The newsletter brought to you by Human Progress.
Explore how much the world has changed since you were born.
The story of population growth, innovation, and human flourishing on an infinitely bountiful planet.
Does population growth lead to greater resource scarcity?
A collection of people who have made extraordinary contributions to human wellbeing.
The story of civilization is in many ways the story of the city.
A better way to measure improvements in the standards of living.
Johan Norberg explores pioneering ecosystems that dramatically changed our world for the better.
Overturning conventional wisdom with free-market principles.
HumanProgress in the classroom.
An archive of technophobia and moral panics (unaffiliated).
Collection of contemporary accounts of daily life in the past.
Reviews of some of the books most relevant to human progress.
Michael Magoon explains the origins of progress, and how we can ensure that all of humanity enjoys its benefits.
Lawrence Newport examines the lessons of our past, and the vast potential of our future.
The world is now richer than ever. In 200 years, the economy has grown more than a hundred fold.
Only 200 years ago, more than 80% of the world lived in extreme poverty. Today, it is under 9%.
Contrary to pessimistic predictions, resources tend to become more abundant and cheaper over time.
As education levels increase, people tend to choose to have fewer children. As a result, population growth will peak sooner than previously expected.
Improvements in productivity, yields, and availability of crops have historically increased the world’s food supply.
As people turn to urban life, woodlands are expanding and spaces being recovered for other species to rebound and thrive.
The urbanization of the world’s population translates into more wealth, innovation and environmentally-conscious lives.
After the demise of modern autocracies in the 20th century, democracy has become the most popular form of government.
Wars have become increasingly rarer as countries tend to be more democratic, wealthier and economically intertwined.
The probability of surviving a natural disaster has dramatically increased, as countries become wealthier and technologies more available.
The HDI shows how life expectancy, education and income per capita has improved around the world in the last few decades.
Self-reported happiness, related to subjective well being, has increased as countries become freer and richer.
Since the Industrial Revolution, humanity made over twice as much progress in 100 years as it did in the previous 1,800, raising the global GDP per capita at an astonishing pace.
As non-Western countries grow their economies faster, global income inequality has started to steadily decline since the 1950s.
Although the number of people living in slums still increases, the ultimate process of urbanization will translate into better living standards.
Influenced by Enlightenment ideas, gender equality has dramatically increased in the last century.
As women’s life expectancy increases, as well as their participation in the workforce, they tend to choose to have fewer children.
As the ability to read and write becomes more common, poverty rates decrease and equality improves.
The increase in access to education for children translates into higher salaries, and even more educational opportunities for their future kids.
The rise in the number of average years of education is closely correlated to the progress humanity has made regarding economic growth.
In the past century, IQ test scores have increased by 30 points as nutrition, schooling and overall health also improves.
Out of the 193 members of the UN in 2019, more than 60% of the countries had decriminalized same-sex relations.
Although there have been some setbacks, freedom of the press continues to advance. Without freedom of speech, no other rights can be defended.
For most of human history, people only lived for about 30 years. In the last two centuries, the global life expectancy has risen to 72 years.
Due to lower infectious diseases, wars, and food insecurity, the crude annual death rate is also in retreat.
Infant mortality rates have fallen considerably, largely thanks to modern medicine and early vaccine access.
Hygienic practices in the medical environment resulted in the fall of maternal mortality rates, from 385 in 1990 to 216 per 100,000 in 2016.
The growing access to early vaccination has prevented millions of deaths and even more lives have been protected from illness.
In the last three decades, HIV infections have become rarer, while the survival rate of the disease has considerably gone up.
In the last two decades, the incidence rate of tuberculosis has considerably decreased, while the detection and treatment success rates have gone up.
Accelerated by insecticide and medicine advancements, progress in the fight against malaria is being made.
Over the last few decades, the global cancer death rate has decreased due to faster detection methods and constant drug improvements.
Although the number of smokers has continued to rise as the population grows, the prevalence of daily smokers has fallen in the last four decades.
The acceleration of vaccine developments has enabled the eradication of numerous deadly diseases.
The global homicide rate has progressively declined over the last three decades, as fairer judicial systems and better policing have spread around the world.
Gruesome punishments have become rarer over time. As of 2018, the majority of countries had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.
As wars have become rarer, battle death rates have also decreased considerably in the last decades.
As genocides tend to go hand in hand with war, they peak when conflicts occur. As war becomes less frequent, since 2000, the mass killings of civilians have become rarer still.
Although military spending has risen in actual dollars, the expenditure as a percentage of the growing global GDP has considerably decreased.
During this unprecedented period of peace, the percentage of the labor force working for armed forces is lower than ever.
After reaching its peak during the Cold War, the number of nuclear warheads has consistently declined.
As prosperity and wealth increases, the overall number of hours worked decreases.
Today’s working conditions are far better than those of our ancestors, making work-related deaths rarer.
As the economy expanded, labor competition increased and wages grew, child labor became more uncommon.
Today, most people work in the services sector rather than in the industry or agricultural jobs.
Since women were able to secure themselves independent sources of income, the wage gap has been narrowing in high-income countries.
Eliminating the ancient institution of chattel slavery has been one of the most important moral achievements of humanity.
As agricultural productivity improves, the amount of land needed for food production will decrease.
Humanity is on the way towards setting aside 59 million square kilometers of land and sea for nature.
Since the 1960s, the amount of global CO2 emissions per dollar has steadily declined.
Despite pessimistic concerns, global oil reserves and production have been growing over the past four decades.
Further exploration and development of production technologies have boosted global proven reserves of natural gas considerably.
Greater efficiencies in agriculture have helped limit water waste and runoff, thus lowering the costs of water production.
Through the process of “dematerialization”, less material and energy is needed per unit of gross domestic product, fostering competition and lower prices.
This century’s food insecurity is almost exclusively related to war and political violence. Outside of war zones, famines have disappeared.
The global cereal production, which accounts for more than half of humanity’s daily caloric intake, has vastly increased since the 1960s.
Since the Green Revolution in the 1960s, global cereal yields have continued to increase, nourishing the growing population.
From a sustainability point of view, the growth of aquaculture in contrast to wild-caught fish is a largely welcome development.
Meat and dairy consumption has increased since the 1960s, adding valuable nutrients to a previously starchy plant-dominated diet.
Today, more than 87% of the world’s population has access to electricity, with most of the underserved population living in Sub-Saharan Africa.
From wood, candles and gas lamps, to electric light bulbs, the world has reduced the cost of light production by almost 100%.
Since 1977, the price of a solar cell has fallen from $76 to $0.24 per watt in 2018.
Since contaminated water spreads infectious diseases, the progress made in the accessibility to safe water sources has been life-saving.
The improved access to sanitation facilities has been a key improvement for the betterment of human health.
Mobile phones not only keep us connected, but also give censored societies the possibility to access information and to share it.
Although internet accessibility has steadily risen, new satellite technologies will continue to add to the progress connecting people around the world.
Computational power and storage continues to rise, while prices fall steadily.
Due to cost and convenience travel improvements, the number of tourists traveling internationally has increased.
The world has made a lot of progress stepping away from protectionist measures, like the implementation of high tariffs on products.
As American households grew wealthier, they spent a smaller proportion of their incomes on basic necessities.
As technologies progress and become cheaper, the material well-being of American families continues to rise.
Contrary to what most Americans believe, violent crime rates have been falling steeply for the past two decades.
Substantial progress has been made regarding racial attitudes and civil rights, although work remains to be done.
As the economy continues to grow, air pollution has been falling for decades, even before the creation of the EPA.
Between 1973 and 2017, the share of new houses built with four or more bedrooms rose from 23% to 46%.
As new vaccines are discovered and made widely available, the incidence of infectious diseases declines considerably fast.
Initially, flying was effectively restricted to the rich. Over time, airfares have become considerably more accessible.
Although there is still a lot of progress to be made, earlier detection and screening methods have lowered cancer incidence and mortality in the U.S.