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A really big number, other interesting numbers, and quitting
3 for Thursday
Hi, Kelly Eden here.
I come across fascinating facts while researching for my stories, or just wandering around the internet.
Here’s 3 for this Thursday:
A really big number
We hit 8 billion people in the world on the 15th of November. It took us just 12 years to go from 7 to 8 billion.
What I found more interesting is the fact we’re slowing down. The prediction from the UN is that our global population will hit it’s peak in the 2080s then plateau (then, after 2100, they say “We’ll have to wait and see”).
Our growth rate has been dropping since the 1990s—steading briefly in the 2000s— and then falling under 1% global population growth in 2020 for the first time in modern history.
In the next few decades, the largest population growth will come from some of the world’s poorest countries.
In terms of environmental impact though, it’s still the wealth of a country that predicts it impact on the environment—not it’s population growth.
“The countries with the highest per capita consumption of material resources and emissions of greenhouse gas emissions tend to be those where income per capita is higher, not those where the population is growing rapidly.”—United Nations
Check out this really interesting post by Jennifer D. Sciubba, an expert on demographic trends.
Grit or Quit?
Can you have both?
I quit all the time.
I quit editors when they’re too difficult to work with.
I quit writing jobs when the pay isn’t worth the effort needed. ($4 for 500 words? No thanks.)
I quit tv shows and books if they bore me.
I quit habits that have snuck in and aren’t so healthy, like eating way too many heavily processed or fried things (deep-fried crabsticks are so delicious though!).
But we often perceive quitting as a negative thing. Quitting is seen as the opposite of perseverance and grit. I listen to a podcast called “People I mostly admire.”
The podcast host Steven Levitt spoke with Annie Duke, psychologist and ex-professional poker player. They discussed being both a quitter and gritty.
They’re not opposites at all. How?
Writing a book—that certainly needs grit—but know when to throw chapters out or even dump a whole topic if it’s a waste of time or going nowhere.
Achieving a hard goal, like getting a gold medal at the Olympics in shotput, requires perseverance—but allow yourself to abandon it if it’s becoming obvious it’s not working for you (because you never manage to win a trophy at your local athletics club).
We often feel like failures or guilty for quitting goals, jobs, relationships. Maybe we need to give ourselves permission to quit quicker? Then we can move on to something better for us.
More interesting numbers
Overall, as medicine and healthcare improves, so does our median age globally. In 1970, the global median age was just 21.5 years old. In 2020 it had risen to 30.9.
By 2100 it’s predicted to be 41.9 years old—which Europe has already pretty much achieved.
But looking at it globally misses the ever widening gap between areas. The median age between countries is the greatest it’s ever been in recorded history.
In the past we had a lot of young countries, (you were lucky if you made it past 40!) now have young and old ones.
Take a look at this:
Europe: median age 41.7
Sub-Saharan Africa: median age approx. 17 years.
The pattern in many (particularly developed) countries is declining fertility alongside longer life expectancy. So we can expect to see an aging population in many places in the next few decades.
Anything surprise you in those three? Let me know.
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