Global Statistics Can Be Fun!

Let’s face it, unless someone is an economist or a statistician, statistics are tough to get excited about. Anyone who has ever struggled to present global statistics has experienced dread at seeing the audience’s eyes glaze over in boredom. Even the most interesting global facts about health and economics leave some people snoring. But one man, statistics guru Dr. Hans Rosling of Sweden, has a way of presenting global statistics in such a manner as to make history and statistics come to vivid life.

Using a unique statistical presentation and mapping program, Dr. Rosling presents global statistics in a manner that illustrates not only the differences between the Western World and the Third World, but also the ways in which countries are similar.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

1. Before showing the video, have students determine what they think are some of the important global factors that drive growth. What do they think are the factors which are most critical to growth?

2. Ask students to answer the first question posed by Dr. Rosling – before they see the video: Which country has the highest mortality rate of these five pairs?

  • Sri Lanka or Turkey (Answer: Turkey)
  • Poland or South Korea (Answer: Poland)
  • Malaysia or Russia (Answer: Russia)
  • Pakistan or Vietnam (Answer: Pakistan)
  • Thailand or South Africa (Answer: So. Africa)

3. Ask students: What do they think of when they think of the Western World vs. Third World nations?

4. Show the video at TED Talks

5. Note to instructors: Rosling has several other fascinating TED Talks videos that might be useful for future classes. Also check out his software program available for free use at



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