The Worldwide Evolution of Life Expectancy

In contrast to the prevailing view that all news is bad news, Dalrymple looks at the big picture and sees dramatic human progress:
Worldwide life expectancy between 1970 and 2010 rose at a rate of 3-4 years per decade, except for the 1990s, when the rate of improvement was considerably lower. In Asia and Latin America, the average age at death rose by 1 year every 2 years, a startling rate of improvement. But the greatest improvement in recent years has been in sub-Saharan Africa: life expectancy in Angola, Ethiopia, Niger and Rwanda has increased by 10 – 15 years since 1990…
Of course, it is easier to produce dramatic improvements starting from a low base; where infant mortality rates are high, it is relatively easy to extend life expectancy. And in fact the worldwide death rate of children under the age of 9 has fallen by nearly two thirds since 1970. This is in complete contradiction to the gloomy prognostications of that time, when many so-called savants predicted perpetual mass famine. If freedom from mortal disease is part of the good life, the world has been improving at an unprecedented rate.

One thought on “The Worldwide Evolution of Life Expectancy

  1. Damo

    17 reasons to be cheerful.

    1. We’re better off now
    2. Urban living is a good thing
    3. Poverty is nose-diving
    4. The important stuff costs less
    5. The environment is better than you think
    6. Shopping fuels innovation
    7. Global trade enriches our lives
    8. More farm production = more wilderness
    9. The good old days weren’t
    10. Population growth is not a threat
    11. Oil is not running out
    12. We are the luckiest generation
    13. Storms are not getting worse
    14. Great ideas keep coming
    15. We can solve all our problems
    16. This depression is not depressing
    17. Optimists are right's-digest.aspx


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