- Economic categories - Income levels and population growth - Ecological footprint
The World Bank, a branch of the UN, categorized countries in the world by 3 economic categories based on average per capita gross income:
- High income, highly developed industrialized countries had a combined population of 1.13 billion people in 2010. These countries include the US, Japan, Canada, Korea, Australia, western Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand and several Arab states. The 2010 average national income per capita was $38,658.
- Middle income, moderately developed countries made up 4.92 billion people, and include Latin America, northern and southern Africa, China, Indonesia, eastern Europe. The 2010 average national income per capital was $3,764.
- Low income, developing countries made up 0.8 billion people in 2010, and include the rest of Africa, southern Asia, India and former Soviet Republics. The 2010 average national income per capita for this group was less than $1005.
There are some good news: the low-income percent of the world's population has gone down since 1998 from 60% to less than 12%.
Population growth in rich and poor countries is dramatically different.
In high-income countries, the population grows at the rate of 0.1% annually or less than 1 million a year.
In both middle and low-income countries, the population grows at the rate of 1.5% annually, equaling 75 million a year.
A total fertility rate of 2.0 or 2 children per woman gives a population stability.
Ecological Footprint is an estimate of the amount of land and ocean required to produce the resources you need or to absorb the waste you produce.
Hong Kong is a very small land mass but has a tremendous ecological footprint because it is a high-density, urban area that pulls resources from land and water.
Singapore is also a high-density area with a high quality of life for its citizens. It also has large ecological impact. Many countries in Europe are accessible on foot and cities are densely packed and the distance to travel is much smaller. However, Europeans still have a high impact on the world around them.
You can figure out your footprint using a site like www.footprint.org. Being environmentally conscious requires willpower and caring for the environment beyond just your own needs.