates, number of cars, fertility and net migration rates, and others — and show the differences among the four groups through more data.
The father of two boys under the age of five, I found the disparity among the fatality rates of children age five and under absolutely gut-wrenching: low-income families see 120 deaths per 1,000 live births whereas high-income families only experience seven deaths. It’s tragic, but even bumping those low-income earners over the ,000 dollar threshold into the lower middle class halves the number of deaths. For more, check out an interactive version of this map on NatGeo’s site.

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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