YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=oUhA6fjgnLY
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Duration:03:45
Uploaded:2013-12-31
Last sync:2019-06-13 05:50
In which John Green shares some encouraging trends and statistics about the current state of humans in the world. Poverty and infant mortality are decreasing. Fewer people are dying of malaria. The world's poorest areas are growing faster than the rest of the world. More people (especially girls) have educational opportunities. The Internet is getting faster. Cancer mortality is decreasing. And the Colts are in the NFL playoffs. In short, there are many reasons to be hopeful that 2014 might be the best year on record for humans, even if much of this growth is not (currently) sustainable.

Most of the statistics in this video came from the UN: http://unstats.un.org/UNSD/Demographic/sconcerns/income/default.htm
Or from Human Progress: http://humanprogress.org/
Or from the wikipedia article about motor vehicle deaths: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_motor_vehicle_deaths_in_U.S._by_year
Good morning Hank it's Tuesday! So amid all the misery of human life, it's easy to forget that there is much worth celebrating. And as we begin a new year, I thought it would be nice to start it off with some good news. Like for instance, divorce rates in the U.S. have gone down every year since 2006 and are currently at their lowest level since 1970.

Then there's pregnancy, which from what I can gather is not fun. The global rate of unintended pregnancy has declined dramatically since 1995, when 69 out of 1000 women had unintended pregnancies. In 2008, it was 55 in 1000 women, which is good news because unintended pregnancies can have all kinds of health consequences for infants and for mothers, including increased infant mortality.

Which reminds me that infant mortality is at an all-time low. Worldwide it has dropped from 46 deaths per 1000 births to 35 just in the last 8 years. Now of course you're worried that we're gonna have like 70 gajillion humans on earth, but in fact when infant mortality declines, families have fewer children.

So decreasing infant mortality actually helps the overall population of humans stabilize. Which is good because there are already too many of you driving up the price of the playoff tickets for my hometown Indianapolis Colts! Going to the playoffs! More good news!

But in more important good news, absolute poverty is down worldwide. In fact, the United Nations estimates that poverty has decreased more in the last 50 years than it did in the previous 500. So much for the idea that colonization is good for the colonized.

Adjusted for inflation, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day has decreased from 43 percent in 1990 to 20 percent today. Now, most of that is due to gains in China and India and Brazil. However, Sub-Saharan Africa, long the world's poorest region, has been growing much faster than the world economy for the past decade.

Now, inequality of wealth remains a huge problem around the world, but in the vast majority of countries, the poor are becoming less poor.

Also, there is good news for those of us in the developed world! In the United States cancer mortality rates have dropped by 20 percent in the last 25 years. Why? Well, mostly because people quit smoking, or- or died from smoking. But also we have better treatments and screenings for colon and breast cancers and a bunch of others.

Then there's the Internet, which is reaching more people at higher speeds. In the U.S., Internet speeds were up 27 percent in 2013 over 2012. In fact, they were up all around the world! From Guatemala, 75 percent increase, to Thailand, 32 percent. So it's easier than ever for people to stay in touch and to collaborate.

It's also easier than ever to visit one another! While being herded like cattle into a steel cylinder and rocketed through the air remains one of the least pleasant experiences that a human being can have, airfares have dropped by almost 50 percent since 1985. You can also fly to more places than ever before and it's never been safer.

Speaking of safe traveling, let's talk about cars. For every 100 million miles driven in the U.S. in 2011, there was 1.1 vehicular fatality. In 1980, that number was 3.5. If you take 1980 as your baseline, safer cars and safer drivers saved 60,000 American lives in 2013. That's pretty great!

Also, things are getting better for non-human animals, well, at least the ones that we've domesticated. Back in the 1990's, 17 million cats and dogs were euthanized per year in the U.S. Now, that number is closer to 5 million.

What else? Well, the fight against malaria is working, with mortality rates down nearly 50 percent in the last 10 years.

More girls are attending school around the world, and the literacy rate for women in their 20's has risen from 79 percent in 1990 to 87 percent today.

And in almost every country on Earth you are more likely to live to be old than you were 10 years ago, you are less likely to be hungry, and you are likely better connected to those you love.

Hank, 10 years ago we couldn't have had this conversation because there was no YouTube. The Nerdfighter community couldn't have raised more than three-quarters of a million dollars for charity because there was no Nerdfighter community. Now, of course this progress is tenuous, and much of it is unsustainable with current technology but it's also real and it's worth celebrating. So here's to a new year, Hank. May it really and truly be the best one yet. Happy New Year!

*pops party poppers*

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.