Interactive Dashboard Explores The Impact Of A World With 7 Billion People

There are a lot of people in the world, and not a lot of space or resources for them. Click around this dashboard to see how the world's population is faring.

This Halloween, the world will reach a somewhat frightening landmark: a population of 7 billion people. As the world's population continues to balloon, it becomes increasingly difficult to divvy up access to resources. It's a problem that creates an atmosphere ripe for conflict and disaster. The United Nations Population Fund and SAP have teamed up to create an interactive dashboard that allows NGOs, governments, and economists to more easily make funding and resource decisions—and the incredibly detailed widget is open to the public.

The "Snapshots" section of the dashboard provides a broad overview of our population situation, with current statistics and future projections of births, deaths, amount of seniors and young people, and growth in regions and countries around the world.

The "Trends" piece of the dashboard is where it really gets interesting. The section provides all sorts of statistics for countries around the world, as well as the ability to compare them. For example, searching for "Primary Education Enrollment vs. GDP" in Algeria tells us that the country has a higher education rate and GDP than most African countries in 1990, but fast-forwarding through the years tells us that that quickly changes.

Comparisons between different countries can be made by clicking on the blue dots. On this map, we can see that Gabon had a higher GDP than any other African country in the database in 1990—but it still had a lower life expectancy than less well-off countries like Tunisia and Algeria.

The "Trends" dashboard also provides fast facts about different countries. Clicking on Italy, we learn that 16.15% of people with a secondary education or higher are unemployed. In the U.S., 5.95% of people with that level of education lack employment

These dashboards are more than just diversions; until recently, the information that they display was only available in scattered spreadsheets owned by governments, schools, and agencies. Now that it's centralized and easy to visualize, policy wonks can really get to work on grappling with a rapidly-growing population.

[Image by Flickr user Blmurch]

Reach Ariel Schwartz via Twitter or email.

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3 Comments

  • Joel Boldman

    It is definitely about sustainability. When most of us don't know how to grow our own foods. We have forgotten,how to live like how our grandparents did, not so long ago, we will eventually be looking for that hand to continue feeding us, and it's not our own hands we will be looking for either. Urban homesteading can ease our dependency on going to the market all the time. Use what you have and recycle. Now you guys play nice.
    http://www.mdsfinance.com

  • Mister Bonjangles

    @Michael, this is the dumbest comment I've ever read. Population growth is something to worry about because of how much natural resources it takes to sustain 7 billion people. It's not about actual, physical space. 

  • Michael Brown

    The world is not overpopulated.  There is plenty of "space" for everyone.  All we have to do is stop trying to live on top of each other.  Spread out.