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Although the creators of The Walking Dead comic and its hit television adaptation have kept the story fairly narrowly focused a ragtag group of survivors, questions about the state of the rest of the world gnaw at us like, well, ravenous walkers. How many other groups like Rick’s are there in the world? Heck, how many people are there?
Matt Lieberman at SourceFed takes a stab at the latter question, cautioning that there’s “a fair amount of assumption involved in my final number.” That said, he does some pretty impressive work in establishing a timeline for the zombie apocalypse, arguing that the outbreak began in January 2012.
But how could that be, if The Walking Dead premiered in October 2010? Well, acknowledges your skepticism, but points to the pilot for the companion series Fear the Walking Dead, which not only featured Apple products introduced in 2011 but depicted character in winter apparel (in a school that lacked any signs of holiday decor). Hey, it’s pretty tough to argue.
With that more or less established, Lieberman takes the global population at the time (a little more than 6.9 billion), and applies the ratio of zombies to humans provided by Robert Kirkman in The Walking Dead #10 (5,000 to 1) and arrives at the estimated number of people still alive when the outbreak went global: 1.4 million, give or take.
But, wait, he’s not finished. Taking into account that, of the 347 character introduced on The Walking Dead, 252 (72.6 percent) have died, Lieberman settles on an incredibly precise worldwide tally: 382,885 survivors. That, he notes, is less than the population of Arlington, Texas.
Of course, by the time it took to read that post, the number has probably dropped by at least a few. Oh! There goes another …