The 60 Most Interesting World Facts You’ll Ever Hear

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

With about 200 countries and more than 7.8 billion people (plus plants, animals and other organisms), the world is full of interesting, fun and fascinating facts. For example, the country of the Kiwis has the highest concentration of pet owners in the world. And there in Nicaragua you will find one of the only two flags in the world with the color purple. Hungry for more facts about the world and its ever-growing population? Read on for interesting tidbits about Earth’s past, present, and future.

1. Glaciers and ice sheets contain about 69 percent of the world’s fresh water.

Just over 96% of the world’s total water is held in the oceans, according to Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World’s Fresh Water Resources via the United States Geological Survey (USGS). However, that is mainly salt water. To find most of the worlds freshwater, you’ll have to venture to the poles, as 68.7% of it is enclosed in ice caps, permanent snow, and glaciers. Sign up for our daily newsletter to get more facts straight to your inbox.

2. The fastest wind gust ever recorded on Earth was 253 miles per hour.

Hold on tight, because this isn’t your average storm. In 1996, a tropical cyclone named Olivia hit the Coast of Barrow Island, Australia with such force that it broke an incredible record. According to The Weather Channel, “Olivia’s eyewall produced five extreme three-second gusts, the peak of which was a gust of 253 mph,” blowing past the previous wind record of 231 mph set in 1934 in Mount Washington, New Hampshire.

3. The recent droughts in Europe were the worst in 2100 years.

Europe has been experiencing severe dry spells and extreme heat since 2015, leading to major droughts. Research led by the University of Cambridge (and published on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website) looked at isotopes in the rings of ancient European oaks in central Europe that formed over thousands of years to determine the cause. They found that the dry spells are a “result of human-induced climate change and associated shifts in the jet stream,” according to EurekAlert!

4. The best place in the world to see rainbows is in Hawaii.

If you’re an avid rainbow watcher and want to enjoy the beautiful phenomenon, look no further than the state of Hawaii. A study published by the American Meteorological Society in 2021 noted that the area’s “mountains produce sharp slopes in clouds and rainfall, which are essential for abundant rainbow sightings.” Air pollution, pollen and a large amount of rippling waves also put Hawaii at the top of the list when it comes to rainbow quantity and quality.

5. There are fossil plants in Greenland under 1.4 km of ice.

About 80 percent of Greenland is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, which according to Britannica is the “largest and possibly the only remnant of the Pleistocene glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere”. But has it always been this icy? Well, at the bottom of a 1.4-mile core sample taken at Camp Century during the Cold War in 1966, researchers found “well-preserved fossil plants and biomolecules,” meaning the massive slab has collapsed at least once in the course. Of time melted and reformed. The last million years. Brrrrr!

6. Whale songs can be used to map the ocean floor.

Fin whales are basically the Barry White of the ocean. The deep, roaring songs that males use to attract mates are considered the loudest of all marine life and can be “heard up to 1,000 kilometers (600 mi) away,” according to Scientific American. They can also be used to sonically map the ocean floor thanks to the fact that the sound can reach depths of 2.5 kilometers (1.6 mi) underwater, which bounces back and provides researchers with accurate readings. Ahead, a 2021 study in Science showed how using a fin whale’s song could be much more useful and have fewer negative impacts on marine life than using a large air cannon, the typical tool researchers rely on.

7. New creatures have been found in deep-sea volcanoes n.

Finding previously undiscovered organisms in the depths of the ocean may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi horror movie, but a 2020 study of a deep-sea volcano near New Zealand published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, discovered “more than 90 putative bacterial and archaeal genomic families and nearly 300 previously unknown genera.” Some research has linked hydrothermal vents, such as deep-sea volcanoes, to the “origin of life.” So are we looking at the first signs of future land dwellers? We’ll have to wait.

8. Mount Everest is now taller than it was last measured.

Mount Everest may not have grown physically, but matured long ago, but the most recent measurement taken by surveyors representing China and Nepal shows that the mountain peak is higher than we had thought in the past. Previous measurements ranged from 29,002 feet above sea level in 1856 to 20,029 in 1955, according to NPR. But after the long process of measuring the mountain with GPS devices, experts have now declared Mount Everest to be a whopping 29,031.69 feet, due to plate tectonics.

9. Climate change causes flowers to change color.

Don’t worry, your prized red roses won’t turn turquoise overnight, but an increase in UV radiation due to the depletion of the ozone layer in recent decades has meant that flowers are all over the world. Changed. A 2020 study led by scientists at Clemson University found that UV pigmentation in flowers increased over time, leading to the breakdown of their pollen. While we can’t see the color change with our eyes, it’s a big problem for pollinators like bees who are attracted to the bright colors flowers produce.

10. Dentistry is the oldest profession in the world.

Dentistry goes all the way back to when people first had teeth…well not that long. However, one study found evidence that teeth were drilled into skulls dating from 7,500 to 9,000 years ago. The holes were probably made using a prehistoric bow drill. Would that be the work of the first dentist? Other biting research, conducted by the University of Bologna, Italy on a 14,000-year-old skull, found that “one rotten tooth in the jaw had been deliberately abraded and scraped with a tool,” according to the BBC. That makes dentistry one of the oldest recorded professions and is certainly a reason to smile.

11. North Korea and Cuba are the only places where you can’t buy Coca-Cola.

Wherever you go, it’s comforting to know you can always enjoy a Coca-Cola. Well, almost everywhere. Although this fizzy drink is sold practically everywhere, it still hasn’t (officially) made its way to North Korea or Cuba, according to the BBC. That’s because these countries are under long-standing US trade embargoes.

However, some people say you might be able to grab a sip of the stuff if you try enough — though it will usually be quite a bit more expensive than what you’d pay in the States — and likely imported from a neighboring country like Mexico or China.

12. The entire world population could fit in Los Angeles.

The total world population is over 7.5 billion. And of course that number sounds huge. However, it may feel a bit more manageable once you know that if all those people were standing shoulder to shoulder, they could all fit within the 500 square miles of Los Angeles, according to National Geographic.

13. There are now more twins than ever before.

You might think twins are a rarity, but they’re actually more common than ever. “From about 1915, when the statistical record begins, to 1980, about one in 50 babies born was twins, a rate of 2 percent,” writes Alexis C. Madrigal of The Atlantic. “Then the rate started to rise: in 1995 it was 2.5 percent. The rate surpassed 3 percent in 2001 and reached 3.3 percent in 2010. [That means] one in 30 babies born is twins.”

Scientists believe this trend is due to older women having more twins and women choosing to start families later. Fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization are also likely to play a role.

14. The hottest chili pepper in the world is so hot it can kill you.

The “weapon grade” Dragon’s Breath chili pepper is so hot it’s downright deadly. Eating one could potentially cause a kind of anaphylactic shock, where your airways burn and shut down.

“I tried it on the tip of my tongue and it just burned and burned,” says Mike Smith, the hobby breeder who invented the Dragon’s Breath with scientists at Nottingham University. So why make such an impractical pepper? It turns out that the chili was initially developed to be used in medical treatments as an anesthetic that can numb the skin.

15. More people visit France than any other country.

France is a beautiful country, full of delicious wines, delicious cheeses and lots of romance. It comes as no surprise, then, that more people want to visit France than any other country in the world, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

In 2017, the European country welcomed 86.9 million people. Spain was the second most popular destination with 81.8 million visitors, followed by the United States (76.9 million), China (60.7 million) and Italy (58.3 million). Life is Beautiful!

16. The world’s most populous island is the size of two football fields.

Santa Cruz del Islote in the San Bernardo archipelago off the coast of Colombia may only be the size of two football fields (two hectares), but the artificial island has four main streets and ten neighborhoods. Five hundred people live on the island in about 155 houses. With so many people in such a small space, it is the most densely populated island in the world, according to The Guardian.

17. The Canary Islands are named after dogs, not birds.

It may seem safe to assume that the Canary Islands are named after canary birds, but the location is actually named after a different animal. Although located off the coast of Northwest Africa, the archipelago is actually part of Spain. In Spanish, the name of the area is Islas Canarias, which comes from the Latin phrase Canariae Insulae for “island of dogs”.

18. Indonesia is home to some of the shortest people in the world.

While there are short people and tall people everywhere, Indonesia is home to some of the shortest people in the world, according to data collected in 2017 by the Telegraph from various global sources.

When both sexes are taken into account, the average adult is about five feet tall. People in Bolivia are usually not much taller, with an average adult height of 1.65 meters. The tallest people among us live in the Netherlands, where the average adult height is 1.80 meters.

19. The Paris Climate Agreement was signed in one day by the largest number of countries ever.

When 174 world leaders signed the Paris Agreement at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on Earth Day in 2016, it was the largest number of countries ever to come together to sign something in a single day. The agreement aims to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed to strengthen the global climate effort.

20. The world’s quietest room is located at Microsoft’s headquarters in Washington State.

Silence is golden, as they say. And while it may not be worth as much as jewels and gold to most people, it was certainly the primary goal for those who built the world’s quietest room. The lab room, located at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, measures a background noise of -20.35 dBA, which is 20 decibels below the threshold of human hearing and breaks previous records for rooms that CNN has identified as the quietest places in the world were considered.

“As soon as someone enters the room, one immediately feels a strange and unique sensation that is hard to describe,” Hundraj Gopal, a speech and hearing scientist and chief designer of the anechoic chamber at Microsoft, told CNN. “Most people find the absence of sound deafening, feeling a fullness in the ears, or a whooshing sound. Very faint sounds become clearly audible because the ambient noise is exceptionally low. If you turn your head, you can hear that movement. You you can hear yourself breathing and it sounds a bit loud.”

21. There is only one country in the world that rick system not used.

For simplicity, most of the world’s more than 200 countries use the metric system when describing things like length or mass. However, three countries stood out recently: Liberia, Myanmar and the United States.

In 2018, Liberian trade and industry minister Wilson Tarpeh said the government planned to adopt the metric system to promote accountability and transparency in trade, according to the Liberian Observer. Myanmar has made a similar commitment, leaving the US as the sole remaining party.

22. The longest place name in the world is 85 letters long.

People living in Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill, Australia need some patience to learn how to spell the name of their hometown. But you know what? So are the people of Lake Chargoggagoggman-chauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in Massachusetts and Tweebuffelsmeteen-skootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, South Africa.

However, none of them have as much work to do in writing down their address as those who live in Taumatawhakatangihanga-koauauotamateaturipukakapikimaung-ahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand. With 85 letters, this is the longest place name in the world.

23. Four babies are born every second.

Every second we welcome four new babies to our total population. Do a little math and you’ll find that there are about 250 births per minute, 15,000 per hour, and 360,000 per day.

24. The coldest temperature ever recorded was -144 degrees Fahrenheit.

You might think you’re used to frigid air and gale-force winds, but the average winter’s day has nothing to do with the coldest day on record, which is -144 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature was recorded in Antarctica during a study period between 2004 and 2016. Taking just a few breaths at that temperature would bleed into your lungs and kill you.

25. Earth’s ozone layer will fully recover within 50 years.

Due to pollution, the ozone layer of the earth has suffered a lot. That’s bad news for everyone, as the fragile layer of gas shields our planet and shields us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Fortunately, climate change experts believe the ozone layer will heal completely within 50 years, according to a 2018 United Nations report.

The recovery is largely due to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which imposed a global ban on the use of one of the main culprits of the damage: chlorofluorocarbons (CFOs). Previously, CFOs were common in refrigerators, aerosols and dry cleaning chemicals.

26. Japan is the world’s most earthquake-prone country.

Earthquakes can range from minor tremors that are barely noticeable to building collapses that cause massive destruction. But it’s an unavoidable part of life for those who live in countries like China, Indonesia, Iran and Turkey, which are some of the most earthquake-prone places on Earth. However, according to the USGS, Japan records the most earthquakes in the world.

27. There are about 4 trillion trillion bacteria on Earth.

Not all bacteria are bad. Some of those tiny biological cells are actually good for us and help the world in different and complex ways. And that’s nice to know, since there are about 4 trillion trillion individual bacteria on our planet, according to NPR.

28. People who are currently alive represent about 7% of the total number of people who have ever lived.

Here’s another world fact to keep in mind: More than 108 billion members of our species have been born since the time Homo sapiens first appeared 50,000 years ago, according to the Population Reference Bureau. And a large portion of that number are currently alive. According to the agency, the number of people alive today represents as much as 7% of the total number of people who have ever lived.

29. Mohammed is considered the most popular name in the world.

Step aside John, James, Mary and Jane — the most popular name in the world is believed to be Mohammed. An estimated 150 million men and boys around the world share this name, according to The Independent. Its popularity is due to a Muslim tradition of naming every firstborn son after the Islamic prophet.

30. Only two countries use purple in their national flags.

The flag of Nicaragua has a rainbow in the center with a purple e band, while the flag of Dominica has an image of a sisserou parrot, a bird with purple feathers. These elements make them the only two flags in the world to use the color purple.

31. In Africa and Asia, almost 90 percent of the world’s population lives in rural areas.

Not everyone lives in a thriving city or sprawling suburb. According to Reuters, many people still live outside of busy locations, especially in India, where the largest number of people live in rural areas (about 893 million people live outside the city). China also has an impressively large rural population, with 578 million people living outside major centers.

32. Most expensive coin in the world was sold for more than $7 million.

The 1933 Double Eagle was a $20 gold coin that never entered circulation. A few of the coins were made, but most were destroyed — all but nine of which were believed to have been stolen by US coin workers. After circulating the world for years and falling into the hands of some notable owners, including the King of Egypt, one of the coins was auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2002 for a staggering $7,590,020. That made it the most expensive coin ever sold at auction.

33. The world’s largest artificial oyster reef was created in Maryland.

Due to overfishing and disease, the oyster population in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay suffered severely. But thanks to the dedicated work of scientists from the Horn Point Laboratory, the Army Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Nature Conservancy, the state is now home to the world’s largest artificial oyster reef. The area, which is home to more than a billion oysters, is a no-fishing zone, which hopefully will give the population a chance to recover.

34. A record number of 92 countries took part in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Every four years, the Olympic Games bring together the most competitive athletes from around the world. And when the PyeongChang Winter Games were held in 2018, 2,952 athletes from a total of 92 countries were expected to attend. That beat the previous record of 2,800 athletes from 88 countries competing in the 2014 Winter Games.

35. South Sudan is the youngest country in the world.

Some countries are hundreds of years old, while others can trace their nation’s history back thousands of years. But South Sudan in North Africa only gained independence from Sudan in 2011, making it currently the youngest country in the world.

36. More than 52% of the world’s population is under 30 years old.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in 2012, 50.5 percent of the world’s population was made up of people under the age of 30. About 89.7% of those young people live in emerging and developing economies such as the Middle East and Africa.

27. People aged 60 and over make up 12.3% of the world’s population.

While the majority of the human population is currently under the age of 30, there are still many older people among us. In fact, more than 12% of the people on Earth are 60 and older. That number is expected to reach 22% by 2050.

38. There are more than 24 time zones around the world.

If the Earth’s time zones were each one hour apart, we would have 24 time zones, which sounds pretty straightforward. However, the situation is a bit more complicated than that. Because many time zones differ by only 30 or 45 minutes, they don’t fit into a neat 24-hour span, meaning more than 24, though it’s hard to say exactly how many.

39. Almost half of the world’s population watched both the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup matches.

Football, or soccer, depending on who you ask, is the most popular sport in the world. That’s why nearly half of the world’s population (about 3.2 billion people) tuned in to see who would win during FIFA World Cup matches in both 2010 and 2014.

40. It is estimated that Sweden has more islands than any other country.

With 221,800 islands, Sweden is said to have more islands than any other country in the world. Only about 1,000 of them are inhabited.

41. There are 43 countries that still have a royal family.

The BR its royal family is perhaps the most famous royal family in the world, but there are plenty of other nobles. There are a total of 28 royal families ruling over a total of 43 countries around the world, including Japan, Spain, Swaziland, Bhutan, Thailand, Monaco, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Liechtenstein.

42. California is home to the “artichoke capital of the world.”

Castroville is a rural city in California where artichokes (and other vegetable crops) are widely grown, thanks to the area’s year-round ideal weather. Because of this, it grows 99.9% of all commercially grown artichokes and has even earned it the nickname “Artichoke Capital of the World”.

43. All giant pandas in zoos around the world are on loan from China.

The panda at your local zoo may look like it’s at home in its cozy haven. But unless you live in China, the pandas you see are just visiting. That’s because all the gentle giants in zoos around the world are on loan from China. Yes, according to Vox, they are technically owned by the government of China.

44. The “Most Typical Man” fits this description.

According to a 2011 survey developed for National Geographic, the “most typical” person in the world is right-handed, earns less than $12,000 a year, has a cell phone, and does not have a bank account.

45. Canada has 9% of the world’s forests.

Our neighbors to the north have 396.9 million hectares of forest, or 9% of all the world’s forest area, according to Natural Resources Canada.

46. The red-billed quelea is the most common bird on earth.

There may not be any red-billed queleas in your area, but that’s not because there aren’t an abundance of them. These birds, which live in sub-Saharan Africa, are considered agricultural pests because their massive swarms can destroy entire crops. Although their numbers fluctuate, there are about 1 to 10 billion queleas, according to Audobon, leading scientists to believe there are more than any other bird on Earth.

47. There is a website that tracks the world’s population in real time.

As of 2021, the total human population is estimated to be over 7.8 billion people. And if you want to see that increase in real time, you can tune into the World Population Clock, which shows the rises and falls as babies are born and people die. You can also see the current populations of different countries.

48. More people speak Mandarin Chinese than any other language.

With approximately 950 million native speakers and another 200 million who speak Mandarin Chinese as a second language, it is the most widely spoken language in the world.

49. About one in 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan.

During his lifetime between 1162 and 1227, Genghis Khan fathered numerous children. And while we may never know exactly how many descendants the leader of the Mongol Empire had, scientists now believe that about 1 in 200 men — or 16 million people — are direct descendants of his.

50. Copenhagen is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world.

Many cities around the world are trying to figure out how to accommodate cyclists and encourage more residents to use the eco-friendly means of transportation. That’s why Copenhagen has become such a role model; it is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world according to Wired.

51. There are 41 countries that recognize sign language as an official language.

There are an estimated 72 million deaf people around the world. There are also about 300 different sign languages, including American Sign Language and International Sign Language, as well as 41 countries that recognize them as official languages.

52. The global adult literacy rate is about 86%.

According to UNESCO, with each passing generation, more and more people are learning to read. Today, about 86% of adults around the world can enjoy a book alone. UNESCO also explained that their data shows a “remarkable improvement among young people in terms of reading and writing skills and a steady narrowing of the gender gap”.

53. Facebook has more users than the population of the US, China and Brazil combined.

Do you use Facebook? If you don’t, you will be among a number that is getting smaller every day. In fact, 2 billion have active users have an account on the social media platform, which is more than the populations of the United States, China, and Brazil combined. Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, posted about the milestone, saying, “We’re making progress in connecting the world, and now let’s bring the world closer together.”

54. There are only two countries with names beginning with ‘The’.

You may find yourself saying “the” for different countries and place names when referring to them, thanks to grammar and common pronunciation, which is why we say the United States or the Maldives. However, only the Gambia and the Bahamas formally include “de” in their names.

45. All the ants on earth weigh about the same as all humans.

The total population of people living on Earth has not yet reached 8 billion. At the same time, there are 10 quadrillion (10,000,000,000,000,000) individual ants crawling around at any given time. According to nature presenter Chris Packham, who appeared on the BBC in 2014 to discuss this, all those ants put together would weigh about the same as all of us humans.

56. The oceans contain nearly 200,000 different viruses.

The next time you feel like taking a dip in the great blue ocean, you may not want to think about the fact that the seemingly pristine waters are home to nearly 200,000 different types of viruses. While this may sound scary, Matthew Sullivan, a microbiologist at Ohio State University, told CNN, “Having that roadmap [of what viruses exist] helps us do a lot of the things we’d be interested in doing to make the ocean better. And, I hate to say it, but maybe at some point I need to modify the ocean to combat climate change.”

57. New Zealanders have more pets per household than any other country.

People living in New Zealand seem to love having at least one companion animal around. This is why 68% of households in the country own a pet, more than any other country in the world. Americans also happen to love furry friends, which is why more than half of all homes in the US have a dog or cat (or both).

58. Tokyo is the largest city in the world with 37 million inhabitants.

Tokyo is a thriving city not only by Japanese standards, but also compared to cities around the world. With about 37 million people living in Tokyo, it is the world’s largest city by population size, according to Reuters. The next largest city is Delhi, India, (population 29 million) and Shanghai, China (population 26 million).

59. Interpol was founded in 1914 when lawyers from 24 countries came together to discuss the capture of fugitives.

These days, Interpol (or the International Criminal Police Organization) may well be known for tracking down bandits all over the world. But the group dates all the way back to 1914 when the International Criminal Police Congress was held in Monaco. During that meeting, representatives of the police and judiciary from 24 countries came together with the aim of improving contacts between police forces in different countries and thus increasing the effectiveness of international investigations.

60. Every second nearly two people die.

Although four babies are born on Earth every second, it is estimated that about two people die at the same time. That means 105 people die every minute, 6,316 people every hour, 151,600 people every day, and 55.3 million people every year. Sorry, folks, not all interesting facts are fun!

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Abbot Ace

Editor & Owner at Ice Camping Pro Abbot loves all things travel and outdoors and is a nature-loving, comfy-camping kinda guy. He loves winter camping.