April 2007

Populous Pakistan

Back in 1950, the population of Pakistan stood at just 37 million people. By 2005, that figure had grown more than four-fold. With 164 million people, the country now has the world's sixth-largest population. We wonder: How many people are expected to live in this South Asian nation by 2050?

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How America Owes the World

U.S. federal debt reached a total of $11.4 trillion in late 2006. Of that amount, $3.2 trillion — or 28% — is held by foreigners. To service that debt, we wonder: How much does the U.S. government have to spend each year just on interest payments to its foreign creditors?

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Lucky Singles

The old cliché about death and taxes holds true all across the world — but there are huge variations in the size of the bite that governments take out of employees' pay. We wonder: In which of the following countries does a single individual earning the average wage lose the smallest fraction of his or her pay to income and social insurance taxes?

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Global Export Champion

The debate over exports — about who wins and who loses — is becoming ever more contentious. While trade surpluses are not a complete indicator of a nation’s economic health, they do provide valuable clues about underlying trends in the global economy. We wonder: Which country in the world generated the largest trade surplus in 2006?

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