If the World Were 100 People

I recently saw a description of the world that caught my attention. It’s called Miniature Earth and it broke down the population of the globe by percentages–as if the world only contained 100 people.

Statisticians tell us that the earth will pass the seven billion mark in October. That’s ten times bigger than the world population stood at the time of America’s founding in 1776.

Seven billion is a staggering number to comprehend. Likening it to 100 people will give us some perspective.

Today I want you to step outside your micro-world and ponder the macro-view of Planet Earth in 2011. I believe this view will tell us a few things about God and how he wants us to pray and act.

What would the world look like if there were only 100 people in it? Here’s the breakdown…

Let’s start with the racial make-up. If we could turn the earth into a town of 100 people, keeping the same proportions we have today, it would contain:

  • 61 Asians,
  • 12 Europeans,
  • 8 North Americans,
  • 5 South Americans and Caribbeans,
  • 13 Africans,
  • and 1 from Oceania.

Imagine this group as a 100 person town. If you walked down the main street, the first thing that would strike you is that nearly six in ten people you meet were Asian. And half of them would be from only two nations on earth: India and China.

I’ve been in China twice in the last six months. It’s an amazing nation. China is smaller geographically than the United States, but it has three times more people–1.3 billion. Looking at it this way, China has over one thousand cities of one million people.

I remember walking down the streets of one prosperous Chinese city–teeming with millions of folks. Only fifty years ago, China was a very poor and backward nation. But today, it is urbanizing quickly and will become the world’s largest economy in a few years. The Chinese are very industrious people.

David Wang of Asian Outreach says that God must really love the Chinese because he made so many of them. He also says that Chinese will be the language of heaven because it will take an eternity to learn it! (with its thirty thousand characters).

Putting humor aside, there’s no doubt that God has big plans for China in the 21st century. One of the greatest prayers we can utter is for China to become free. It is currently a Communist nation whose peoples cannot freely travel. If China became a free republic, the Chinese Church has a goal of tithing their people to world missions. That means adding ten million missionaries to the global harvest force.

There are one million cross-cultural missionaries now serving. Freedom to travel from China would increase global outreach ten-fold! You think there are Chinese restaurants in most places now? Well, if the 100 million person Chinese Church sent one tenth of their population around the world to share the Good News of Jesus, then there might be a Chinese Church on every corner.

Then there’s India. It currently has the world’s second largest population at 1.2 billion. But because of China’s one child policy and India’s high birthrate, it will soon pass China as the world’s most populous country. Fifteen people in our town of 100 are Indian. Due in part to their British heritage, the Gospel is also growing in India and many are coming to Christ and engaging in missions.

I am praying that India and China will form a startegic alliance in the 21st century to reach the world for Christ. There are 30 of them in our town of 100–nearly one third of the total. They have been allowed to multiply for some very important reasons.

They are joined by some very zealous Koreans, Indonesians, Japanese, Mongolians, and other Asia races. Korea is currently the sixth largest missionary sending nation in the world. Mongolia is number one–per capita. It takes only 222 Mongol Christians to send out one cross cultural missionary. By contrast, it takes 20,000 American Christians to send out one missionary.

The rest of the racial percentages are also interesting. In our town of 100, the numbers of Europeans, North and South Americans, and Africans are roughly the same–12, 13, and 13 respectively. Then the islands of Pacific have their one resident. 

All these regions of the world have a Christian heritage. Europe’s is dying, but goes back centuries. America’s is sputtering, but still giving missionary leadership to the world. The Church in Latin America and Africa is exploding–the southern hemisphere is the new center of global Christianity. Oceania has been Christian territory for two centuries

So this means that the Africans, Latinos and Islanders will be actively sharing their faith in our town of 100. Americans will support that, and the Europeans may come around. This bodes well for God’s purposes at this strategic time in history.

As a point of information, there are 50 women and 50 men in our town of 100. That’s good. Let’s hope that no other nations follow China’s one child policy that tends to allow more males to live than females.

In our town of 100, 47 live in the urban area and 53 live in the country. This appears quite balanced, but it has changed rapidly over the past fifty years as people have migrated to the cities. One hundred years ago, ninety of our folks would have lived in the rural areas and only 10 would have lived in the city. 

It appears that God is bringing people to the cities not only to raise their standard of living, but also to introduce people to him. It is easier to reach people in the cities. This is how Mongolia was evangelized. A century ago, most Mongolians were nomadic and Buddhist. Then the Russian revolution created five major cities where over half the population now live. Since 1980, 100,000 Mongols have become Christians–primarily through the ease of evangelization in the cities.

Pray that the cities of the 21st century would become hot-beds of Christian community. In our town of 100,  the 47 people that live in the urban center are key to reaching the other 53 for Christ.

Now let’s turn to the religious make-up of our town of 100. Here’s the breakdown: 33 are Christians (Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Anglicans, and other Christians), 21 Muslims, 13 Hindus, 6 Buddhists, 1 Sikh, 1 Jew, 11 of other religions, 11 non-religious, and 3 atheists.

As you can see, Christians are the largest group in our town at 33 and Muslims are second. In some ways, this explains the global War on Terror which essentially pits Christian civilization (The West) against those who accept the extreme teachings of Islam (jihad). It’s no wonder these issure are in the news every day. Half of our town contains the Christian-Muslim divide.

While it is important that the followers of Christ in our town protect our citizens and work for justice against those who would kill innocent people, it is even more important that our 33 Christians actively share the love and grace of Christ with our 21 Muslim neighbors.

Encouragingly, more Muslims have become Christians in the past two decades than in the previous one thousand years. This appears to be God’s time for a great Muslim harvest.

There are many other religions in our town–and 14 who don’t believe in God. My next book will discuss at length the religions of the world, where they came from, and how only one of them can be true.

I want our “town of 100” to be filled with the light of Christ.

And finally a few facts about economic conditions in our town of 100:

  • 20 people own 75% of the wealth of the community.
  • 14 are hungry or malnourished,
  • 12 can’t read,
  • 12 have a computer,
  • 8 have an Internet connection.
  • and 21 live on $1.25 or less per day.

While these statistics show the true inequities that exist in our town, the main reason for the differences is not because twenty people stole from the others. In our town of 100, the twenty wealthiest people are a product of Christian principles and ideas. Their wealth came from doing things God’s way–taking dominion over the earth and its resources through faith, creativity, free enterprise, godly character, and hard work. The Christian faith produced both Europe and the United States.

It is the Western nations with their Christian heritage that produce 75% of the global GDP. This didn’t happen at gun point or by theft. It was caused by superior ideas via the Christian worldview that created much wealth and prosperity.

Fortunately, the Christian faith and free enterprise are being exported all over the world during the 21st century. Middle classes are springing up in nations like India and China as they embrace these ideals for the first time in their histories.

In our town of 100 we need to reach out to the 14 that are mal-nourished, bring education to the 12 that can’t read, and bring Christ and his truths into the general culture to bring economic development and blessing to all.

This is what Jesus would want if the world were one hundred people. 



  1. Enkush on September 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Wow! I was just reading about same topic from Richard Stearn's book, who is a president of World Vision. But your idea of 100, makes it much easier to grab the picture of what is going on and what we should do, etc… I already thinking in my mind, to translate your next book into Mongolian. And while I was reading it, just one thought flashed by, to share it with my friends as much as I can. My Mongolian and Navajo, Indian friends love to hear it! Maybe by next year, I am thinking to post some of the special articles in Mongolian on the blog, to encourage believers and non-believers in Mongolia. Not just once in a while, but really do it as a business…

    Thanks so much for sharing!


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