The photographs below, by photographer Peter Menzel, depict “statistically average” families in different countries.  They pose with all of their belongings in front of their residence.  The photos are an amazing example of the global distribution of “goods” in our contemporary world.  I borrow them from the story on the project at NPR.  You can also buy his book, Material World, featuring these photos and many more.

The Ukita family (Tokyo, Japan):

The Natomo family (Kouakourou, Mali; one husband, two wives, two households).  The Natomo’s are grain traders and own a mango orchard:

Nalim and Namgay, subsistence farmers (Shingkhey, Bhutan):

The Castillo Balderas family (Guadalajara, Mexico):

The Lagavale family (Poutasi Village, Western Samoa):

The Skeen family (Texas, United States):

There are more photographs, from Ma Hongjie and Huang Qingjun, in the slide show, but there are no details as to the location of the families, so we didn’t include them here.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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