Today's Topic



Really American,
Part I

Part II
Part III
Part IV

Natalia J. Garland

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In honor of the third anniversary of the September 11th attacks on our nation, I would like to share some interesting figures and comments on the quality of life around the world.

"If Earth's population was shrunk into a village of just 100 people with all the human ratios existing in the world still remaining, what would this tiny diverse village look like? That's exactly what Phillip M. Harter, a medical doctor at the Stanford University School of Medicine, attempted to figure out.



  • 57 would be Asian.
  • 21 would be European.
  • 14 would be from the Western Hemisphere.
  • 8 would be African.
  • 52 would be female.
  • 48 would be male.
  • 70 would be nonwhite.
  • 30 would be white.
  • 70 would be non-Christian.
  • 30 would be Christian.
  • 89 would be heterosexual.
  • 11 would be homosexual.
  • 6 people would possess 59 percent of the entire world's wealth, and all 6 would be from the United States.
  • 80 would live in substandard housing.
  • 70 would be unable to read.
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition.
  • 1 would be near death.
  • 1 would be pregnant.
  • 1 would have a college education.
  • 1 would own a computer.


Think of it this way. If you live in a good home, have plenty to eat and can read, you are a member of a very select group. And if you have a good house, food, can read and have a computer, you are among the very elite.

If you woke up this morning with more health than are more fortunate than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or are fortunate; more than three billion people in the world can't.

If you have a refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still are very rare, even in the United States.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are."
[End of quoted paragraphs.]

Of course, numbers require an interpretation of their significance, but I thought the face value of the above figures presented an astounding picture of global life. According to the Milken Institute, located in California, the above figures were mostly accurate.

There are, however, two corrections to be made. First, Dr. Harter was not the one who arrived at the above figures. It seems that the real author is unknown. Dr. Harter came across the figures, found them interesting, and e-mailed them to others. People apparently quoted him as the author and he has since become rather famous, although he does not take credit for the figures.

Second, an updated version of the figures was researched by Fast Company magazine in 2001. The following is the annotated version that Fast Company was able to verify.



  • 60 would be Asian.
  • 12 would be European.
  • 15 would be from the Western Hemisphere (9 Latin Americans, 5 North Americans, 1 Oceanian).
  • 13 would be African.
  • 50 would be female.
  • 50 would be male.
  • 80 would be nonwhite.
  • 20 would be white.
  • 67 would be non-Christian.
  • 33 would be Christian.
  • 20 people would possess 89 percent of the entire world's wealth.
  • 25 would live in substandard housing.
  • 17 would be unable to read.
  • 13 would suffer from malnutrition.
  • 1 would die within a year.
  • 2 would be born within a year.
  • 2 would have a college education.
  • 4 would own a computer.


I will give you time to digest the figures for yourself. Next week, I will add my comments, relate everything to the impact of September 11th, and discuss how I became really American after the attacks. (Written 09/06/04: bibliography available.)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2004 Natalia J. Garland