Are We Better Off Today Than we Have Been in the Past?
I subscribe to a newsletter by Mike Gasior and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in how political and social environments affect the economic climate. Mike is an insightful guy and I’ve been reading him for a while. You can read more about his work at his website at Mike Gasior.
Recently with all the political rhetoric that we’ve been bombarded with from the Democrats and Republicans both about how bad off we are right now I thought that Mike had some interesting statistical insights below. I don’t mean to sound Polyanish on the problems facing the world today but in a lot of ways we may be better off than we think.
–In 1900 world life expectancy was 30 years old. Today it is 67 years.
–In 1970, 35% of the people living in developing countries were starving. By 1996 that number had shrunk to 18% and the United Nations forecasts that the figure will fall to 12% by the year 2010.
–Also according the United Nations, we have reduced global poverty more in the last 50 years than in the previous 500 years.
–Life expectancy in the U.S. has increased significantly in all socio-economic categories, with black men making the largest gain from 60 years old in 1970 to 68.2 years old in 2000.
–Despite all the publicity about the failure of public education in the U.S., Americans have never been better educated. In 1960 only 7.7% of the population held college degrees. Today, 25% of the populations over 25 years old have earned their degree.
–Partially due to more women entering the workforce, real household incomes rose dramatically between 1980 and 2000. Median income for white families rose 19% during that period, and 39% for black families.
–Even with all the class warfare rhetoric in this years campaign, the fact is that 12.1% of American families are below the poverty line. In 1960 that number was 22.2%.
–Figures released by the FBI show the murder rate in the U.S. at 5.5 homicides per 100,000, down from a rate of 10.2 in 1980, almost a 50% decline in less than 25 years.
–Rates of teen suicide, teen pregnancy and youth violence have all shown steady decline during the past decade.
Overall, people are living longer, are safer, have more money to spend and having more fun then ever before.
So turn off the news and the politicians and go enjoy yourself. Life has never been better. Personally I feel that technological advances have had a lot to do with improving our lot in life.