50 facts that should change the world

I have been reading 50 facts that should change the world by Jessica Williams. She is a television producer for the BBC. She fleshes out each fact with a 3-5 page essay. Well worth a read. Here I have only given the facts without the essay. Hopefully these 50 facts will change the world.

1. The average Japanese woman can expect to live to be 84. The average Batswana will reach just 39.

2. A third of the world’s obese people live in the developing world.

3. The US and Britain have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world.

4. China has 44 million missing women.

5. Brazil has more Avon ladies than members of its armed services.

6. Eighty-one percent of the world’s executions in 2005 took place in just four countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

7. British supermarkets know more about their consumers than the British government does.

8. Every cow in the European Union is subsidised by $2.50 a day. That’s more than what 75 per cent of Africans have to live on.

9. In more than 70 countries, same-sex relationships are illegal. In nine countries, the penalty is death.

10. One in five of the world’s people live on less than a $1 a day.

11. More than 12,000 women are killed each year in Russia as a result of domestic violence.

12. In 2006, 16 million Americans had some form of plastic surgery.

13. Landmines kill or maim at least one person every hour.

14. There are 44 million child labourers in India.

15. People in industrialised countries eat between fourteen and fifteen pounds of food additives every year.

16. David Beckham’s deal with the LA Galaxy Football team will earn him $100 every minute.

17. Seven million American women and 1 million American men suffer from eating disorder.

18. Twenty-eight percent of American teenagers have tried illegal drugs and more than a quarter are regular cigarette smokers.

19. One million people become new mobile subscribers everyday. some eighty-five percent of them live in emerging markets.

20. Cars kill two people every minute.

21. Since 1977, there have been nearly 120,000 acts of violence or disruption at abortion clinics in North America.

22. Global warming already kills 150,000 every year.

23. In Kenya, bribery payments make up a third of the average household budget.

24. The world’s trade in illegal drugs is estimated to be worth around $400 billion – about the same as the world’s legal pharmaceutical industry.

25. A third of Americans believe aliens have landed on Earth.

26. More than 150 countries use torture.

27. Everyday, one in five of the world’s population – some 800 million people – go hungry.

28. Black men born in the US today stand a one in three chance of going to jail.

29. A third of the world’s population is at war.

30. The world’s oil reserves could be exhausted by 2040.

31. Eighty-two percent of the world’s smokers live in developing countries.

32. Britons buy 3 million items of clothing every year – an average of 50 pieces each. Most of which end up being thrown away.

33. A quarter of the world’s armed conflicts of recent years have involved a struggle for natural resources.

34. Some 30 million people in Africa are HIV-positive.

35. Ten languages die out every year.

36. More people die each year from suicide than in all world’s armed conflicts.

37. Every week, an average of 54 children are expelled from American schools for bringing a gun to class.

38. There are at least 300,000 prisoners of conscience in the world.

39. Two million girls and women are subjected to female genital mutilation each year.

40. There are 300,000 child soldiers fighting conflicts around the world.

41. Nearly 26 million people voted in 2001 British General Election. More than 32 million votes were cast in the first season of Pop Idol.

42. One in six English teenagers believe that reality television will make them famous.

43. In 2005, the US spent $554 billion on its military. This is 29 times the combined military spending of the six “rogue states”.

44. There are 27 million slaves in the world today.

45. Americans discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. That’s enough bottles to reach all the way to the moon every three weeks.

46. The average urban Briton is caught on camera up to 300 times a day.

47. Some 120,000 women and girls are trafficked into Western Europe every year.

48. A kiwi fruit flown from New Zealand to Britain emits five times its own weight in greenhouse gases.

49. The US owes the United Nations more than $1 billion in unpaid dues.

50. Children living in poverty are three times more likely to suffer a mental illness than children from wealthy families.

19 thoughts on “50 facts that should change the world”

  1. Thanks Warren. Global issues would always exist in one form or another. These issues would always give birth to more issues. They can however be mitigated by effective policies and good governance.


  2. This is a great post… I really like the idea of overpopulation being the root of all problems….


  3. Knowing this will affect the way think about our culture. Why should children have guns and access to them in the first place? Why do they want to bring them to school? Why are children so violent in their thinking in the West?


  4. I don’t get that why “Every week, an average of 54 children are expelled from American schools for bringing a gun to class.” will affect the future…


  5. Overpopulation is already tackled. Due to increased women education the number of births per women has been steadily decreasing in almost every countries for several decades. It is estimated that we’ll reach 9 billions earthlings in 2050 after which global population should start declining (which it already does in a few third world countries).


  6. Three comments:
    First are you counting the 8 million people who have eating disorders in with the 800 million people who go hungry? Or, to get a truly accurate number, do we have to separate out the anorexics from the bulimics. And what of those who don’t have a diagnosed eating disorder but rather subject themselves to an extremely low calorie diet? Are they technically going hungry? And what about recent reports that suggest that following a restricted calorie diet can extend your life?

    Second, Cars don’t kill people. People driving cars kill people. I know that 1/3 of Americans believe in aliens, but cars a la Christine, not so much.

    Finally, why haven’t you included statistics on overpopulation, which we all know is the root of every one of the problems you listed above. This year the planet’s population will exceed 7 billion. We can’t sustain this. Who is going to tackle that problem?


  7. Re: #2 & #3
    You’re confusing “developing world” with “developed world”. The US and Europe are fully industrialized & developed nations with a high GDP.


  8. 15. People in industrialised countries eat between fourteen and fifteen of food additives every year.

    Foutreen and fifteen what?


  9. Worth having on one’s shelf I think. Not the most beautiful of prose though. I found the same list for the first edition. In the second edition she has updated some facts while replacing others completely.


  10. This is fascinating. All 50 topics are intriguing and worth investigating. Jessica Williams has made a valuable contribution that I think, since we love lists, has great appeal to a general audience.


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