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Is life better than we think?


Last updated 8/6/2021 at 1:29pm

Supervisor Jim Desmond

5th District

Watching the news or reading the headlines, one might think that life is pretty bleak. I often use the comparison that watching the news is like eating junk food. It might be fun while you’re doing it, but you’ll feel sick after it’s over. There’s a reason for the old news cliché, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Many studies back this up, with bad news being more memorable than good news. But is the coverage warranted? Is life as a whole getting better or worse?

From 1990 to 2015, almost 130,000 people rose out of poverty every single day and extreme poverty has been reduced by 80% since 1990. There are several reasons for this, but one of the major factors is the incredible growth in technology. Over 4.6 billion people have access to internet worldwide, which allows people who may have never been able to before, to have access to education.

In the 1850’s, literacy rates were around 10% worldwide. As of 2019, for people over the age of 15, that number has risen to over 86%!

From 1960 to 2011, global life expectancy rose from 52 years to nearly 70 years. During that same time, the infant mortality rate decreased by 66%. That’s an incredible feat.

A recent survey by the Center for Disease control indicated that 63% of people between the ages of 18-24 are suffering from anxiety or depression. That’s a heartbreaking number. Are there still major issues that we must deal with? Absolutely. We see it every day from conflicts in the Middle East to rising political tensions. But there has also been tremendous progress made over the decades.

We are blessed to live in a country that has led the way not only for Americans, but those around the world. Capitalism, coupled with technological innovation, has played a major role in lifting people out of poverty. So, the next time you read a negative headline, or feel a sense of doom fall upon you by world events, make sure you remember, we’ve come a long way and there’s never been a better time to be on this planet!


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