If you’re feeling low about the state of the world, consider this: In the long arc of human history, 2019 has been the best year ever.
As Nicholas Kristof from The New York Times highlights, since modern humans emerged about 200,000 years ago, 2019 was probably the year in which children were least likely to die, adults were least likely to be illiterate and people were least likely to suffer excruciating maladies.
Diseases like polio, leprosy, river blindness and elephantiasis are on the decline, and global efforts have turned the tide on AIDS. A half-century ago, a majority of the world’s people had always been illiterate; now we are approaching 90 percent adult literacy.
Every single day in recent years, another 325,000 people got their first access to electricity. Each day, more than 200,000 got piped water for the first time. And some 650,000 went online for the first time, every single day.
There have also been particularly large gains in girls’ education — and few forces change the world so much as education and the empowerment of women.
So next time you’re feeling down about how things are unraveling on the international arena, remind yourself about these good trends, typically overshadowed by negative headlines.