Urban Legends

If the Earth Were 100 People

The Legend

Found on the Internet in October 2000.

If the entire population of the Earth was compressed and combined until it was precisely represented by a village of 100 people, there would be:

  • 57 Asians
  • 21 Europeans
  • 8 Africans
  • 2 from the Middle East
  • 57 would own convenience stores or be really good at math and computers
  • 21 would be snooty and condescending
  • 8 would be unusually well endowed
  • 2 would be potential terrorists
  • 51 females
  • 48 males
  • 1 "other"
  • 30 would be white
  • 70 wouldn't
  • 30 would be Christians
  • 70 would be going to Hell
  • 89 would be heterosexual
  • 11 more would be going to hell
  • 6 people would own 59% of the entire world's wealth, and they would be Bill Gates, Paul McCartney, Donald Trump, Ross Perot, a Saudi prince, and an amalgum of various Kennedys and Hiltons
  • 80 would live in substandard housing
  • 12 would live in standard housing in a place with really bad standards
  • 30 would be able to read
  • 70 would be unable to respond to this survey when it was mailed to them
  • 11 would own a computer
  • 10 would engage in illegal file sharing
  • 9 would have computer viruses
  • 2 really cool ones would own an iPod
  • 1 would be near death
  • 1 would be near birth
  • 2 would be arranging for another birth
  • 1 would walk in on them and perhaps cause another death
  • 3 would have a college education
  • 1 would have a college education and actually be able to use it for something
  • 1 would believe OJ is innocent
  • Nobody would be reading this list

Behind the Legend

These statistics, although interesting and (at least in the case of the more objective and less racist ones) completely accurate, are difficult to verify. The closest we can come is to take a look at the small village of Joyeux in France, popularized in a book by Hillary Clinton, which has 100 inhabitants and claims to "exactly mimic the makeup of the world population."

From the example of Joyeux, we can conclude that out of 100 people representing the world, 50 would be female, 2 would have a college education, and all would speak French. This is fairly close to the statistics being circulated, adding to the likelihood of their veracity.

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If any significant true information has slipped through, we apologize.
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