July 2009

U.S. Healthcare Spending — A Global Perspective

Health care is a key challenge for developed and developing nations alike. But no country seems to have more difficulty controlling costs than the United States — where healthcare expenditures in 2008 reached $2.4 trillion. We wonder: Which major country's entire GDP is about equal to the amount the United States spends on health care in a single year?

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What Peace Dividend?

Worldwide military expenditures started to decrease with the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. There were hopes that this "peace dividend" — the money saved by declining global defense spending — would last. We wonder: Just how much did all the countries of the world combined spend on defense in 2008?

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Nuclear Reductions

Once there were just two nuclear powers — the United States and the Soviet Union. Now there are at least nine. But despite the increase in the number of states with nuclear weapons, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of these weapons since the end of the Cold War. We wonder: How many nuclear weapons are left?

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On Vacation

As the dog days of summer set in, who hasn't thought of taking a break from it all — be it at a local beach or in a far-flung locale? Yet with wide disparities among countries when it comes to paid vacation days, not all vacationers are created equal. We wonder: In which country do workers take the most time off for vacation and holidays?

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Who’s Growing the Most?

By 2050, the world population is projected to surpass nine billion people, up from 6.8 billion today. Nearly all of this population growth will occur in the developing world. We wonder: Which age group will expand the most?

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