The End of Doom

3 Statistics That Will Make You Smarter and Happier

If you read Reason you already know these three pieces of good news about global trends.


Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has asked one of my favorite data-slingers Max Roser share three facts about global trends that everyone should know. Roser is the proprietor of the fantastic data aggregation website OurWorldInData. If you have been reading Reason, you already know these facts about the positive global trends for humanity. The amazing thing is how bleak many people believe the future for humanity is. This is largely because, as Roser notes, "One key reason why we struggle to see progress in the world today is that we do not know how very bad the past was."

Here are the three facts about global trennds did Roser choose to highlight for Gates:

Fact #1: Since 1960, child deaths have plummeted from 20 million a year to 6 million a year.

Roser adds that just because the world is in a much better place now does not mean that we can sit back and relax. While the number of child deaths is falling; there were 3.5-times as many child deaths 50 years ago. But child deaths are still extremely common; 11 children are dying every minute.

Fact #2: Since 1960, the fertility rate has fallen by half.

Roser notes, that "improvements in conditions for women and the health of children have driven a rapid reduction in fertility rates across the world. In fact, the global fertility rate has halved in the last 50 years, from more than 5 children per woman to fewer than 2.5 children. The world population growth rate has also halved in the last 50 years and is just above 1 percent. That trend suggests that rapid population growth is coming to an end in this century.

Fact #3: 137,000 people escaped extreme poverty every day between 1990 and 2015.

Roser points out that "in 1990, 1.86 billion people were living on less than 1.90 international-dollar per day—more than every third person in the world. Twenty-five years later, the number of people living in extreme poverty has more than halved to 706 million, every tenth person.

Of course, readers of Reason know that the rates of child mortality, total fertility, and absolute poverty have all been falling for decades.

Johan Norberg

For more fact-filled information on global trends, you should also check out the superb site Human Progress.

Finally, I will also immodestly mention that all of that data on global trends and much more is available in my book The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century.

Check out my 11-minute talk on "The Amazing and Abundant Future" at the Voice & Exit conference.