Yesterday my sister forwarded me a link to a web page that I found really fascinating. The page shows photos of families from eight different countries (Germany, U. S., Italy, Mexico, Poland, Egypt, Ecuador, India), the food they purchased for a week, and what each family spent on food for a week. The German family is pictured above. The article is interesting in a number of different ways. Please click through to it.
It’s visually engaging in a National Geographic sort of way—the colors, dress, different foods, etc. The sizes of the families represented are quite interesting and, if typical, express visually the differences in birthrate and customs among the differing countries. The contents of the diet are quite different. I won’t apologize for my countrymen (as the Indian author felt moved to do about the American family). I wouldn’t be surprised if a typical American family had just that lousy a diet.
I was also intrigued at how much bread was in the Italian family’s diet. It’s obviously a major component of their diet. That was typical of the Western world until quite recently. The “staff of life”, indeed.
There’s other information in the article, too. Just for fun, let’s assume that the article correctly represents the weekly expenditures for the various families. Here are countries and expenditures in tabular form.
|Country||Weekly Expenditure||Per Capita GDP||Percent|
Source for per capita GDP: CIA World Fact Book
I’ve added the per capita (average) GDP for each country and calculated the percentage that each family’s food expenses represents of it. Note how much more of their income the German, Mexican, Egyptian, and Indian families are spending on food compared, especially, to the U. S., Italian, and Ecuadoran families. No wonder the Ecuadoran family is smiling.
Take note of that difference when you read about food riots in Egypt or German or Indian newspaper articles about the rising price of food.