Friday, April 16, 2010


I don't know if it's just me or there have been a lot of natural disasters in the last couple months, earthquakes in Chile, Haiti, China, the volcano in Iceland, etc. Any such event makes global headlines even when the death toll is just a few people ("just" directed at "few", not "people").

When these events happen, I'm often cynical about the hype. On the one hand, I agree that death is just about the most profound event available for the media to examine. On the other hand, I like to keep things in numerical perspective.

Assuming that there are 6 billion people in the world, and assuming each person lives 70 years on average, each person then lives about 26,000 days. On average, then, it seems that about 6 billion/26,000 = 230,000 people would be dying around the world every day. However, with rapid population growth, death rates have not caught up to birth rates, so the number of people dying every day is a bit lower than that. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that currently about 150,000 people die every day (and more than twice that number are born every day!).


Anonymous dr perfection said...

It isn't that they died, it is how the large numbers died and the sudden devastation and concentrated grief. But you already know that...I guess. I doubt whether you would be cynical if you were to be found in the midst of one of these earthquakes.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just yesterday the thought crossed my mind that we must be having more earthquakes than ever before. Maybe they just get more attention these days.


6:54 PM  

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