Muhammad Chen (1983-2050) is the completely average person.
First, he is a he because there are more hes than shes worldwide. He has the most common given name, Muhammad, and the most common family name, Chen. He is 28 because that is the average age worldwide. Etc.
- name: Muhammad Chen (陈 穆罕默德)
- address: Shenzhen, China
- age: 28 (life expectancy: 67)
- sex: male
- ethnicity: Han Chinese
- language: Mandarin Chinese, some English
- religion: Roman Catholic (the largest sect of the largest religion)
- income: $11,200 a year (= 47.3 g of silver a day or 47 crowns a month) (24% of American income by purchasing power)
- education: 11 years
- number of children: two or three
- kind of work: service sector as opposed to farm or factory
- television: has access to one
- mobile phone: yes
- landline telephone: no
- computer: no
- Internet: no
- car: no
- bank account: no
- electricity: 7.27 kWh a day (21% of American use)
- smokes: no
- food: 2833 calories a day (75% of the American diet)
- chief grain: rice
- chief meat: pig
- milk: 195 mL a day
- Coca-Cola: 2.5 litres a year
- main sport: football (soccer)
- film: Bollywood
- weights and measures: metric
Yes, most people in the world now have a mobile phone and close to a high school education or better. Average diet and length of life are at American levels of the 1960s.
The picture at the top of the post is the most common-looking face in the world if you go by sex, age and ethnicity. It was made by National Geographic from the average of thousands of pictures of 28-year-old Han Chinese men.
Muhammad Chen was born in the country but now lives in the city. I put him in Shenzhen, the city just north of Hong Kong, instead of Shanghai, China’s largest city, because:
- The Pearl River Delta, which has the cities of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou, has about 50 million people – more than twice Shanghai’s 18 million.
- Shenzhen is not only the largest city in the Delta, it is also at 22.5 degrees north, the average latitude of the world’s 59 largest cities (all those with an urban area of 5 million or more). Which means that probably about as many people live north of him as south, making him yet more average.
If we put him at not just the average latitude (22.5103 N) but also at the average longitude (39.4393 E), he would wind up in the desert about 150 km north of, guess where – Mecca!
Mandarin Chinese is the world’s largest language if you go by the number of native speakers. But if you add those who speak a second language, more people know English. So I said he knows some English since more know English than Chinese.
Unlike most people in China, Chen is Christian, has two or more children and has a Muslim name. That is because he is a world average, not a Chinese one. He is only as Chinese as he is because China is so huge.
But not for long: By 2030 the average person will be a 45-year-old woman from India.