How Typical Are You?

Posted: March 24, 2012 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives

According to National Geographic – not very.

On October 31, 2011, the 7 billionth Earthling was born. To celebrate the occasion, National Geographic débuted a three minute video depicting the world’s most typical human being. He is right-handed and makes less than $12,000 a year. He does not have a bank account but has a cell phone. He is a 28 year old Han Chinese man.

To make this virtually-crafted man seem more real to us, NatGeo used 190,000 photos of Han Chinese men to develop a single composite image. I must say the result was rather anti-climatic as he looked exactly like you’re probably imagining. However, the video emphasized one exciting idea above all others — “typical is always relative.”

The reality? An average man in Holland is 5’11,” while in Peru he is just 5’4.5”. In Japan the typical women lives to be 86, while in Afghanistan she only makes it to 45. Americans typically use 100 gallons of water per day, while a person in Ethiopia uses 2.5 gallons. The differences are seemingly endless between us.

Yet despite all these differences, (ahem) inequalities, people still want to connect. Humans just want to relate to other humans. We want to indulge in our similarities like our desire to be loved, be healthy and have basic necessities. “Typical” might always vary from place to place when it comes to physical attributes, income or age, but the inherent qualities of humanity will not.

And perhaps that’s the most typical thing of all.

-Nina Keehan


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