Is this the world’s newest and saddest country?

Many Australians seem to be worried about our unemployment rate, but compared to the rest of the world we are truly lucky.

One of my favourite journalists, Mogan Housel  of Motley Fool, recently wrote a clever article about the record number of unemployed people around the world. According to the International Labour Organization a record 200 million people will be unemployed around the world in 2013.

He said:

Think about that. Two hundred million people. There are 7 billion people on the planet, and census data shows about 4 billion of them are between the working ages of 15 and 64. Subtract those in school and those who are not looking for work (largely in countries with low female labor-participation rates), and you can see how the global unemployment rate could be something like 7% to 8%.

One way to put the size of the world’s 200 million unemployed into perspective is to give them their own country. We’ll call it Unemployistan.

Just how big is Unemployistan? It’s the fifth-largest country in the world by population:

Country Population
China 1.3 billion
India 1.2 billion
United States 316 million
Indonesia 238 million
Unemployistan 200 million
Brazil 194 million
Pakistan 182 million
Nigeria 167 million
Bangladesh 153 million

This is truly tragic. Regions of the world — particularly parts of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East — have unemployment rates deep into the double-digits.

And this doesn’t include those working for meager wages. Keep in mind that to be in the top half of the globe, you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it’s $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000 — and all of those figures are adjusted for cost-of-living differences.

If you’re reading this article before work, during work, or after work, be thankful. One of the world’s largest countries can’t say the same.



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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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