7 billion people: Who owns the computers and cell phones?

March 6, 2011 - 0:0

A staggering seven billion people now inhabit our planet. It's a number so large that it's difficult to conceptualize. But National Geographic is helping, with a new special online series of infographics, videos and photos, called Seven Billion, that examines a plethora of information about how we live, and how we live differently from one another based on income, location, and other factors.

The stats include technology, that indispensible 21st century necessity. In analyzing the world's population by income level, the magazine reports that the world's 1 billion poorest own 22 mobile phones per 100 people, but only have 1.2 computers per 100 people. All told, those billion make $995 or less a year and reside primarily in Africa. Lower-middle income populations, which account for 4 billion people (earning $995 to $3,945 per year) mostly in India, China, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa, own 47 mobile phones per 100 people and have 4.3 personal computers per 100 people.
The one billion upper middle income people, residing mostly in South America, Russia, and Eastern Europe, own 92 mobile phones and have nearly 12 computers per 100 people. The highest earners making more than $12,195 per year—and there's about a billion of them, mostly in North America and Western and Northern Europe—have on average more than one mobile phone per person (106 per 100 people) and have 60.4 personal computers per 100 people.
Additionally, National Geographic teamed up with digital artist Joe Lertola of Bryan Christie Design and researchers at Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing to create a digital portrait of what should be the ""average person,"" based on data about who makes up the seven billion people.
The picture shows a 28-year-old Han Chinese male. The Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, which helped generate the image, used photos that it had collected over 10 years from several national technology research programs, according to National Geographic.
The publication then had digital artist Joe Lertola of Bryan Christie Design turn out a poster based on the original image, but using 7,000 smaller images of people cobbled together. These smaller figures represent 1 million people each, thereby visualizing the 7 billion people now on Earth.
(Source: PC Magazine)