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What was the largest strike, by % of a country's population, in history?

What was the largest strike, by % of a country's population, in history?

This week, India had an enormous strike - up to 200 million people. Some links:

Indian Workers Strike in Fight for Higher Wages(Guardian)

Millions Indian Workers Strike(Al Jazeera)

Real News

Indians Staged One of the Largest Strikes in History

200 million is a lot of people. This is about 16% of India's 1.25 billion people; a huge percentage.

It is likely this is the largest strike that has occured when counting the total number of people.

What about as a % of a country's population? Has a larger general strike ever occurred? If so, what % of a country were on strike? (In order to control for population growth, and the variation in country size, it is the % of the country that was on strike).

In the aftermath of the first World War, approximately 12 million German workers (source in German) out of a population of 62 million went on a general strike to protest the Kapp Putsch. This is a slightly higher percentage, 19% of the population compared to 16% from your example. But it was a political strike, not one for traditional economic aims.

I don't know if there were even larger strikes.

The French General Strike of May 1968 is a likely contender with around 10 million on strike out of a then population of about 51.2 million, or about 19.5% of the total population. This represented about two-thirds of the total workforce. Some sources put the number as high as 11 million (approx. 21.5% of the population).

L'Aurore was a French centre-right newspaper which included among its writers several members of the Académie française. This (weekend) edition is dated 25 & 26 May 1968 and has the sub-heading "mais 10 millions de Francais sont toujours en greve". Image source: cadeauretro.com

The figure of 10 million is the most widely given, and was quoted by publications at both ends of the political spectrum. The article General Strike: France 1968 - A factory by factory account gives figures which show how the numbers increased during May 1968:

From a few hundred strikers on 14th May at the Sud-Aviation air craft factory in Nantes the strike spread rapidly: 2 million strikers by 18th May, 9 million by 24th May, reaching nearly 10 million two days later.

The Historical Dictionary of France also gives 9 million for 24th May, but doesn't give a number after that.

A Journal of Labor Economics (Univ. of Chicago, 2008) article, Vive la Re'volution! Long-Term Educational Returns of 1968 to the Angry Students (pdf) says

Over 10 million French workers were involved in the strikes-roughly two-thirds of the French workforce.

This 2015 undergraduate thesis, “Peace Capital”: American Media 's Coverage of May 1968 in Paris (pdf) gives the highest number:

Over 11 million workers went on strike during May, which totaled over 20% of the population.

The figure of 11 million is also given by Wikipedia's May 1968 events in France.

The general strike in October-November 1956 Hungary was total in the sense that the strike committee (Central Workers Council Greater Budapest & constituent federative bodies) authorised the continued operation of media, medical and food services under their control; and, in that the Soviet Union enslaved railway workers.

31 Largest Worker Strikes In American History

The coronavirus pandemic’s devastating effect on the world’s economies has shined a harsh light on the value of labor — it is the most vulnerable commodity in our economic system. In the countless examples of workers’ struggles in U.S. history, this power has been leveraged — with varying degrees of success — to negotiate and improve labor conditions across all manner of workplaces.

Many elements of gainful employment Americans may take for granted, such as health benefits, a living wage, and the 40-hour work week, were won by organized labor. Here are the best jobs in America .

Even though a wave of strikes hit the U.S. as recently as 2018, union membership has declined for decades. This pattern can be seen in our ranking of strikes by cumulative work stoppage days, with the nation’s largest worker actions t ending to have occurred earlier than the less massive strikes. For a geographical perspective on union strength, here are the states with the strongest and weakest unions.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as media and archive reports on historic work stoppages to determine the largest worker strikes in American history.

The Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886

The Great Southwest Railroad Strike, which spanned across Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, took place from March to Sept. 1886. It included some 200,000 strikers. At the time, American railroads had been fast expanding across state lines, but by 1886, the Knights of Labor workers called a strike against their employers, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Missouri Pacific Railroad, both owned by Jay Gould, a robber baron.

The strikers protested what they claimed to be unsafe conditions, oppressive hours, and paltry pay. Unfortunately for the strikers, the members of other railroad unions did not support the walkout. The railroad companies eventually prevailed by hiring non-union workers, resulting in the disbanding of the Knights of Labor.

CDC Response

CDC activated its Emergency Operations Center in July 2014 to help coordinate technical assistance and disease control activities with partners. CDC personnel deployed to West Africa to assist with response efforts, including surveillance, contact tracing, data management, laboratory testing, and health education. CDC staff also provided support with logistics, staffing, communication, analytics, and management.

To prevent cross-border transmission, travelers leaving West Africa were screened at airports. Exit screening helped identify those at risk for EVD and prevent the spread of the disease to other countries. The United States also implemented enhanced entry screening for travelers coming from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali by routing them to designated airports better able to assess travelers for risk. [3]

During the height of the response, CDC trained 24,655 healthcare workers in West Africa on infection prevention and control practices. [4] In the United States, more than 6,500 people were trained during live training events throughout the response. In addition, laboratory capacity was expanded in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone with 24 laboratories able to test for Ebola virus by the end of 2015. [5]

A Moral Responsibility to Act

ASPI researcher and co-author of the report Nathan Ruser notes the magnitude of the birth rate decline in Xinjiang is unprecedented since the United Nations started collecting population data more than seven decades ago. Even countries such as Rwanda and Cambodia that experienced genocides or countries such as Syria that experienced brutal civil wars haven’t encountered such a severe birth-rate decline as that witnessed in Xinjiang.

While CCP officials bear down on minority births, China’s policy advisers urged the CCP leadership to “increase the fertility rate” and “vigorously encourage childbirth” to address the nation’s looming population crisis of shrinking labor force and aging population. CCP leaders seem to heed such recommendations.

For example, Premier Li Keqiang stated at the opening of the National People’s Congress in March this year that the CCP would “work to achieve an appropriate birth rate.” Additionally, the Global Times state media speculated that the Chinese government might lift restrictions on births and even implement preferential policies for prospective mothers later this year. But Uyghur mothers in Xinjiang shouldn’t expect any relief.

The ASPI’s report shows that CCP officials and state media don’t see the irony that the attack on minority births in Xinjiang stands in stark contrast to the CCP’s increasing willingness to relax population policy for the rest of China.

Instead, these Chinese officials and state media defend the government’s population policies through eugenic lenses, claiming the previously high birth rates of Uyghur Muslims were the result of “religious extremism” and “old childbearing concepts and cognition.” They argue that lowering the birth rate in Xinjiang is necessary to “optimize” population structure in the region, as reducing the birth rate would result in fewer “low-quality” births and gradually lift the “bio-quality” of the population in the area.

Earlier this year, China’s Embassy in the United States tweeted that Uyghur women in Xinjiang have been “emancipated,” and are “no longer baby-making machines.” After a worldwide outcry, the tweet was deleted.

The United Nations defines ”genocide” as any acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” including “imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.” By this definition, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated the CCP’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang a “genocide.” Current Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed with the “genocide” designation in his Senate confirmation hearing, but walked back from it after President Biden dismissed the CCP’s “genocide” against Uyghurs as different “cultural norms.”

President Biden often talks about reasserting America’s values on the world stage. He needs to act now. The evidence of the CCP’s genocide against Uyghurs is piling up, including this latest revelation.

As the leader of the free world, Biden bears a grave, moral responsibility to speak against such atrocities and lead other nations to hold the CCP accountable for its actions. Otherwise, to quote a popular phrase from the left, President Biden and his administration will find themselves “on the wrong side of the history.”

By 2060, this country will have the world's largest population

In the 1950s the world looked very different. Data from the United Nations shows that the global population was around 2.5 billion. Today, that number is almost 7.5 billion and is expected to rise to 9.7 billion by 2050.

In the middle of the 20th Century, China was home to 500 million people and, like today, it was the world’s the most populous nation, followed by India and the United States.

But, based on current trends, the list of the world's most populous nations could look very different by 2060.

This animation, created by Aron Strandberg, uses UN data to show the population growth of the 12 most populous countries between 1950 and 2060.

Over the past half century, China has remained in the top spot, but it is expected to be overtaken by India in 2022.

In 2020, India is predicted to have over 1,383,000 million citizens, compared to China’s 1,402,000 million.

Just eight years later, India is set to have gained over 100 million people, while China’s population is only expected to have increased by 1.4 million.

There’s another country on the list that is growing rapidly - Nigeria.

In 1950, Nigeria had a population of around 37 million. By 2015, it was more than 182 million.

Nigeria, which has a high fertility rate and a large youth population, will continue to see rapid expansion, and is expected to overtake the US to become the third most populous nation by 2060.

Another interesting case is the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had a population of around 12 million in 1950. That figure is expected to reach 237 million by 2060.

The animation shows how the nation is projected to experience huge growth in its youth population.

By contrast, Brazil, consistently one of the world's most populous countries, will see its ageing population increase while overall numbers decline.

European countries including the UK, Germany and Italy were among the world’s most populous nations in the 1950s. Today, they no longer make the top 12. The animation also shows Russia, the fourth most populous country in 1950, disappearing from the list by 2040.

The U.S. Is the Biggest Carbon Polluter in History. It Just Walked Away From the Paris Climate Deal.

The United States, with its love of big cars, big houses and blasting air-conditioners, has contributed more than any other country to the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is scorching the planet.

“In cumulative terms, we certainly own this problem more than anybody else does,” said David G. Victor, a longtime scholar of climate politics at the University of California, San Diego. Many argue that this obligates the United States to take ambitious action to slow global warming.

But on Thursday, President Trump announced the United States would withdraw from a 195-nation agreement on climate change reached in Paris in 2015.

The decision to walk away from the accord is a momentous setback, in practical and political terms, for the effort to address climate change.

An American exit could prompt other countries to withdraw from the pact or rethink their emissions pledges, making it much harder to achieve the agreement’s already difficult goal of limiting global warming to a manageable level.

It means the United States — the country with the largest, most dynamic economy — is giving up a leadership role when it comes to finding solutions for climate change.

“It is immoral,” said Mohamed Adow, who grew up herding livestock in Kenya and now works in London as a leader on climate issues for Christian Aid, a relief and development group. “The countries that have done the least to cause the problem are suffering first and worst.”

Some backers of the agreement argued that the large American role in causing climate change creates an outsize responsibility to help fight it, including an obligation to send billions of dollars abroad to help people in poorer countries.

The Obama administration pledged $3 billion to an international fund meant to aid the hardest-hit countries. Only $1 billion of that had been transferred to the fund by the time President Trump took office on Jan. 20. On Thursday, he pledged to walk away from the balance of the commitment, though Congress may have the last word.

Mr. Trump argued that meeting the terms of the Paris accord would strangle the American economy and lead to major job losses. Many in the manufacturing and fossil fuel industries lobbied for the United States to leave the pact, but corporate opinion has been deeply split. Leaving the Paris deal was a central Trump campaign pledge.

While the United States is historically responsible for more emissions than any other country, it is no longer the world’s largest single emitter of greenhouse gases. China surpassed the United States a decade ago, and its emissions today are about double the American figure. Some of China’s emissions are from the production of goods for the United States and other rich countries.

But the United States has been burning coal, oil and natural gas far longer, and today the country, with just over 4 percent of the world’s population, is responsible for almost a third of the excess carbon dioxide that is heating the planet. China is responsible for less than a sixth. The 28 countries of the European Union, taken as a group, come in just behind the United States in historical emissions.

China has four times as many people as the United States, so the Chinese still burn far less fossil fuel on average than Americans — less than half as much, in fact. The typical American also burns roughly twice as much as the average person in Europe or in Japan, and 10 times as much as the average person in India.

Allocating the Quota

Since 1990, the quota is allocated 51% to the commercial sector and 49% to the recreational sector. This allocation was based on landings data for each sector during 1979-1987. In 2011, the Gulf Council began developing Amendment 28, which would modify the commercial and recreational allocation to give more to the recreational sector. However, a court order vacated the amendment and required NOAA Fisheries to reinstate the sector allocations and resulting quotas and annual catch targets that were in effect prior to Amendment 28.

In 2015, the Gulf Council split the recreational sector into the two components, and separate recreational sub-quotas were established for private anglers and for-hire vessels. The recreational sector quota (49% of the overall quota) currently designates 57.7% for the private anglers and 42.3% for the for-hire vessels. Separate recreational sub-quotas will end December 31, 2022, unless the Gulf Council takes further action. NOAA Fisheries anticipated separate quotas would improve management of the overall recreational sector and decrease the likelihood of future recreational quota overruns that may jeopardize red snapper stock rebuilding.

Distinct recreational components changed the way NOAA Fisheries calculates the season length for each component. State-water landings outside the federal red snapper recreational fishing season can be assigned to the private angler component. Also, the average weight of red snapper harvested, which is different for the two components, can be calculated separately. For 2015, the private angler component had a 10-day federal water season, and the federally permitted for-hire component had a 44-day federal water season. For 2016, the private angler component had a 9-day federal water season, which was extended two days because of a tropical storm, and the federally permitted for-hire component had a 46-day season. For 2017, the private angler component had a 3-day federal water season, which was extended 39 days by the Department of Commerce, and the federally permitted for-hire component had a 49-day season. The for-hire component landings have not exceeded the for-hire quota since the separate components were established. The private angler component quota was exceeded in 2016 resulting in the total recreational quota being exceeded. The overage was subtracted from the 2017 quota. In 2017, the private angler quota was exceeded, but the overage was not subtracted from the 2018 quota because the stock was no longer overfished.

Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation

Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 1, 2019 (the latest date for which population estimates are available), Millennials, whom we define as ages 23 to 38 in 2019, numbered 72.1 million, and Boomers (ages 55 to 73) numbered 71.6 million. Generation X (ages 39 to 54) numbered 65.2 million and is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.

The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks. Boomers – whose generation was defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II – are aging and their numbers shrinking in size as the number of deaths among them exceeds the number of older immigrants arriving in the country.

Population figures for 2019 and earlier years are based on Census Bureau population estimates (2019 vintage and available by single year of age). Population sizes for 2020 to 2050 are based on Census Bureau population projections released in 2017 (and also available by single year of age). Live births by year are published by the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics.

This post was originally published on Jan. 16, 2015, under the title “This year, Millennials will overtake Baby Boomers.” It was updated April 25, 2016, to reflect the changing population, under the headline “Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation” This reflected the Center’s definition of Millennials at the time (born between 1981 and 1997).

A third revision published March 1, 2018, reflected the Center’s newly revised definition, under which Millennial births end in 1996. Under that new definition, the Millennial population was smaller than that of Boomers, resulting in the headline “Millennials projected to overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation.”

This latest revision reflects the newly available July 1, 2019, population estimates released in April 2020, as well as new Census Bureau population projections released in 2017. Under these estimates, Millennials have overtaken Boomers under the Center’s revised definition.

Because generations are analytical constructs, it takes time for popular and expert consensus to develop as to the precise boundaries that demarcate one generation from another. In early 2018, Pew Research Center assessed demographic, labor market, attitudinal and behavioral measures to establish an endpoint – albeit inexact – for the Millennial generation. Under this updated definition, the youngest “Millennial” was born in 1996.

Here’s a look at some generational projections.


  • With immigration adding more numbers to this group than any other, the Millennial population is projected to peak in 2033, at 74.9 million. Thereafter, the oldest Millennial will be at least 52 years of age and mortality is projected to outweigh net immigration. By 2050 there will be a projected 72.2 million Millennials.

Generation X

  • For a few more years, Gen Xers are projected to remain the “middle child” of generations – caught between two larger generations, the Millennials and the Boomers. Gen Xers were born during a period when Americans were having fewer children than in later decades. When Gen Xers were born, births averaged around 3.4 million per year, compared with the 3.9 million annual rate from 1981 to 1996 when the Millennials were born.
  • Gen Xers are projected to outnumber Boomers in 2028, when there will be 63.9 million Gen Xers and 62.9 million Boomers. The Census Bureau estimates that the Gen X population peaked at 65.6 million in 2015.

Baby Boomers

  • Baby Boomers have always had an outsize presence compared with other generations. They peaked at 78.8 million in 1999 and remained the largest living adult generation until 2019.
  • By midcentury, the Boomer population is projected to dwindle to 16.2 million.

Note: This is an update of a post originally published on Jan. 16, 2015. See the “How we did this” box for details.

10 biggest earthquakes in recorded history

1. Valdivia, Chile, 22 May 1960 (9.5)

This earthquake killed 1655 people, injured 3000 and displaced two million. It caused US$550 million damage in Chile, while the tsunami that it spawned caused deaths and damage as far away as Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines. The ‘rupture zone’ of the quake was more than 1000 km long. Two days after the initial quake, the nearby volcano Puyehue erupted, sending ash and steam up to 6 km into the atmosphere over a period of several weeks.

2. Prince William Sound, Alaska, 28 March 1964 (9.2)

Compared to the Chilean earthquake, this earthquake was less damaging: the resulting tsunami took 128 lives and caused overall US$311 million in damage. The earthquake was felt mainly over Alaska, as well as some places in Canada, while the tsunami created by it caused damage as far away as Hawaii. The most damage was sustained by the city of Anchorage, 120 km north-west of the epicentre. Shaking from the quake itself is reported to have lasted for three minutes.

3. Sumatra, Indonesia, 26 December 2004 (9.1)

In terms of damage and loss of life, the scale of the disaster caused by the resulting Boxing Day Tsunami was enormous. In total, 227,900 people were killed or presumed dead, with around 1.7 million displaced over 14 countries in South Asia and East Africa. The epicentre was 250 km south-east of Band Aceh, Indonesia, at a depth of 30 km. Several days later on 28 December, a mud volcano began erupting near Baratang, Andamar Islands, which is thought to have been associated with the earthquake.

4. Sendai, Japan, 11 March 2011 (9.0)

So far the official death toll stands at several thousand from the combined effect of the powerful earthquake, aftershocks and the tsunami. However, the total is expected to rise, with some estimates of a final toll of over 10,000. Economic impacts are expected to be huge, with the shutting down of nuclear reactors which many industries rely on for power.

5. Kamchatka, Russia, 4 November 1952 (9.0)

This earthquake generated a tsunami that caused widespread damage in the Hawaiian Islands. Property damage was estimated at around US$1,000,000. Some reports describe waves of over 9 m high at Kaena Point, Oahu. A farmer on Oahu reported the loss of six cows to the tsunami, but no people were reported killed.

6. Bio-bio, Chile, 27 February 2010 (8.8)

This earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed at least 521 people, with 56 missing and 12,000 injured. More than 800,000 people were displaced with a total of 1.8m people affected across Chile, where damage was estimated at US$30 billion. The epicentre was 335 km south-west of Santiago, at a depth of 35 km. A minor tsunami travelled across the Pacific causing damage to boats as far away as San Diego, California.

7. Ecuador coast, 31 January 1906 (8.8)

This earthquake caused a tsunami that is reported to have killed between 500 and 1,500 in Ecuador and Colombia. The tsunami travelled as far north as San Francisco, on the west coast of the US, and west to Hawaii and Japan. The tsunami took roughly 12 hours to cross the Pacific to Hilo, Hawaii.

8. Rat Islands, Alaska, 2 April 1965 (8.7)

The worst of the damage attributed to this earthquake was caused by a tsunami, reported to be about 10 m high on Shemya Island. The wave caused flooding on Amchitka Island, causing US$10,000 in property damage. No deaths or injuries were reported.

9. Sumatra, Indonesia, 28 March 2005 (8.6)

This earthquake killed 1313, with over 400 people injured by the tsunami as far away as Sri Lanka. The epicentre was 205 km north-west of Sibolga, Sumatra, at a depth of 30 km. This region, also the site of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, is particularly geologically active, with three of the 15 biggest known earthquakes having happened here.

10. Assam, Tibet, 15 August 1950 (8.6)

This inland earthquake caused widespread damages to buildings as well as large landslides. 780 people were killed in eastern Tibet, with many villages and towns affected across Assam, China, Tibet and India. Oscillations to lake levels occurred as far away as Norway. The total death toll is likely to be higher, as no definitive total was ever estimated. While the earthquake itself is known as the Assam Earthquake, it is believed the epicentre may have been in Tibet.

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