The world in transition

Charting change

Data-driven milestones of 2016


A number of trends that have been simmering for years will come to a full boil in 2016 — and result in some striking statistics.

Unequal halves

One example is in economic inequality. The share of wealth of the richest 1% of the world’s population will, according to Oxfam, exceed that of the remaining 99% of people.

Share of global wealth, %


Crowding in

Yet there is also some good news for ordinary folk: in at least one respect private investing is becoming more democratic. The amount of global crowdfunding investment is expected to reach $34 billion in 2015, and in 2016 will surpass the annual money committed by investors to venture-capital funds globally.

Global fundraising, $bn

Data with destiny

The internet itself is growing relentlessly. In 2015 the world transmitted about 869 exabytes of data. That is an awful lot, but in 2016 it will enter the zettabyte era as the amount of data rises above 1 zettabytes — about a trillion gigabytes.

Global internet traffic, zettabytes


One reason for the surge in online traffic is video. In 2016 Netflix, a film-rental company, will have a larger ratings audience than any of the major American broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, according to FBR Capital Markets, a broker.

Nielsen ratings, %

Chinese business on the move

In the latest sign of China’s rise, spending at home and abroad by Chinese business travellers will surpass the lavishness of American road-warriors in 2016, even in an economic slowdown.

Spending on business travel, $bn

Oh baby!

Social change will continue apace, and in Britain will in all likelihood reach a remarkable landmark: over half of all children born there are expected to be to parents who are not married; 40 years ago the number was below 10%.

England and Wales, live births outside marriage, % of total

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