North-South Centre - European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity

If the World were a village of 1000 people...


It would include:


    o 584 Asians
    o 124 Africans
    o 95 Europeans
    o 84 Latin Americans
    o 55 Russians and former Soviet republics
    o 52 North Americans
    o 6 People of the Pacific

there would be:

    o 329 Christians (among them 187 Catholics, 84 Protestants, 31 Orthodox)
    o 178 Muslims
    o 167 "Non religious"
    o 60 Buddhists
    o 45 Atheists
    o 32 Hindus
    o 3 Jews
    o 86 Other religions

Among other languages, the people of the village would speak:

    o 165 Mandarin
    o 86 English
    o 83 Hindu/Urdu
    o 64 Spanish
    o 58 Russian
    o 37 Arabic

The list accounts for the mother tongues of only half the village. The other half speak (in descending order of frequency) Bengali, Portuguese, Indonesian, Japanese, German, French, and over 5000 other languages.

Population, Healthcare and Education

One-third of the 1,000 people in the world village are children, and only 60 are over the age of 65.

Half the children are immunised against preventable diseases such as measles and polio.

Just under half of the married women in the village have access to and use modern contraceptives.

About one-third have access to clean, safe drinking water.

Of the 670 adults in the village, half are illiterate.

This year 28 babies will be born. Ten people will die, 3 of them for lack of food, 1 from cancer. Two of the deaths will be of babies born within the year. One person of that 1,000 in the village is infected with HIV; that person most likely has not yet developed a full-blown case of AIDS.
With the 28 births and 10 deaths, the population of the village next year will be 1,018.

Environment and Economy

In this 1,000 person community, 200 people receive 80 percent of the income; another 200 receive only 2 percent of the income.

Only 70 people of the 1,000 own an automobile (although some of the 70 own more than one car).

The village has 6 acres of land per person -6000 acres in all-of which:

    700 acres are cropland
    1,400 acres are pasture
    1,900 acres are woodland
    2,000 acres desert, tundra, pavement, and other wasteland.

The woodland is declining rapidly; the wasteland is increasing. The other land categories are roughly stable.

The village allocates 83 percent of its fertiliser to 40 percent of its cropland-that owned by the richest and best fed 270 people. Excess fertiliser running off this land causes pollution in lakes and wells. The remaining 60 percent of the land, with its 17 percent of the fertiliser, produces only 28 percent of the food but feeds 73 percent of the people. The average grain yield on that land is one-third the harvest achieved by the richer villagers.

In the village of 1000 people, there are:

    5 soldiers
    7 teachers
    1 doctor
    3 refugees driven from home by war or drought.

The village has a total yearly budget, public and private, of over $3million -$3,000 per person if it is distributed evenly (which, as we have already seen, it isn't).

Of the total $3 million:

$181,000 goes to weapons and warfare

$159,000 to education

$132,000 to health care.

The village has buried beneath it enough explosive power in nuclear weapons to blow itself to smithereens many times over. These weapons are under the control of just 100 of the people. The other 900 are watching them with deep anxiety, wondering whether they can learn to get along together; and if they do, whether they might set off the weapons anyway through inattention or technical bungling; and if they ever decide to dismantle the weapons, where in the world village will they dispose of the radioactive materials of which the weapons are made?

Main source: Resurgence, n170 - Social Trends, n68/1995
Other Sources:
If the world were a village of 100 people and
(a simpler version with total population extimate still at 5 billion)

One World One Village

(different data and a one-page comment)

World Village

(series of slides on the same topic, quite USA centric)