Even if you aren’t particularly fond of mathematics, it is difficult to argue about the importance of statistics. They not only follow us around everywhere we go in commercials, adverts and informative pieces, they play a huge role in our understanding of the world and how we develop new systems. Stats can help to predict natural disasters, cure diseases and ensure that we plan ahead for any problems. They can also be incredibly useful in being retrospective. Statisticians are able to put raw data into readable forms so that we can look at the human race as a whole and not only know more about the world, but also more about ourselves.
After all, there are few topics that fascinate human beings than topics about ourselves. Our race is unique on the planet in that we have sentience and are capable of looking at our own species with a critical eye. This has led to a huge amount of research being carried out to study the human race, whether in examining our lifestyle habits or investigating the effect we have had on the environment around us. Unfortunately, these studies don’t always show us in the best light.
There are plenty of statistics out there that will shock you. This might be because of the bizarre things they tell you about our species or simply because they show how different we all are and the varying conditions that we live in. Whatever the case, these stats are some of the most shocking you will ever find about humanity.
15. Wars Might Have Killed 1 Billion People
Everyone is aware of how wars can cause a huge amount of devastation and destruction. That is why, for the most part, nations have decided to try to settle disputes with diplomacy rather than engaging in conflict. While modern wars have generally only seen hundreds or thousands of people die, it was common for large scale struggles to claim the lives of millions of individuals. For example, an estimated 60 million were killed during the Second World War.
While it is difficult to calculate the exact number of people who have been killed during wars, it is clear that the number is likely to be exceptionally high. The 21st century alone saw more than 100 million killed in various different battles. The total number could be as high as 1 billion people, especially when you consider the other facts that come into play because of these types of conflicts. This can include starvation, disease and mass poverty.
14. Blind People Suffer More Nightmares
In 2014, a Danish study showed that blind people have more nightmares than those who have normal sight. This means that around 25% of their dreams are nightmares compared to just 6% of dreams being nightmares for others. Those who are born blind also have more bad dreams than people who become blind later in life.
According to the researchers who carried out the study, the reason that blind people suffer from nightmares more than other people is because nightmares are linked to real life threats and those who cannot see are subjected to more dangerous situations on a daily basis. “At the core of my nightmares is a feeling of complete helplessness,” says Andersen. “The study confirms an already existing hypothesis that people’s nightmares are associated with emotions they experience while awake. And blind people apparently experience more threatening or dangerous situations during the day than people with normal sight.”
13. The US Drinks A Lot Of Soda
The popularity of drinks such as Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew, show that sodas are one of the most important types of drink in the world today. While it is perfectly fine to drink such beverages in moderation, there are serious health risks for those who consume more than they should. This is significant considering just how much soda is drunk every year in the United States.
Since the 1970s, soda consumption has tripled in the United States. The National Soft Drink Association has revealed that the public drinks 600 cans of soda every single year on average, with the biggest consumers being males under the age of 30. These people drink on average half a gallon of soda every day, meaning that they drink 160 gallons a year.
12. All Humans Are Descended From Just 10,000 Individuals
All humans who are currently alive today are descended from around 10,000 individuals who lived 70,000 years ago – a time when the species almost went extinct. This was a result of the Toba supervolcanic eruption that ushered in a volcanic winter of more than six years and cooled the Earth significantly for up to 1,000 years.
The eruption led to dramatic change in the global ecology, causing drought, destruction of food, and a severe alteration of weather. This killed off a large proportion of the human species, reducing the number to less than 10,000 individuals. The effects of this can still be seen today as the reduction in human breeding pairs led to a genetic bottleneck, meaning that almost all human DNA is identical. This is in stark contrast with our close relatives, like chimpanzees, that have a huge variety in their DNA.
11. Almost Half Of The Population Lives In Poverty
Although great strides have been made in the world to reduce poverty and bring about a fairer distribution of wealth, these efforts have largely been focused in Europe and the Americas. Countries in Asia and Africa in particular, still have huge amounts of poverty, with people living on tiny amounts of money that would seem incomprehensible to most in the West.
The situation is so bad that almost half the population, some 3 billion people, are still living in poverty throughout the world. These billions of people are living on less than $2.50 a day, with around 45% of them surviving with just $1.25 a day. What makes matters even worse, an estimated 1 billion children are also living in these desperate conditions – something that leads to 22,000 dying every single day.
10. Nearly Half Of People Believe In Ghosts
Almost half of the population believes that ghosts are real – at least in the United States. Surveys and polls have shown that upwards of 42% of people think that ghosts are real despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence for their existence. Similarly, a quarter of people believe in witches and 24% think that reincarnation is something that genuinely happens. While some of these superstitious ideas are fading, others are actually increasing over time.
This lack of scientific understanding and critical thinking ability might also explain why just 54% of Americans agree that climate change is largely the result of human activity. It could also help us to understand why almost one in 10 people living in the United States believes that the moon landing was fake.
9. We Create Lots Of Junk
Considering the huge amount of food and drink we consume, in addition to a large amount of products that are used and discarded on a daily basis, it should come as no surprise that humans create a lot of junk throughout their lives. The sheer amount though is shocking when you consider the entire population of the planet and the distinct lack of recycling that occurs in most countries.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw out just over 4 pounds of rubbish every single day. That means that the entire population of the United States creates almost 1.4 billion pounds of junk daily or more than 500 billion pounds over the course of a year. The United States is not alone either, as European countries also create a lot of waste material while countries like India and China are quickly starting to catch up.
8. Only Humans Enjoy Spicy Food
Throughout human history, people have enjoyed spicy foods. It’s not uncommon for meals to include spices and herbs that make food hotter, and things like chilies are becoming more and more popular. This is unique in the animal kingdom though, as no other creature seems to actively enjoy eating hot or spicy food.
This makes sense as the entire point of something being spicy is to try to stop it from being eaten. It creates a defense that deters anything from consuming it as it causes irritation and pain. Studies have shown that animals will always prefer to eat non-spicy foods whenever possible, suggesting that there must be some biological reason why humans enjoy it. It seems that people actually get some pleasure from the pain aspect of hot food as the pain and pleasure systems in the brain overlap and can work together.
7. More Than 700 Million People Can’t Read
It wasn’t that long ago that the vast majority of the human population was unable to read or write. In fact, it was common before the 20th century that only the rich elites would learn to be literate, with the public even being discouraged from trying to improve their reading skills. Thanks to established education systems and a more equal society, most people alive today are able to develop these skills while at school.
That still doesn’t mean that there aren’t illiterate people in the world. While the adult literacy rate has risen to 84% over the last few decades, some 775 million people are still unable to read or write. While a lack of education can be blamed for most of these, the truth is that gender equality has played a huge role as two-thirds of those adults who are illiterate are female. This is because, in poorer nations, boys are often chosen to attend school over girls, leaving the female population without any sort of education.
6. Hearts Attacks Are More Likely On Mondays
Heart disease is one of the biggest killers of human beings across the globe. In particular, heart attacks and other cardiovascular events can cause severe damage to the body and kill a person incredibly quickly. This has led to plenty of research into heart disease, with some of the findings being particularly strange.
It turns out that people are more susceptible to heart attacks during their sleep and just after they wake. This is because the blood becomes thicker and more sludge-like during this period, allowing it to block arteries more easily. Getting up in the morning also provides extra stress to the body and stress is a known contributor to heart attack risk. For the same reasons, cardiovascular problems are more likely to occur on Mondays as people go back to work after a weekend of relaxation. The stress of having to go back to demanding and depressing jobs leads to an increased risk, with some suggesting that 20% of all heart problems happen on a Monday.
5. We Kill 100 Species Every Year
There is little doubt that human beings have had a huge impact on the planet. Climate change is wreaking havoc on the environment, while things like deforestation, pollution, and the destruction of habitats have also had a significant effect on the overall ecosystem. These factors, including others such as hunting, have all led to a huge number of species becoming endangered or going extinct.
Research carried out by the World Resources Institute indicates that more than 100 species die every single day due to issues such as these. The problem has become so severe that some researchers believe that by the year 2050, half of all plants and animals that are currently alive will be extinct, making us one of the biggest killers that the planet has ever seen.
4. There Are Millions Of Dead Profiles On Facebook
Facebook has more than 1.5 billion users, so it seems sensible to assume that a large number of people who have made a profile at some point over the last decade will have passed away. The numbers though are much higher than you might have thought. Around 10,000 people who are registered on Facebook die every day, leading to more than 30 million profiles no longer having a living owner.
Fortunately, Facebook has considered the effect of having millions of dead people still on the social media site and the distress it could cause to close family members and friends. Users can report to the site that a person has died and if they can provide proof of death or that they are a relative of the deceased, they can either delete the account or put it into a memorial status so that people will know they have passed away.
3. Religious Violence Is On The Rise
Although wars between states have without a doubt caused more damage to humanity than violence incited by religion, it is the latter that is on the rise. While the world is becoming less and less violent, conflicts caused in the name of religious beliefs are growing and reached a six-year high in 2012.
“Today we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species’ existence,” said Dr. Steven Pinker of Harvard University. “In a century that began with 9/11, Iraq, and Darfur, the claim that we are living in an unusually peaceful time may strike you as somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene.” Research shows that almost a third of all the countries in the world currently have some sort of religious hostility going on within them, with the problem growing in almost every single region on Earth, with the notable exception of the Americas.
2. Mosquitoes Have Killed Millions Of People
Out of all the animals that live on the planet, few would suspect that the most deadly and dangerous of them all would be a small flying insect. After all, creatures such as sharks and lions are obviously capable killers, with sharp teeth and powerful bodies that allow them to easily overpower humans. They would seem much more likely to be responsible for a large number of human deaths every year.
The truth is though, that it isn’t the mosquitoes themselves that are dangerous but the fact that they transmit malaria. Some 600,000 people die every year from malaria, an easily preventable disease, with estimates stating that around 200 million people have currently contracted the disease from the insects. Mosquitoes can also transmit other deadly diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis.
1. More People Own Cellphones Than Toilets
The popularity of cell phones has increased dramatically over the past 20 years. These devices have moved from being a relatively uncommon gadget that just a few well-off people owned to an indispensable part of our everyday lives. While there are certainly many expensive models on the market, the cheap availability of many of the materials used in their construction now means that mobile phones are affordable to the vast majority of people.
In fact, they are so affordable that recent research by the United Nations has shown that more people actually own a cellphone than a functioning toilet. Around six billion people own a cell phone of some sort but only 4.5 billion have access to their own flushing lavatory. This is a major problem as a lack of sanitation can have serious consequences in regards to health, prompting the UN to launch an initiative to improve the situation for some 2.5 billion people.
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