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The Birthplace Lottery

Born in the US? Congratulations, you won!

Roughly 4.5% of the world population lives in the United States. That means you have a roughly 1 in 22 chance of being born here. Those odds really aren’t that bad.

Let’s take minute though to look at the flip side of things. Approximately 15% of the world population lives in Africa. That means  your odds of being born in Africa are 1 in roughly 6.5.

Now, let’s take a look at the GDP for the United States and for Africa.

USA (2009): 14,002,739,000,000 (14 Trillion)

Africa (2009): 1,184,000,000,000 (1.1 Trillion)

Let’s do some math, just for perspective. Based on GDP, the USA is almost 13 times richer, but has a third of the population. Extrapolate that out, and the USA is 39 times richer than Africa, per capita. To put this in perspective, if you have a household income of $50,000, a decrease of 39 times is $1,282.00. Congratulations, you now make $3.50 a day.

The point is, your odds of being born in Africa vs the USA were really 3:1.

With all of that in mind, let me ask you a simple question. What did you do to deserve to be born in the United States?

The answer is nothing. There is absolutely nothing that you did to deserve to be born in the United States with every opportunity at your fingertips. Nor did anyone do anything to be born into extreme poverty. Regardless if it’s Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, or yes, the USA, it is this simple fact that should drive us to help others. To share what we do have with those who don’t.

* Population estimates from GDP Estimates from

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