Things Are Better Now Than They've Ever Been. Here's Why.
I was starting to think about Father's Day recently and mentally noted that meat is relatively inexpensive and plentiful these days. That may not sound like a profound statement, and your definition of inexpensive may radically differ from mine. But if you think about it, that couldn’t be said during World War II. Heck, it couldn’t have been said as easily as when we were kids.
What does that have to do with the state of the world and the humans who occupy it? If you listen to the news, you might very well think the state of the nation is terrible. Racial tensions appear to be at an all-time high. Several U.S. cities are experiencing a housing crisis. Homelessness appears to be on the rise, the economy is stalled, divisions among political factions are growing ever deeper, crime is everywhere. Our troops are deployed around the world with no end in sight, terrorism is increasing, and America's enemies are rattling their sabers more than ever.
The thing is, this is the greatest time to be alive in human history. The reasons for optimism are everywhere. People are living longer, have access to more information, technology, nourishment, and economic advancement than at any time in human history. The bottom line is that our problems, while serious, are solvable. They're not an indication of fundamental cracks in our society. We are growing, changing, evolving, and rising to challenges -- in ways that are unprecedented throughout history.
Life expectancy is better than ever in human history
The average life expectancy at birth worldwide is 68.5 years for men and 73.5 years for women. In the developed world -- the U.S., Europe, Japan, etc. -- the life expectancy is even higher. We're not just living longer, either. The quality of life as we age is also increasing. The average life expectancy for Americans who reach 65 years old is another 19+ years, and the average life expectancy for Americans who reach 75 is another 12+ years! Fewer than 10 percent of Americans over 65 live below the poverty line, which is 50 percent lower than the rate of all Americans. These numbers all exploded in the 20th Century, when medical science progressed enough to eliminate or greatly reduce many diseases and ailments. It's only going to get better from here.
Poverty is decreasing worldwide
Much of the reason for the increase in life expectancy is that fewer people are living in crushing poverty, which makes people more vulnerable. As economic freedom is increasing globally, the rate of people living in extreme poverty has dropped from 43 percent in the early '80s to 9.6 percent in 2015.
In the U.S., home ownership skyrocketed over the past 100 years as more people were able to gain access to wealth. From 1940 to 2000, the rate of home ownership increased from 43.6 percent to 66.2 percent.