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The diary of the actuary

The "Diary of the actuary" is a fixed appointment with the data from reality and their visualization through photojournalism language. It is a light, essential, concise and full of information tool which respects the actuaries’ continuous learning logic, who are fully committed to picking and deconding the figures which describe the complexity of contemporary society and try to find common threads of interpretation. Good reading.



28. This is the number of tigers - among the 2300 living in protected Indian reserves - killed by poachers in the first two months of 2016. The number is higher than those related to tigers killed throughout 2015.

Source: The Hindustan Times

Madhya Pradesh, India. Kanha National Park. A tiger in the forest of the natural reserve.



40. It will be the height of the biggest minaret in Europe, still under construction in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Qatar will contribute with €15 mln to its building, which is expected to cost €35 mln.

Source: Reuters

Slovenia, Lubjiana. The panorama of the old city center.



40. It is the number of distilleries belonging to the "Schnaps Route", a guided tour to discover the secrets and the taste of this typical product.


Salzburg, Austria – A local “Schnaps” maker in Grosstaller.



313 are the cars stolen in Italy everyday; it is 13 per hour. The police forces can find out just 45% of them, while the others simply disappear.

Source: LoJack

Africa - A stolen car wreck in the middle of the desert.



40. It is the percent growth of CO2 emissions in the last 20 years at global level. The Kyoto Protocol (1997) established a 5,2% decrease by 2010.

Source: Acot, CNRS France

China, Shanghai - The pollution obscuring the sun in the city centre.



146 are the working days required in the EU, on average, to pay taxes and start earning for oneself. They are 157 in Italy, 105 in Ireland.

Source: CGIA di Mestre

Italy, coins from the Fontana di Trevi in Rome.



184. This is the number of Eskimo villages – out of a total of 213 – that are going to be submerged by the sea in the Arctic. The phenomenon is due to the global warming that is twice faster at that latitude than in the rest of the world.

Source: USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Greenland – One spectacular ice formation.



81. This is the percentage of the consent achieved by the words “environment” and “Internet” through a survey on the most important and the most used words of our times. “Democracy” ranks only at 23° place out of the competing thirty words.

Source: Demos-Coop

Zambia – Elephants and buffalos crossing a river.



21. It is, in billions of euros, a little less than the amount spent in R&D in Italy. It represents 1,3% of GDP (the EU average is around 2.0%) and it ranks the Country at 16° place. Germany spends 2,9% of GDP in R&D, the US 2,8% and Japan 3,4%.

Source: Eurostat and European Research Council

Italy, one of the many electric power plants.



116. It is the age of the oldest woman in the world, Mrs. Emma Morano, who lives in Pallanza: she is the last person born in 1800 still alive.

Source: La Repubblica

Italy, the hands of an old woman.



24. These are the hours per day during which, starting from August 2016, the 5 lines of the London underground, the oldest in the world, will be in service. The London underground covers 460 km through a network of 270 stations and carries 1 billion and 300 thousands of passengers per year.

Source: London Underground

United Kingdom, London – One of the trains running in the metropolitan area.



8%. It is the maximum growth index established by the Chinese government for the next years to strengthen the underdeveloped regions of the country and to boost the domestic demand over the export. This one, even if increasing the expansion rate of the economy, created economic and social unbalances in the past.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

China – Shanghai - The Cafè “Pistacchio” during an evening presentation of some Italian tailoring new products.



69 is the percentage of Catholics in Latin America, registered in 2015. This a very low value considering that 45 years ago this percentage corresponded to 92%.

Source: PEW Research Institute

A holy mass in the North of Brasil.

312 million


312 million of Champagne bottles sold in 2015 by wine cellars. It is a business worth 4,75 billion euros, the highest income ever registered.

Source: Comité Champagne CIVC

A vineyards in the French countryside.



289 are the several species of diurnal butterflies in Italy. This is the highest number in Europe thanks to Italy’s good weather and geography. This is witnessed by examples like Britain, where this number is five times lower.

Source: Il Venerdì di Repubblica

Italy, a bunch of butterflies in Valtellina.



1. Is the number of hectares of land that the government lead by Vladimir Putin assigned free of charge in May 2016, with a 5-year extension, to all requiring farmers. Those farmers who will not cultivate the land will have to return it to the government.

Source: AGI

Russia, one of the monasteries along the Golden Ring.



4,4% is the increase of the international mobility in 2015, with more than one billion travelers. The percentage in Europe, despite recent terrorism, increased by 5%. Africa showed a 8% inverted trend due to several causes, such as the spread of the Ebola Virus and the terrorist attacks.

Source: World Tourism Organization

China, a train station in the north of the country.

1,2 million


1,2 million is the number of scientific publications in 2015 written by the 246 thousand R&D employees in Italy, the eight country in the world for number of publications per researcher.

Source: European Research Council

Some scientific publications in Italy.



35%. It is the reduction of the catholic clergymen in the last 30 years. For some orders the reduction is significantly higher: Jesuits -45%, Franciscans -41% and Dominicans -40%.

Source: R. Benotti Viaggio nella vita religiosa

Poland, some nuns in a monastery in Częstochowa.



200. These are the decibel produced by the pistol shrimp (alpheus heterochaelis) when snapping its own claw, at more than 100 km/h. Thanks to this, the shrimp - very common in the Mediterranean Sea - can produce blast waves that stun the preys. The noise can be heard even under the sea waves and it is higher than the noise of a rocket (180 dB) or the one of an airplane take-off (125 dB).

Source: World Register of Marine Species 2015

Egypt, the barrier reef in the Red Sea.



7% is the unemployment rate in Holland in 2015, the lowest in Europe. In the same year, Italy stood at 12,6%.

Source: Eurostat

The Netherlands, Amsterdam – A mockup of the city center in a musem.

77 million


77 million euros was the amount that 2574 private individuals donated to the so called Art Bonus, the voluntary tax credit for culture and show business conceived in 2014 to support cultural heritage.


Italy, the restoration lab of the Nicolas family situated in the tiny village of Aramengo (Asti).

30,1 million


30,1 million of hectolitres is the amount of wine consumed in the USA in 2016, the year they became the first consuming country. They surpassed Italy, that is now ranked third together with Germany with 20,5 million of hectolitres. The second country for wine consumption is France, with 27,2 million.

Source: International Organisation of Vine and Wine (IOV)

Italy, a vineyard in Valtellina


62 this is approximately the number of people not in work (below 18 and over 65 years old) on 100 active workers (age range 18-65) in Italy. In regards to immigrants, this value is below 10. The situation is not better across Europe: in France the values are respectively 69 and 24, in the UK they are 62 and 28, in Germany 59 and 47. In Sweden alone the two indicators are inverted: it is 67 among Swedes, with a peak of 80 among immigrants. 


Source: Eurostat


Sweden, some immigrants in a job center in Stockholm.


2036 these are the violent deaths from January to February 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. 238 of them can be attributed to the Police. There is a 12% increase in comparison to the preceding year. Theft on the streets (+23,7%) and vehicle thefts (+19,7%) increased: this describes a difficult situation, especially with a view to the 2016 Olympic Games. 
Source: Institute for Public Security
Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. Some ordinary life in the streets.


12% defines the number of Italian citizens who in 2014 used the Internet to interact with the public administration. Italy ranks 25th in the European Union, followed only by Bulgaria and Romania. The top positions are occupied by Denmark (65%), the Netherlands (56%) and Finland (55%).


Source: Eurostat


Danimarca, Copenhagen the Nyhavn canal.



2.1% is the increase rate of printed books in the US in 2015. The modest increase acquires bigger significance when compared to the figures for ebooks sales, which shrank by 20% in the same year, after a remarkable reduction in the previous year.

Source: Nielsen Bookscan

Italy, a paper factory in Veneto.



440 is the number of hours that the average Italian spends queueing up in their lifetime, a financial loss of 40 billion euros. Milan-based Giovanni Cafaro has started a small company through which you can find, for only 10 euros/hour, someone who will stand in line for you at the Post Office or similar offices.

Sources: The Economist and Codacons

Turin, people queing up to enter a museum.



61% is the majority with which Dutch voters rejected, in an ad hoc referendum, the agreement for  associating the Ukraine to the EU. Without the Netherlands' ratification, the agreement cannot be fully implemented, but the remaining 27 EU member states, which approved it, are not in favour of a renegotiation.

Source: Financial Times

Kiev, Ukraine. The monumental, titanium-made Friendship Arc, built in 1982.



20,000 were the convicts on death row in the world's prisons in 2015. In that year, executions grew by 50% over the previous year, the highest number in the last 26 years. Three countries are responsible for 90% of executions worldwide: Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Source: Amnesty International

Philippines, some inmates in their ordinary life in Manila.



7 is the average number of children that an African woman gives birth to in her life. It is a world record, by which the population of Africa will be three times that of Europe by 2050 (currently the ratio is less than two to one).

Source: World Bank

Madagascar, a young woman ready to get married.



5 or more are the years by which - according to a research study of the American Society of Actuaries - 40% of US citizens underestimate the average life expectancy of the country's retirees. Approximately 77% of Americans expect to be in a very or somewhat good place financially once they retire, yet only 63% declare they have saved enough money to this end.


Sources: American Society of Actuaries and Employee Benefit Research Institute


Belize, retired people from Usa relaxing on the beach.



11% is the aggregate cost of violence against people and things over the total GDP of 150 countries. Combatting violence costs a percentage of GDP ranging from 27.5% in North Korea to 0.5% in Bhutan. In Italy it is estimated at 2.8%, in Germany at 4.0% and in the US at 10.5%.


Source: Institute for Economics and Peace


Usa, one of the volunteers patrolling the Mexican border.



0.08% is the relative weight of electric (or hybrid) cars over the total number of cars registered worldwide in 2015. By 2040, they are estimated to account for 35% of all new car registrations.


Source: Bloomberg


Paris, a new electric car just presented on the global market.



7% is the global increase rate estimated for 2020 for the luxury cars sector. Another luxury sector for which growth is forecast in the same period is the high-level restaurant industry, expected to grow by 22%.


Source: Euromonitor International


China, Shanghai. A Ferrari showroom

60 million


60 million is the current estimated number of refugees worldwide, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees. Of these, about 20 million have found refuge in countries other than their original one. It is the highest number since World War II, to be blamed in part on the war in Iraq and Syria.


Source: UNHCR


Italy, refugees from Sirya in Lampedusa.



36.3% is the percentage of NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training), i.e. youths who neither work nor study, in Turkey – the highest rate among OECD countries. Turkey is followed by Italy with 34.9%, Greece (31.85%) and Spain (29.3%). The figures for the United States, the UK, France and Germany are below 18%.


Source: OECD


Istanbul, some young girls laughing.


©Davide Scagliola/Parallelozero/Epico

5,000 is the minimum quantity of water (in litres) needed to produce one kilogram of meat. ”Minimum” because, in certain geographical and environmental conditions, it can be as much as 20,000 litres.


Source: IME – Institute of Mechanical Engineers, London, UK


Venezuela - Cows returning to Hato el Cedral afetr a grazing day.


©Davide Scagliola/Parallelozero/Epico

253 is the number of translations of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, the book that  - with the exception of religious books -  has had the highest number of translations worldwide. It is followed closely by Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio, with 242 translations.


Source: GeMS – Gruppo Editoriale Mauri Spagnol


Libya. Flying over the immense Erg Murzuq.



1% is the expected global inflation rate for the next decade, according to the FED. The risk of such a low and prolonged inflation rate is that it may generate deflation and stagnation that might last for many decades to come.


Source: FED and Lawrence Summers


Caracas, Venezuela. A pile of Bolivares, the local currency. Inflation tax for the first quarter of 2016 is 720%.


©Sergio Ramazzotti/Parallelozero/Epico

46 is the average temperature (in Celsius) of Kuwait City, the hottest city on earth. In the summer, temperatures rise to 50 degrees.


Source: Travel 365


Kuwait City, Kuwait. A woman walks along the public beach in the Salmiya neighborhood.


©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

1,4 is the current amount, in billion US$, of the foreign debt owned by China. The role of China in the international financial system continues to grow and bank credit is the most important channel of financial link between the country and the rest of the world: in the years 2010-2015 it grew threefold, generating serious concerns about the possible repercussions on the global markets of a Chinese economic meltdown.


Source: FMI-Global Financial Stability Report


Shanghai, China. A newlyweds take pictures along the Bund.


©Davide Scagliola/Parallelozero/Epico

34 is the number of the tax havens included in the 2016 Black List of OECD. Among these are two European countries, namely Cyprus and Andorra.


Source: OECD


Cyprus, the Southwest coast.



24 is, in trillion US$, the global net worth of the insurance sector. This sector (particularly companies issuing life insurance policies, which account for 85%) now controls 12% of global assets and plays an increasingly important role in the international financial system.


Source: FMI Global Financial Stability Report 2015


Giglio Island, the Costa Concordia wreck.



69 is the 2014 ranking of Italy according to the Corruption Perception Index (which lists 175 countries) - a tie with Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Swaziland.

Source: Transparency International 2015

Rome, Italy. An employee gathers the coins thrown in the Trevi Fountain by tourists.


©Sergio Ramazzotti/Parallelozero/Epico

3,500 is the number of people who have been enslaved by ISIS in Iraq – most of them women and children from the Yazidi community.

Source: United Nations

Baghdad, a man and a woman are coming back from the local market.

110 thousand

©Sergio Ramazzotti/Parallelozero/Epico

110 thousand is the number of migrants reaching Greece and Italy in the first two months of 2016. The last year the sum arrived up to 100 thousand just in June. Greece is the foremost destination: in February only 43 thousand people arrived, just as much as in 2014 overall.


Source: UN-International Organization for Migration


Channel of Sicily. Syrian and Eritrean migrants are transferred by the soldiers of the San Marco brigade on board a vessel of an Italian warship.


©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

42.4% is the differential between the EU country with the highest (France) and the lowest (Lithuania) tax burden. With such a wide gap in taxation policies, it becomes difficult to implement stable common economic policies in the EU, as it ultimately creates competition amongst the Member States.


Source: our analysis of CGIA Mestre data


Lithuania, one of the many beaches along the Northern coast.


©Davide Scagliola/Parallelozero/Epico

0.5% is the percentage of the current US workforce employed in companies established in the 21st century. The widespread use of robots and artificial intelligence, particularly favoured by companies born after the year 2000, evidently does not promote human employment.


Source: World Economic Forum Davos


Usa, an automated production unit in an American company.


©Davide Scagliola/Parallelozero/Epico

19 is the cost in US$ per barrel of oil extraction in Brazil, including royalties. It is the highest in the world, followed by Canada ($17), USA (shale extraction, $14), Russia ($9), Saudi Arabia ($8) and Iran, which boasts the lowest cost at $2 per barrel, but is also the smallest producer.


Source: Wood Mackenzie, Citi Research


Brazil, the coastline nearby Salvador de Bahia.

8.5 million

©Simone Cerio/Parallelozero/Epico

8.5 million are the people living in Austria. In 2015, 90,000 refugees settled in the country and the Austrian government decided to cap to the number of incoming refugees at 37,500 per year. It is estimated that this will require an annual expense of US$1,1 billion.


Source: The Economist


Austria, Vienna. The Magdas Hotel is fully managed by immigrants and refugees.


©Sergio Ramazzotti/Parallelozero/Epico

2nd is the rank of Italy in the world by consumption of bottled water in 2015, with little over 150 litres per person per year. Italy follows Mexico, and a distant 3rd is France, then the United Arab Emirates, Spain and Germany.


Source: Euromonitor International


Afghanistan, Awas Abad. An Afghan soldier and villagers get the first water from a well just installed by the Italian Army.


©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

20 is the expected price (in US$) per barrel of oil in 2016 according to Jacopo Brilli, in charge of the Australian project for liquefied natural gas. Should it plummet to $10 per barrel, oil will be cheaper to buy than bottled water.


Source: our analysis of ICTHYS data


UAE, a young man fishing in Abu Dhabi’s port.


©Bruno Zanzottera Parallelozero/Epico

2,797 are the keys used by the ten clavigeri (key keepers) employed by the Vatican Museums and by their extended network of offices and laboratories to open and close as many locks daily.


Source: Ufficio del Conservatore dei Musei Vaticani


Rome, Vatican. St. Peter's square.


©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

35,000 is the estimated number of new jobs created in Italy in the agricultural sector between September 2014 and September 2015. They will be filled by a minimum of 20,000 workers under 30 years of age, representing an increase of over 12%. Thanks to the new technologies, an industry considered marginal for over 50 years is now offering concrete employment opportunities.


Source: ISTAT


Italy, Parma, one of the many farms scattered throughout Emilia.


©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

7 billion is the overall value, in US$, of government bonds with negative yield in the world today. Borrowing money has never been this cheap.


Source: World Bank


Usa, Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange.


©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

40% is the quota of collective wealth lost by the 3.6 billion poor of the world between 2010 and 2015, and transferred to the 1% made up by the planet's richest, according to OXFAM, an anti-poverty confederation of 17 international organizations.


Source: OXFAM


China, Shanghai. One of the many rich young Chinese entrepreneurs.


©Davide Scagliola/Parallelozero/Epico

13.8% was the portion of power produced by “clean” sources in Italy in 2014 (includes wind, solar, geothermic and hydraulic). Coal (7,95%), oil and natural gas accounted for over 80% of overall energy production, while the rest was generated by recovery from waste, wood, biomass and biodiesel. In the years 2011-2014, domestic consumption of energy in Italy decreased by 5.2%.


Source: our analysis of data from Ministry of Economic Development and ENEA


Daunia Mountains, Puglia (Italy). Horseriding among wheat fields with wind farms in the background.


©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

658 is the number of billionaires (in US$) in China, which now ranks first in the world, followed by the US (535), India (111), the UK and Germany (82 each), and Russia (80).


Source: The Economist


Shanghai (China), one of the many young Chinese entrepreneurs with some friends on the terrace of Bar Rouge.


©Giancarlo Radice/Parallelozero/Epico

68.2% is the average speed in km/h of a carrier pigeon on a high-pollution day; it is remarkably faster than the speed recorded on a clear-air day (55.6 km/h). This is the unexpected result of a research study carried out by the Universities of California and of Nanjing, China.


Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit


Ulan Baatar, Mongolia. A wedding photo session among the flying pigeons in the city's main square.

12.6 million

©Alessandro Gandolfi/Parallelozero/Epico

12.6 million is the daily production of crude oil, in barrels, of the US, which is now the largest world producer. It is followed by Russia (almost 11 million) and Saudi Arabia (10 million). The other producers boast much smaller numbers, under 5 million.


Source: International Energy Agency


Usa, one of the many oil wells in Louisiana.


©Sergio Ramazzotti/Parallelozero/Epico

25 are the eurocents that the French Ministry of the Environment refunds daily to each person who commits to using a bike to travel through the city.


Source: France Presse


France, cycling in the countryside.


©Bruno Zanzottera/Parallelozero/Epico

0.9°C indicates by how much the average temperature of 2015 exceeded that of the entire 20th century; 2015 is now the hottest year in human memory.


Source: US National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration.


Argentina, the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the most spectacular in the world.