Wednesday, March 11, 2009

maybe Paul Ehrlich was right

The UN has updated population statistics. It's grim. Global population is expected to hit 9.2 billion by midcentury, and most of that growth will happen in all the wrong places. A number of countries that really can't support a tripling of their population in 40 years, like Niger and Afghanistan, are about to experience one nonetheless. Niger heads up the field in alarmingly low median age, at 15.1. Not much better is Zimbabwe, at 15.5, though that number is skewed by their awful life expectancy of 38 years.

Another interesting statistic is how the male-female ratio by country, which in normal populations is almost always .95-.99 (ie. there are 95-99 males for every 100 females), is scarily skewed the opposite way in a handful of countries. Sure, there's the predictably froth-inducing figure in China (1.08), but that's nothing on Bahrain (1.35), which has eclipsed Oman (1.29) as having the lowest percentage of women on Earth. The Saudis aren't far behind, at 1.23.

They may just be data charts, but they're fascinating in how much they reveal about the society in question. Check it out.

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