Earth Sciences and Ecology Question #718

Simon Robson, a 27 year old male from Durham, UK asks on March 23, 2002,

If the world's land was distributed evenly between all humans how much would we all possess? This also goes if it were done with gold, silver, oil, or platinum.

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on March 23, 2002

For gold, I did a web search at, on "total world gold reserves" and found a webpage at that lists the world's reserves as of March 2002 as 32,692.3 tonnes. One tonne is a million grams. Now you just have to divide this by the world's population which is about 6 billion and you get 5.45 grams per person. (There are about 28 grams in an ounce.)

You could do the same exercise with other elements like silver and platinum.

A similar websearch for land areas found this page on World Geography which claims the total world land area is 148.94 million sq km of which 10% is arable land. Doing all the calculations I come up with about 0.0025 sq km of useful land per person, or 2,500 square meters per person, which is a plot about 50x50 meters. So if all things were equal we would each have about half a soccer pitch and about a sixth of an ounce of gold.

Ian Wojtowicz answered on August 6, 2012

Enough space for a  small farm and about US$225 in spending money.

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