Life expectancy

How Much Better Off Is the World Since You Were Born?

Go find out at "Your Life In Numbers" over at the Human Progress program at the Cato Institute

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NumbersFlyntDreamstime
Flynt/Dreamstime

The folks over at the invaluable Human Progress program at the Cato Insitute have created a nifty new web feature that enables you to figure out how trends in life expectancy, education, food supplies, income, infant mortality, and even democracy have evolved in your country since you were born (assuming you born after 1960 that is). In its introduction, the feature notes that during the last half century:

  • In 1966, average life expectancy was only 56 years. Today it's 72. That's an increase of 29 percent.

  • Out of every 1,000 infants born, 113 died before their first birthday. Today, only 32 die. That's a reduction of 72 percent.

  • Median income per person rose from around $6,000 to around $16,000, or by 167 percent – and that's adjusted for inflation and purchasing power.

  • The food supply rose from about 2,300 calories per person per day to over 2,800 calories, an increase of 22 percent, thus reducing hunger.

  • The length of schooling that a person could typically expect to receive was 3.9 years. Today, it's 8.4 years – a 115 percent increase.

  • The world has become less authoritarian, with the level of democracy rising from -0.97 to 4.23 on a scale from -10 to 10. That's an improvement of 536 percent.

All you have to do is supply the name of your country and the year you were born and the Your Life In Numbers will generate an easy-to-read chart showing how things have changed since you first appeared on this earth. For example, if you were born in the U.S. in 1960:

USNumbers1960

In 1996:

USNumbers1996
Your Life In Numbers

The site also allows you to compare the changes in your country with those in another country. For example, compare the U.S. to Denmark.

USDenmarkNumbers
Your Life In Numbers

So click on over and see how much better (or worse) your prospects are compared to when you were born.