- Oli Scarff / Staff / Getty Images
If you’re feeling down about 2016, maybe a look at the data can help.
Over at the site Our World in Data, economist Max Roser has been putting together a compendium of charts and briefs that reveal the state of our world.
Roser’s data tell an uplifting story. The world is the safest, richest, most connected, and most highly-educated it’s ever been.
Here are some of the most uplifting charts to carry your spirits into the new year.
Life expectancy is one of the most visible signs of humanity’s progress. Thanks largely to safer childbirth practices, the average age in many countries has shot up from 40 years in 1838 to over 80 years today.
Child mortality rates have fallen considerably within the last 150 years, particularly as doctors improved their delivery procedures and vaccines began limiting the risk of fatal disease.
The world is collectively getting richer. While roughly 1.3 billion people still live in extreme poverty, quality of life is rising for billions more.
Adjusting for inflation across the last two centuries puts the improvements in even greater relief. Decade over decade, people are escaping a life of poverty.
Fortunately, these gains in quality of life also coincide with fewer working hours. In the late 19th century, Europeans worked nearly twice as long as they do today.
Around the world, societies are becoming more democratic and less authoritarian. Colonialism died out in the early 1990s.
Though there are still autocracies, democracies are becoming the norm. More than half of the world lives in a democracy.
The trend toward democracy is mirrored in the decline of war-related deaths. As cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has noted, global violence has been on the decline for centuries.
- Max Roser/Our World in Data