human progress, world in data, poverty rate

Life has really changed over the past 200 years.

It’s unfortunate that humans are wired to notice everything bad going on in the world and to ignore the things that are going right. Our collective negativity bias was illustrated in a 2016 survey that asked people in 17 countries “Do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?”

Fifty‐eight percent of respondents thought that the world is getting worse, and 30% said that it is doing neither. Only 11% thought that things are getting better.

However, there is a wealth of data to support the idea that the world is only improving when it comes to the hallmarks of human progress: education, freedom, poverty and health.

In a recent interview with Upworthy, Chelsea Follett, the managing editor at Human Progress, explained why humans have a bias toward negativity, and the media isn’t doing us any favors.


"Historically, obviously our ancestors in a primitive environment who overreacted to danger were more likely to survive than those who underreacted," Follett told Upworthy. "But there is a point where unwarranted panic can actually be detrimental to your survival if you abandon policies or institutions that are actually working, or that have allowed you to make tremendous progress in the past.

"There's also the nature of the media," she added. "Obviously sudden, noteworthy and rare events are the ones that make headlines, whereas long-term slow, steady, incremental progress is just not as interesting."

Our World in Data, an organization that performs "research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems" has created a revealing document that shows just how far humanity has come over the past 200 years. The graphs show how life has changed for a random sampling of 100 people over the past two centuries.

The graph covers six topics that are cornerstones of human progress: poverty, basic education, literacy, democracy, vaccination and child mortality.

Poverty

In 1820, 84 out of 100 people lived in extreme poverty, and over 200 years that number has dropped more than nine times to just 9 in 100. “The headline could be ‘The number of people in extreme poverty fell by 130,000 since yesterday’ and they wouldn’t have this headline once, but every single day since 1990, since, on average, there were 130,000 people fewer in extreme poverty every day,” Our World in Data wrote.

via Our World in Data

Basic Education

Two hundred years ago, 83 out of 100 people had no education at all. That number has been reduced to just 14 over the past 200 years.

Our World In Data says that number is only going to get better. “Focusing on the educational breakdown the projection suggests that by 2100, there will be almost no one without formal education and there will be more than 7 billion minds who will have received at least secondary education,” Our World in Data said.

via Our World in Data

Literacy

In 1820, only 12 people out of 100 could read. In 2019, that number has risen more than seven times to 86. These numbers will continue to rise because a large portion of the world’s illiterate population is older.

via Our World in Data

Democracy

Only 1 out of 100 people lived in a democracy back in 1820. Now, 56 out of 100 people live in a country where they can select their elected officials. This was a big change that came after World War II.

“In the second half of the 20th century, the world has changed significantly: Colonial empires ended, and more and more countries turned democratic,” Our World in Data wrote. “The share of the world population living in democracies increased continuously–particularly important was the breakdown of the Soviet Union which allowed more countries to democratize.”

via Our World in Data

Vaccination

Over the past 60 years, the number of people out of 100 that would have been vaccinated against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus has risen from 0 to 86.

via Our World in Data

Child Mortality

Can you imagine living at a time when almost half of all children born never lived to kindergarten age? “In 1800 the health conditions were such that around 43% of the world’s newborns died before their 5th birthday,” Our World In Data wrote. “In 2017 child mortality was down to 3.9% – 10-fold lower than 2 centuries ago.”

via FIRST

A FIRST mentor encourages a student.

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There’s no shortage of companies, governments and organizations around the world searching for talented workers with a deep knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The demand is providing a clear pathway to rewarding, world-changing and well-paying STEM careers for many young people.

However, some students are missing these incredible opportunities because they haven’t envisioned themselves in STEM or encountered any mentors to show them a pathway for success.

FIRST is a global nonprofit that provides robotics-based programs and mentorship from adult volunteers such as educators and STEM professionals to students ages 4 to 18. FIRST is a mission-based robotics community that aims to get kids excited about STEM and allows them to build these talents, along with critical life skills such as communication and leadership, through team-based robotics competitions.

FIRST has a proven impact in guiding young people into STEM careers, all while having fun and making useful connections.

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Harry Styles in 2013.

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Between songs at his concert at Emirates Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Styles stopped the show to find someone in the audience. It was no easy task, there were 74,000 people at the show.

"I'm going to ask a favor from you because I'd like to try and find someone in the audience," he said, according to CBS News. It was his “first-ever schoolteacher” Ann Vernon. The gig was a homecoming for Styles, who grew up in nearby Cheshire, and he was told that some of his former schoolteachers may be in attendance.

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Dad knows lots of things … just not who this Taylor Swift guy is.

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Usually in a father’s humiliation tool belt is the infamous dad joke. These corny puns have been around since 2003, and let’s face it, they’ll never leave. Of course, no dad needs one to make your eyes roll. They can do that most of the time simply by being themselves.

For his well-known #Hashtags segment, Jimmy Fallon asked his “Tonight Show” audience to share “funny, weird, or embarrassing” stories about their dads. Fallon, a father himself, is no stranger to the cringeworthy power of a dad joke. In a 2020 interview with TODAY, Fallon admitted, “I’m starting to get the eye rolls now where Daddy’s not the funniest person in the world.”

Don’t worry Fallon! Clearly you’re not alone, because people replied with some truly hilarious comments. Dads might be silly, but we’ll gladly put up with it for the love they give us.

Enjoy 20 of the very best #DadStories:

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A picture of Anna Brose's beloved Gus.

Many of us know Chewy as the online marketplace for all things pet goods. What you might not know is the extra care that the company provides to pet owners after the loss of a beloved fur baby. That is, until one woman’s story went viral on Twitter.

Anna Brose (@alcesanna) had to say goodbye to her sweet dog named Gus. To make an already tragic event worse, she had an unopened bag of dog food purchased from Chewy that would now go unused. Brose was so surprised by the company’s compassion and generosity that she felt compelled to share her experience online.

Her tweet read:

“I contacted @Chewy last week to see if I could return an unopened bag of my dog’s food after he died. They 1) gave me a full refund, 2) told me to donate the food to the shelter, and 3) had flowers delivered today with the gift note signed by the person I talked to??”



That's right. A full refund, plus a heartfelt note and flowers. NBD.

Much to Brose’s surprise, she was not the only one on the receiving end of such kindness.

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