The Math of Gratitude

Hi folks,

Scott Asner here in Kansas City – hope you’re doing well.

A friend of mine recently shared some interesting statistics about the global population, and I thought I would share some with you. It can be eye-opening to learn just how the globe breaks down into collective groups and how all of us fit into a world that is getting smaller by the day. It also will help convey the idea to you of just how lucky we are in the grand scheme of things, and why we should all be grateful for every day that we have on this earth.

As we recently celebrated Memorial Day, I thought I would start with some interesting statistics about the United States.

While there are many wonderful places to live – I feel extremely fortunate to be born in the U.S.A. If you’re like me, considering the following statistics will give you an idea of just how lucky we are to be here.

Economic Prosperity

If you are living in the United States, you and your fellow citizens make up around just 5% of the total world population. Currently, the U.S. has around 330 million people. And while that may seem like a lot, consider the fact that there are another 7.3 billion people in the world.

And while wealth inequality within our country has become a focus of concern in recent years, we have to consider just how well off the average American is in the broader context of the world. In fact, Americans earning $32,400 in yearly income fall within the top 1% bracket of the world’s population. Realizing this shows just how much we have to be grateful for.

Access to Food & Clean Water

According to the U.N., around 10.7% of the world population struggles with malnutrition and access to food. That means that around 815 million people go hungry on our planet every year. This number has dropped dramatically over the last couple of decades, but a 10% chance of being born into an impoverished area without access to food is a reality for hundreds of millions.

Contrast this with the abundance of food in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that around 30-40% of the U.S. food supply is eventually wasted. This is something that so many of us take for granted in our day-to-day lives, where we make ready use of access to fast, convenient and cheap food. Even during a global pandemic, we see food delivery services taking off as we get restaurant quality meals brought directly to our homes. Meanwhile, many are suffering. We shouldn’t ignore that.

Even more surprising, the CDC estimates that 35% of the world lacks access to improved sanitation of drinking water. This is estimated to be the cause of death for around 850,000 people every year.

The above statistics do not even cover topics like Americans’ ability to travel, freedom of religion, access to education, healthcare and so many other areas of life that are far from the norm in other places around the world.

Here are a few more facts that you might find interesting:

The average American home has tripled in size over the last 50 years – and continues to grow even larger.

The average American family spends around $1,700 on clothes annually, but we also throw away 65 lbs. of clothing per year.

***********

I hope you contemplate these statistics and take them with you as you go about your day. It can be very humbling and an incredible source of gratitude. Understanding just how lucky we are can instantly help us appreciate everything we have.

My best to you,


~ Scott Asner, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri

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