Everyone Ever in the World is a visual representation of the number of people to have lived¹ versus been killed² in wars, massacres and genocide during the recorded history of humankind. The visualisation uses material form (total area) and counter-form (die-cut centre) to represent the concepts of life and death respectively.

The relative simplicity and intuitive graphical approach of using a die cut area to represent total people killed, lends a direct poetry to the concept and affords the viewer an instantaneous assessment of the degree to which conflict has shaped human history. The graphic simplicity of the visualisation belies the necessary complexity of mathematical modelling of cumulative population size and the depth of research required to obtain death counts for all conflicts of recorded human history and projections for the future.³ However, it is the very same simplicity of representation that imparts a sombre and respectful tone to such a weighty subject matter.

  1. The total number of people to have lived was estimated through exponential regression calculations based on historical census data and known biological birth rates. This results in approximately 77.6 billion human beings to have ever lived during the recorded history of humankind and is represented in the poster as total paper area (650mm x 920mm).
  2. The total people killed in conflicts was collated from a number of historical source books and was summed for all conflicts – approximately 969 million people killed, or ~1.25% of all the people to have ever lived (die cut area = 650mm x 920mm x 0.0125). The timescale encompasses 3200 BCE to 2009 CE – a period of over 5 millennia, and 1100+ conflicts of recorded human history.
  3. The project exemplifies the value imparted to data with regard to the manner in which it is visualised : the culturally attuned perceptual differences in absolute versus proportionate values. The absolute value of 969 million people killed in wars, massacres and genocide is an astonishingly high number. But when presented as a proportion of the total number of people to have ever lived, it becomes quite low, 1.25%. Death counts in humans is one of the few instances where absolute values are culturally accepted as appropriate – likely due to the absolute value placed on human life. The sequence of dots to the top left of the graph shows the dramatic increase in the number of conflicts over the past 5 millennia (left to right : 3000 BCE to 2000 CE) with the most recent 1000 years being the most violent. The large dot below the graph represents the 1000 years to come : a predicted startling increase in the frequency of human conflict.