Posted by: Paul Chiariello | March 18, 2011

The Good Ol’ Days?: Stats on Global Trends in Health, Education, Etc

Confucius about 2500 years ago lamented that the times they were a changing and that society had to get its act together and use the past as a model and ideal to return to.

Reference to the ‘Golden Age’ has been a mobilizing fiction probably well before Confucius and most certainly is today too.

But is it founded in anything?

Of course the world now is far from perfect – no one claims it is or was – but by looking at stats on long term trends in health, education, politics, social norms, etc that directly or indirectly reflect quality of life I hope it becomes obvious there is no idealized past which promises any glimmer of hope as much as the present.


Life Expectancy and Wealth

Must, must watch video!   Global Trends over 200 years.


Infant Mortality Stats

World infant mortality rate declined from 126 in 1960 to 57 in 2001.



File:Democracy claims 2.PNG

Countries claiming to be democracies in 2008

File:Number of nations 1800-2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale.png

Number of nations 1800-2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale.


Literacy Rates


Gap Minder website graph on Literacy Rates over last 35 years globally.


Other Links:

All countries have women suffrage (except countries without general suffrage) .  Other women’s rights have increased.

Slavery has nearly been eliminated globally and is illegal in all countries.

Increasing reduction in legal discrimination of homosexuality.

Nearly all countries have legal measures to protect against discrimination based on race and ethnicity.


Hopefully I’ll put up some more on average height (another indicator of health, number of wars, crime rates, absolute poverty, average calories, and a bunch more.  I just wanted to get these up now.


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