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.

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  1. I see no mention of “debt per-capita”

      1. You know this is why that douche-canoe on TED Talks concluded that the way to eliminate poverty around the globe was for America to print money and drop it on pallets from C5 Galaxies?

  2. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

    ——————>>> http://www.highpay90.com

  3. The world is better off than when I was born.

    The US is less free than when I was born.

    The former is not evidence of a libertarian moment (I know, this wasn’t asserted in the article, but its a common trope here – “looky, that thing that has nothing to do with the size and scope of government has improved, so we’re in a libertarian moment”.)

    The latter is evidence that there is no libertarian moment, nor is one on the horizon.

    [Unrelated rant over]

    That is a pretty cool app Cato put together.

    1. I am not sure you are correct RC. That is my perception as well but some short stints on history tell a different story. I was young and clueless about a lot of things that were going on around me. I think freedom in this country has stayed more or less flat since I was a kid. Freer in some ways, less so in others. There was always a tyranny of the majority it was just about different things. Also, we should distinguish between ways we are not free in principle (more laws and regs) and practical freedom – how many of those are enforced against the average person.

      Go back further and things look even darker. W. Wilson, FDR, Lincoln, Hamilton…they all committed egregious crimes against liberty. Of course, with fewer people it was easier to wander off into the middle of nowhere and live as you pleased.

      In my teenage years I could never have said half of the things I say on a daily basis here on H&R without paying a heavy price.

      Also, this is a very difficult thing to measure.

      1. I think freedom in this country has stayed more or less flat since I was a kid. Freer in some ways, less so in others.

        There are a few metrics I look at – how much of the economy is consumed by the government (increasing, if you include debt), how much and to what degree is the economy controlled by government (increasing – my proxy is the code of federal regulations), and how much and to what degree the culture is controlled by government (also increasing).

        Libertarianism is a philosophy about the size and scope of government. I don’t see how you can be more free under a government that is metastasizing in almost every way. I think its a fallacy to say that we are now free to own smartphones and stream movies, so the country is more free. The measure of whether the country is more free is how much of it doesn’t answer to the government, and that has been a declining metric.

        1. There are a few metrics I look at – how much of the economy is consumed by the government (increasing, if you include debt), how much and to what degree is the economy controlled by government (increasing – my proxy is the code of federal regulations), and how much and to what degree the culture is controlled by government (also increasing).

          I like those.

        2. now free to own smartphones and stream movies,

          Hillary has a team working on that.

        3. I have a skewed view I suppose. I was lucky enough to be in a position where I could arrange my life, out of wisdom and instinct, so that people cant fuck with me, and that includes the govt. Most people barely know I exist and I have taken care that aside from a once per year income tax form, government doesnt know I exist either.

          My comment probably applies only to my personal life. You are correct, the government is off the leash and ultimately that means less freedom, even if it hasn’t yet touched me personally. Eventually it will.

          *I knew a fellow who was in the Wehrmacht, or so he claims. He totally wasn’t a Nazi, or so he claims. He claimed the Nazis were never as bad as the progressives here. If you weren’t a member of the wrong kind and you didn’t fuck with the Nazis, they left you alone. The proggies here won’t leave anyone alone. They just keep pushing and pushing everyone and everything.

      2. I’m on your side on this. Government has more overt power with all those crazy regs, but less invisible power now that so many cop crimes are caught and reported. “What is seen, and what is unseen.”

        News sucked for a long time, since there were only three networks and they all got their news from government-controlled sources. Remember the Pentagon Papers? Nowadays stuff like that leaks every day. he government is still pissed, but they don’t have nearly the control they used to have.

        Blacks and gays especially are far better off, even if not as bigot-free as government should be.

        Far more choice in food and entertainment. The Hays code vanished, porn is legal, in fact so legal that Playboy decided to forgo nudity because it’s everywhere. Post office can’t refuse to mail Lady Chatterley’s Lover, discussing birth control is no longer a federal crime. Government can no longer tap phone lines at will. Offline remarks like Trump’s recent ones are susceptible to being outed.

        The rich and powerful have lost a lot of power compared to everybody else and have far more to lose from ubiquitous cameras than anybody else.

        Looking back 100 years, how many people would actually want to live then, even as the richest most powerful person one earth? Only the power mad control freaks. The poorest US person has far better medical care and life choices than Rockefeller or any President or king.

        1. All valid, but much of it is not “freedom” as I think its defined for libertarian purposes.

          A person who is free to choose from three restaurants is just as free as one who has dozens of choices.

          And, if you have the freedom to pick any of the the three restaurants where you live, you are more free than someone living where there has dozens of restaurants, but is prohibited by law from going into one of them.

          I disagree that government has less invisible power now. It has more overt power, and more invisible power as well. That invisible power is the penumbra of the visible power, and it is no more restrained now than it ever was.

    1. Why doesn’t Bailey do lynx? I wish he would. I bet they would be kind of sciency.

      1. Nerds are exempt. Even the Army has special ranks for techs as opposed to yer typical grunts.

  4. The world is better off than when i was born because i am now in the world. Quod erat motherfucking demonstrandum, bitches.

  5. Nice try, Reason, but we all know capitalism is destroying the planet.

  6. That I get to live longer in an over taxed, obese populated, less free open air prison is hardly something to get excited about. Unless you live in WA or OR where you at least catch a buzz to numb the fact that you live in an over taxed, obese populated, open air prison.

    1. Fuck you Troy…dissin’ Colorado like that!

  7. US vs Venezuela was a fun comparison.

    1. American socialist hardest hit.

      1. Just a flesh wound.

        1. /monty python/ (in case it wasn’t obvious)

          1. You should be slapped for providing that clarification.

            1. *hands CB a fish*

    2. We weill get an even closer look when Hillary is elected. She seems to like the Chavez playbook.

  8. No arguing with any of this, but I do wonder if I would have been much less happy if I lived in the past, ignorant of what would be available in the future? People seem to adapt to their current surroundings remarkably well.

  9. Support for Firefox on Red Hat is lacking

    1. Why don’t you just hack up a fix, Zero Cool?

    2. I’m not shocked, it’s usually used headless on servers. Does anybody actually run Red Hat on workstations anymore?

  10. Go tell that to a Venezuelan.

    Meanwhile, back on the ranch…

    But the larger point is that each cycle since the 1980s has generated net new jobs, albeit at a steadily declining rate. The truth of the matter is that we have now reached the point where no new payroll jobs have appeared for 77 months—which is to say, over the entire span of a historically ordinary peak-to-peak business cycle. …
    During 2013 the private business sector—which once upon a time was thought of as the foundation of growth and wealth in the US economy—utilized 194 billion labor hours. What is salient about that fact is that it is the same number of labor hours as were utilized by the private business sector way back in the days of Bill Clinton’s blue dress period—that is, 1998.

    The federal budget has had a clean double from 1998 to 2013. Any way the numbers are massaged.

    On the same number of labor hours, double the federal budget.

    Trump who.

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

    NOT FOR STRAIGHT WHITE MEN!

  12. The world has become less authoritarian, with the level of democracy rising…

    Democracy is not the antithesis of authoritarianism.

  13. 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.

    I’m going to have to take an hour and see how they measured this. For instance, has Venezuela moved to the ‘positive’ column on Democracy?

      1. Even though they’re totally democratic? Hunnert percent?

  14. Would be nice if they included crime statistics (likelihood of being a victim) as well as incarceration rates.

  15. …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.

    Uh… What?

    1. This is a science thread! Take your grammar gripes elsewhere!

      1. I am authentically curious where they get their percentages on this one. I’d have said that -0.97 to 4.23 was either infinite percent (using a base of 0) or 58% (using a base of -10). I can’t figure out where 536 percent comes from.

        Here’s some more data looking over the past 50 years…

        South Africa: 4 to 9 is 33%
        Poland: -7 to 10 is 425%

        I am baffled.

  16. “and the year you were born ” Thanks an effing lot for making me feel old – guess I was born before statistics were invented. Even so Democracy has increased by 0%.

  17. Unfortunately, Reason’s mathematics skills have not kept pace with global prosperity.

    “Median income per person” doesn’t make sense. Mean income is total global income divided by total global population (that’s what the numbers quoted appear to be). Median income per family unit is the amount of money such that half the families have less and half have more, which is more meaningful for judging typical prosperity than mean income since much of the average is earned by a few very high-income families. A strict median income per person will be near zero, since only about half the world has paid income, the rest are children, retired, homemakers and unemployed.

    It doesn’t make sense to compute percentage increases on a number that can take on negative values. The 536% improvement in democracy is computed by taking the current value (4.23) minus the old value (-0.97), then dividing by the old value and reversing the sign. A meaningful percentage increase would be to divide the difference by the old value minus the minimum value (9.93) to get a more reasonable 52% improvement.

    1. The 536% improvement in democracy is computed by taking the current value (4.23) minus the old value (-0.97), then dividing by the old value and reversing the sign.

      Aha! Mystery solved.

      Now please explain:

      South Africa: 4 to 9 is 33%
      Poland: -7 to 10 is 425%

      Your algorithm doesn’t work for those.

      1. Agreed that I can’t explain the South Africa and Poland numbers.

  18. What you say is all well but not necessarily good. Prior to 1966 a child could run and gun from daylight to dark without parents going to jail. One child in an entire school in Houston may have ADD. When grow up never knew of a neighbor or family member with cancer or dementia. Gasoline was 18 cents a gallon. A nice 3 bed 2 bath house in a well kept neighborhood was $20,000. A coke was 15 cents for a quart bottle at the local 7-11. Neighbors used to sit outside and talk to each other on the weeks. So what I am saying is quality of life is better than longevity. And most important of all is that a Trump or Hillary would have actually been looked down upon instead of running for President.

    1. Harry Truman was our president
      A coke and burger cost you thirty cents
      I was still in love with Mavis Brown
      On the night Hank Williams came to town

  19. While coming to education, the technology has brought many advantages to students and as well as teachers. showbox For example, students can do their homework or assignment with ease and can complete it faster by using the Internet.

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