7 graphs that show we’re better off

As usual, the news is all doom and gloom. More terrorist attacks in France and police shootings in the United States. A failed military coup in Turkey empowers a tyrant. Meanwhile, household income in Australia is allegedly stagnant.

Despite all this bad news, in the history of humankind we are living extraordinarily successful lives.

It is important to sometimes sit back, and see the sunshine. Here are seven graphs from HumanProgress.org that show how far humanity has come.

1. Poverty is being alleviated

Poverty has rapidly declined over the past thirty years, in China alone 680 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the last 30 years, reducing the number of people living on $1.25 a day from 28 per cent in 1980 to less than 0.5 per cent today:

graph-poverty

 2. We are living much longer

Thomas Hobbes famously wrote in Leviathan in 1651 that life is “nasty, brutish, and short”. He wasn’t wrong, in 1820 global life expectancy at birth was just 26. It is now up to 71, and has substantially improved across both the west and the rest.

graph-life

3. The world is more peaceful

Despite ongoing threats, the world is, by historic standards, quite peaceful. The number of people dying in war is on the slide:

graph-war

4. Diets have improved

The world’s population increased by 143 percent over the past 55 years, however price of food has gone down by 22 percent. This has meant a big improvement in dietary supply adequacy:

graph-diet

 

5. Girls are better educated

Education is key to opportunity, which is why it is exciting to see the gender divide in education is disappearing. This graph shows how young girls are now as literate as young boys.

graph-women-educated

6. We’re happier too

Turn that frown upside down, despite talk of depression and anxiety, we’ve actually been getting happier:

graph-happy

7. Technology is improving our lives

The final one is extraordinary if nothing else for its speed. Almost nobody had access to the wealth of information and the power of communication provided by the internet in 1990. In just 25 years billions of people are now connected. Meanwhile, private mobile networks are increasing access across sub-Saharan Africa, further expanding internet access:

graph-internet

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