This year we have covered Nat Geo’s 7 Billion Project. An ambitious series that looks closely at overpopulation. The second installment asks the question, in a world of 7 billion people, who is the most “typical” person?

Rev. Thomas Malthus, toward the end of the book in which he formulated the iron law by which unchecked population growth leads to famine, he declared that law is a good thing: It gets us off our duffs. It leads us to conquer the world. Man, Malthus wrote, and he must have meant woman too, is “inert, sluggish, and averse from labour, unless compelled by necessity.” But necessity, he added, gives hope:

“The exertions that men find it necessary to make, in order to support themselves or families, frequently awaken faculties that might otherwise have lain for ever dormant, and it has been commonly remarked that new and extraordinary situations generally create minds adequate to grapple with the difficulties in which they are involved.”

With nine billion people by 2045. WIll this still be the case?

Acording to NatGeo and the 7Billion Project, most future population growth will happen in the less developed countries, where birthrates currently remain highest. Since 2008, the majority of the worlds population has shifted from rural to 50% urban however most urbanites live in cities with fewer than 500,000 people. (I am in the minority here).

Interestingly, the majority of the worlds internet use is through shared computers in libraries, cafes and offices with computers still seen as a luxury in most countries. More so due to the cost and infrastructure of good electrical and internet supply. However, the greatest symbol of rising income status is the increase sales of cars, (the leading source globally for CO2 emmissions) which have quadrupled since 1998.

Consider the annual income averages across the planet: 1 billion people earn less than $995 with 6 billion between $996 and $3495. Between that and $12195 sits a further 1 billion people with final billion people, (high income earners) earning more than $12,196 .

So, who is the worlds most typical person?

The world’s most typical person is right-handed, makes less than $12,000 a year, has a cell phone but not a bank account. Based on these traits, the world’s most typical person is a 28-year-old Chinese man. But he won’t be typical for long. By 2030, that person will come from India, and typical is always relative.”