Science of Self ™ Knowledge Centre

37 Mind-Blowing Facts About Human Beings

Nov 19, 2018

While certainly not as wondrous as dolphins and nowhere near as cute and cuddly as sloths, humans are among planet Earth’s most charming and terrifying inhabitants. Below you’ll find a hodgepodge of facts — good, bad, and some downright scary — that may give you a totally new perspective on your species.

(Note: Please excuse the bias towards American statistics. The list is slightly skewed in that direction mainly because U.S. data are more abundant and generally easier to verify.)

  1. Divorce is the 2nd Most Stressful Life Event. The Death of a Spouse is #1. (source)
  2. 40% of U.S. Adults Are Obese. Nearly 75% of U.S. Men and 60% of U.S. Women Are Overweight or Obese. (source)
  3. Finland is the Happiest Country in the World, Followed By Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland. (source)
  4. About 70-80% of Workers Either Hate or Don’t Like Their Jobs. (source)
  5. Out of 47 of the Most Unhealthy Jobs in the U.S., Dentistry is #1. (source)
  6. Ischaemic Heart Disease is the #1 Cause of Death. (source)
  7. The Top Five Phobias Are: Heights, Snakes, Public Speaking, Spiders, and Being Enclosed in a Small Space. (source)
  8. Since 1990, Humans Have Caused the Extinction of Around 477 Different Species. (158 fish, 146 amphibians, 80 birds, 69 mammals, 24 reptiles.) (source)
  9. In the 14th Century, Around 25% of the World’s Population Was Wiped Out by The Black Death. (source)
  10. Around 25% of Babies in Ancient Rome Died Before Their 1st Birthday. Up to 50% of Children Died Before Their 10th Birthday. (source)
  11. In 1800 No Country in the World Had an Average Life Expectancy Above 40. (source)
  12. The OECD Average Life Expectancy is 80.3 Years. (source)
  13. Since Medieval Europe, Rates of Homicide Have Dropped 30 Fold. (source)
  14. Only 12% of the People in the World Could Read and Write in 1820. (source)
  15. Around 775 Million People in the World Are Illiterate. (source)
  16. Approximately 3 Billion People (50% of the World’s Population) Live on Less Than $2.50 a Day. (source)
  17. 22,000 Children Die Every Day Due to Poverty. (source)
  18. Over the Last 30 Years Extreme Poverty Has Been Cut In Half. (source)
  19. The U.S. Started Allowing Women The Right to Vote in 1920. (source)
  20. Interracial Marriage in All U.S. States Has Only Been Legal Since 1967. (source)
  21. Prior to 2003, Same-Sex Sexual Activity Was Illegal in 14 U.S. States. (source)
  22. Estimated to Have Saved Around 200 Million Lives, Penicillin is Often Regarded As the Single Greatest Development in the History of Medicine. (source)
  23. Around 23 million or 9% of the American Population Are Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol. (source)
  24. Around 50 Million Americans (20% of the Population) Suffer From Chronic Pain. (source)
  25. The Average U.S. Student Loan Debt in 2016 was $37,172. (source)
  26. Mandarin is the Most Common Native Language Spoken in the World. (source)
  27. Muhammad is (Probably) the Most Common Name in the World. (source)
  28. The World’s Largest Family Lives in India Where One Man Has 94 Children By 39 Different Wives. (source)
  29. 11 Days, 25 Minutes is the Longest Recorded Time a Human Being Has Gone Without Sleep. (source)
  30. The Wealthiest 1% of the World's Population Owns More than 50% of the World's Wealth. (source)
  31. One of the World's First Computers Was Developed in the 1940s and Weighed Around 30,000 kg. (source)
  32. The World Wide Web Was Only Invented in 1989. (source)
  33. It Took Radio 38 Years and TV 13 Years to Reach 50 Million People. It Took the iPod 3 Years, and Angry Birds Space 35 days. (source)
  34. Your Smartphone is Millions of Times More Powerful Than All of NASA’s Combined Computing in 1969. (source)
  35. The Top 2 Highest Grossing Films of All Time (Avatar and Titanic) Were Written & Directed By James Cameron. (source)
  36. Harry Potter is the Best-Selling Book Series in History, Having Sold Over 500 Million Copies. (source)
  37. “Despacito" is the Most Watched YouTube Video of All Time, With 5.7 Billion Views. (source)

Topics: Psychology

Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."


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