Stats That Reshape Your World-View by Hans Rosling (Transcript)

And today, we have in Vietnam the same life expectancy and the same family size here in Vietnam, 2003, as in United States, 1974, by the end of the war. I think we all — if we don’t look in the data — we underestimate the tremendous change in Asia, which was in social change before we saw the economical change.

Let’s move over to another way here in which we could display the distribution in the world of the income. This is the world distribution of income of people. One dollar, 10 dollars or 100 dollars per day. There’s no gap between rich and poor any longer. This is a myth. There’s a little hump here. But there are people all the way.

And if we look where the income ends up — the income — this is 100 percent the world’s annual income. And the richest 20 percent, they take out of that about 74 percent. And the poorest 20 percent, they take about two percent. And this shows that the concept of developing countries is extremely doubtful. We think about aid, like these people here giving aid to these people here. But in the middle, we have most the world population, and they have now 24 percent of the income.

We heard it in other forms. And who are these? Where are the different countries? I can show you Africa. This is Africa. 10 percent the world population, most in poverty. This is OECD. The rich country. The country club of the U.N. And they are over here on this side. Quite an overlap between Africa and OECD. And this is Latin America. It has everything on this Earth, from the poorest to the richest, in Latin America. And on top of that, we can put East Europe, we can put East Asia, and we put South Asia.

And how did it look like if we go back in time, to about 1970? Then there was more of a hump. And we have most who lived in absolute poverty were Asians. The problem in the world was the poverty in Asia. And if I now let the world move forward, you will see that while population increase, there are hundreds of millions in Asia getting out of poverty and some others getting into poverty, and this is the pattern we have today. And the best projection from the World Bank is that this will happen, and we will not have a divided world. We’ll have most people in the middle.

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Of course it’s a logarithmic scale here, but our concept of economy is growth with percent. We look upon it as a possibility of percentile increase. If I change this, and I take GDP per capita instead of family income, and I turn these individual data into regional data of gross domestic product, and I take the regions down here, the size of the bubble is still the population. And you have the OECD there, and you have sub-Saharan Africa there, and we take off the Arab states there, coming both from Africa and from Asia, and we put them separately, and we can expand this axis, and I can give it a new dimension here, by adding the social values there, child survival.

Now I have money on that axis, and I have the possibility of children to survive there. In some countries, 99.7 percent of children survive to five years of age; others, only 70. And here it seems there is a gap between OECD, Latin America, East Europe, East Asia, Arab states, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The linearity is very strong between child survival and money.

But let me split sub-Saharan Africa. Health is there and better health is up there. I can go here and I can split sub-Saharan Africa into its countries. And when it burst, the size of its country bubble is the size of the population. Sierra Leone down there. Mauritius is up there. Mauritius was the first country to get away with trade barriers, and they could sell their sugar — they could sell their textiles — on equal terms as the people in Europe and North America.

There’s a huge difference between Africa. And Ghana is here in the middle. In Sierra Leone, humanitarian aid. Here in Uganda, development aid. Here, time to invest; there, you can go for a holiday. It’s a tremendous variation within Africa which we rarely often make — that it’s equal everything. I can split South Asia here. India’s the big bubble in the middle. But a huge difference between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. I can split Arab states.

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How are they? Same climate, same culture, same religion — huge difference. Even between neighbors. Yemen, civil war. United Arab Emirate, money which was quite equally and well used. Not as the myth is. And that includes all the children of the foreign workers who are in the country. Data is often better than you think. Many people say data is bad. There is an uncertainty margin, but we can see the difference here: Cambodia, Singapore. The differences are much bigger than the weakness of the data. East Europe: Soviet economy for a long time, but they come out after 10 years very, very differently. And there is Latin America.

Today, we don’t have to go to Cuba to find a healthy country in Latin America. Chile will have a lower child mortality than Cuba within some few years from now. And here we have high-income countries in the OECD.

And we get the whole pattern here of the world, which is more or less like this. And if we look at it, how it looks — the world, in 1960, it starts to move. 1960. This is Mao Tse-tung. He brought health to China. And then he died. And then Deng Xiaoping came and brought money to China, and brought them into the mainstream again. And we have seen how countries move in different directions like this, so it’s sort of difficult to get an example country which shows the pattern of the world. But I would like to bring you back to about here at 1960.

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