After wondering about the issue for 5 years, yesterday I came across an apparently canonical statement about how many humans are still alive in The Walking Dead universe. The promotional blurb for the tenth issue of the comic book1 reads as follows:
After the ordeal Rick has endured last issue, he sets out to find safer shelter. More is learned about the zombies that now out-number us 5000 to 1, but when it comes to some things, it's better not to know. Rick begins to wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel his life has become. Even if there is, how can he ever expect to make it there?
I am a bit surprised that I didn't notice this statement before, because I have been reading the comics religiously since just before the show began, and I have kept up with them ever since.
I'm also surprised that the situation is so dire at such an early stage. A zombie-to-human ratio of 5,000:1 means that there are only 1,400,000 people still alive worldwide, as compared to 6,998,600,000 zombies. In the United States, the figures are even more alarming: Only *60,000 people are left to fight against 299,940,000 zombies.
My question is:
Is the 5,000:1 ratio mentioned in the comics or on the show?
1For those who are curious about how this statement relates to the timelines of the comics and the show, In the tenth issue of The Walking Dead, Carl has just been shot by Otis, and the group is led to Herschel's farm for the first time.
Comic Book Timeline:
This issue takes place in the winter, several months after Rick wakes up in the hospital, and shortly after the incident at Wiltshire Estates. Tyreese, his daughter, and her boyfriend have just joined Rick's group.
Television Series Timeline:
This corresponds to the second episode of season two, which takes place about a week after Rick wakes up in the hospital.