Economic Growth

In a world of just 100 people inequality becomes glaringly obvious

If there were only 100 people in the world, one person would control half of all global wealth Image: REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Emma Luxton
Senior Writer , Forum Agenda
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Economic Growth?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Economic Progress is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Economic Progress

When you shrink the world’s population down to only 100 people, you start to get an idea of just how unequal the world is.

That's exactly what GOOD Magazine has done, in a video showing how the global population would be broken down if it was made of only 100 people.

Using data from a variety of sources, including the CIA and 100 People, the video shows how the global population is divided up based on gender, age, religion and region.


When the world is broken down to only 100 people, there are an equal number of men and women. The majority of people (60%) live in Asia, and most people are aged between 25 and 54.

Christianity is the dominant religion – 31 people identify with the faith. There would be 23 Muslims, 15 Hindus and seven Buddhists. Sixteen people are unaffiliated with any religion.

Mandarin is the most popular language, spoken by 12 people, followed by Spanish and English. Beyond the top five languages, the rest of the world (70%) speaks 6,500 other languages.

But it's when the video turns to the level of global inequality that the figures start to look really shocking. More than 70% earned $10 or less a day, while 15% make less than $2 a day. One person earns more than $90 a day. And this same person controls 50% of wealth.

Basics such as education, shelter and clean water are unequally shared. More than one in 10 people are unable to read and write (14%), don’t have access to clean water (13%) or shelter (23%), and are malnourished or starving (16%).

Higher education is a privilege experienced by a minority, and only seven of the 100 people attended college.

More than half of the world is not connected to the internet, and a quarter don’t own a mobile phone. Meanwhile, 22 people don’t have access to electricity.

The video concludes with an important question: “If the world were 100 people, would we all fight harder for equality?”

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Why we must act now to revive women’s leadership prospects in an AI-driven workplace

Sue Duke

June 12, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum