Something Like 0.0086% of the World Is Famous

More

Roughly speaking

AP300818813058.jpg

Beyonce, who is incredibly famous. (AP)

What percent of the world is famous (by some definition)?

Unless you know how many famous people there are, that's a pretty tough question to answer. But mathematician Samuel Arbesman came up with a clever shortcut for getting that number: Wikipedia's "Living People" category, which, as of last week, counted 604,174 people in its ranks.

Okay, Arbesman admits, Wikipedia's "notability" standard is a pretty low threshold for fame. (I mean, how many of those 604,174 people is it even possible to have heard of? Very few.) But with it, we can "at least get a hint of understanding," as Arbesman puts it, of just how common fame is in the world.

He then runs the numbers: Divide the "famous-people" count by the global population (7,059,837,187) and you get 0.000086, or 0.0086 percent.

Which is to say, almost no one is famous, so don't get too down on yourself.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In