If you follow the news, you've probably noticed that there's a lot of bad stuff happening in the world: poverty, terrorism, refugees fleeing violence and economic despair in their home countries.
But here's something that doesn't often make the headlines (probably because it doesn't attract as many clicks, viewers, or subscribers): Life is actually getting better for many of Earth's 7.4 billion inhabitants.
We're witnessing a period of historic decline in poverty, disease, and illiteracy, thanks, in part, to aid organizations like Unicef and Doctors Without Borders. Compared with 50, 25, or even 15 years ago, many people worldwide are living longer, better, safer lives. The proof is on these pages. Ready for some good news? Read on!
[up arrow] MORE INFANTS ARE SURVIVING Number of deaths worldwide before age 1 per every 1,000 live births 1960 122 2015 32 SOURCE: WORLD BANK [up arrow] GLOBAL LITERACY IS ON THE RISE Percentage of the world population, ages 15 and older, that is able to read 1960 76% 2015 85% SOURCE: WORLD BANK [down arrow] POLIO CASES ARE WAY DOWN Number of cases of polio reported worldwide 1988 350,000 2015 74 SOURCE: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION Note: Table made from pie chart. 21 PERCENT
Percentage decrease in the number of undernourished people in developing countries from 1990-92 (991 million) to 2014-16 (780 million)
SOURCE: FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO) OF THE UNITED NATIONS
THE OZONE LAYER IS ON THE MEND
The hole in the ozone layer has shrunk by more than 2.5 million square miles since 1985. That's when scientists published an important study showing that certain commercial chemical compounds harm the atmosphere. Their production ended in the 1990s, allowing the ozone layer to heal--and to continue to protect Earth's surface from the sun's powerful rays.