From mass shootings to terrorist attacks, political incompetence to racial unrest, there has been no shortage of bad news stories in 2018. Death, destruction, and divisiveness tend to dominate the news cycle leading us to despair over the direction our world is headed.
But there were also many positive events and trends from the past that you might have overlooked. Here are five you should know about.
For the first time since agriculture-based civilization began 10,000 years ago, the majority of humankind is no longer poor or vulnerable to falling into poverty. By our calculations, as of this month, just over 50 percent of the world’s population, or some 3.8 billion people, live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered “middle class” or “rich.”
In a sign of great progress, over 120 million people worldwide gained access to electricity in 2017. This means that for the first time ever, the total number of people without access fell below 1 billion according to new data from World Energy Outlook 2018.
First, the share of black men in poverty has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18% today. Second, and more importantly, the share of black men in the middle or upper class — as measured by their family income — has risen from 38% in 1960 to 57% today. In other words, about one-in-two black men in America have reached the middle class or higher.
In spite of widespread concerns across the globe about the future of democracy, public support for it remains strong, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year in 38 countries. And by one measure, the number of democratic nations around the world is at a postwar high.
Survey across 15 countries finds 90 percent of teenagers in Kenya, Mexico, China and Nigeria hopeful for the future – in stark contrast with those in developed nations.
Image source: pxhere