Face-to-Face With the Average Human
With a world population approaching 7 billion, it's easy to lose sight of the average Joe.
But a recent project from National Geographic called "The Face of Seven Billion" places the spotlight on the typical human. Using a range of demographic data, this interactive collage depicts the average person on Earth.
The project portrays a 28-year-old Han Chinese male, whose portrait comprises smaller figurines, each representing 1 million people. The data were gathered from the CIA World Factbook and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Our standard world citizen is likely to speak Mandarin Chinese — along with 15 percent of the world — and probably lives in an urban environment working in a service-based field. It's easy to tell that China's booming population of 1.3 billion people makes it the leading influence for the project.
In fact, 19 percent of people in the world identify themselves as Chinese, compared with 4 percent in the American tent.
Do you wonder how wealthy our average Joe is?
Since these figures vary by geographic location, it might be easier to look here instead.
Also, we're not sure whether he follows traditional Eastern religions, given that 33 percent of the world's people identify themselves as Christian, compared with 21 percent Muslim.
And although the average person can probably read, some 18 percent of the world's human inhabitants cannot.
So what does this average person reveal about humanity?
For one, he symbolizes drastic social and economic growth, especially in the East. The project also focuses on the environmental impact of humans, as some label this new era the "Anthropocene," a new geologic epoch based on humans' negative impact on ecosystems. Another graphic spreads awareness of these changes by mapping carbon dioxide emissions as well as births and deaths worldwide.
By 2045, sources estimate that nearly 9 billion people will inhabit the Earth. By then, the average Joe may look like someone entirely different.
Photo credit: John Foxx/Stockbyte