Thanks to the negative nature of news, you probably know many of the most frightening statistics in the world off the top of your head.
But what's often overlooked in the world are the statistics that demonstrate progress, the ones that might actually make you feel more positive about what's happening across the globe and in your own neighborhood. Below, we've pulled together a few of the most encouraging statistics we could find.
1. Literacy rates are skyrocketing.
As of 2014, 84.1 percent of adults across the globe were literate, according to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). While UNESCO points out that 773 million people remain illiterate, the stat represents a drastic improvement over the 1950s, when literacy rates were hovering around 56 percent. The cherry on top? Children's literacy rates are higher than adults', at 89.5 percent, indicating that the trend will keep improving.
2. Millenial women will make more than their mothers.
3. Despite lots of coverage, we have actually had a massive decline in American gun violence.
If you were to do nothing but watch cable news, you'd probably think that gun violence was as bad as it's ever been in the United States. But while some research suggests premeditated mass shootings have actually increased recently, The Washington Post reported in December that gun violence on the whole has actually plummeted. In 1993, there were seven homicides for every 100,000 people. In 2013, that number had fallen to 3.6. Even more surprisingly, non-fatal instances of gun violence fell from 725 per 100,000 people in 1993 to 175 in 2013.
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4. It turns out laughter can actually improve your health.
5. Medicine and prenatal care are drastically reducing risks for young children.
Since 1990, the mortality rate of children under the age of five has plummeted. At that time, it was 91 deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2015, the number was less than half that at 43 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the World Health Organization.
6. The world is becoming increasingly peaceful.
Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker has written extensively about how the world is becoming increasingly peaceful. In his book, The Better Angels Of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, Pinker argues that trade interests, the creation of states and the Enlightenment have all helped contribute to less war and less violence.
According to data, he may be onto something. In 1950, there were somewhere between 557,000 and 851,000 battle deaths. Those numbers were the highest since the end of World War II and since then have been steadily declining. While conflicts in Iraq and Syria have brought the numbers to a rise once more in the last few years, estimated battle deaths for 2013 are about 30,000, according to the Uppsala Conflict Data Program.
Cover photo: John Downing / Getty Images.