Bill Gates Is Optimistic About The Future Of Our World — And Thinks You Should Be Too

Contrary to popular belief, many conditions around the world are vastly improving.

Last month, vlogger and YouTube influencer Ingrid Nilsen took to Twitter to ask her followers a series of questions involving important global topics such as poverty, health, and women's issues. Her only directive was that participants answer the queries without any help from Google. The reason? Nilsen was more interested in learning about their general impressions on these issues as opposed to the knowledge they could gain through search.

At first, the line of questioning may have seemed odd to Nilsen's followers, but it all came together earlier this month when the 29-year-old released a new video featuring Bill Gates. In the video titled "How Much Does the World Suck?," Nilsen, who has more than 3.8 million Youtube subscribers, posed the same questions she asked her Twitter followers to Gates. 

Together the pair discussed the results.

Though the topic of each question varied, one thing soon became clear: Nilsen's Twitter followers grossly underestimated how far the world has come in improving global poverty, healthcare worldwide, and women's issues. 

For instance, the first question asked participants about the proportion of people living in extreme poverty worldwide and how such a figure has changed over the past two decades.

According to Nilsen, 71 percent of respondents on Twitter believed worldwide poverty has almost doubled over the past 20 years, but Gates revealed that said rate has actually almost halved. "Extreme poverty has gone down very fast," he explained, noting a goal to cut poverty in half that was set in 2000 was met by 2015. 

"People know, in richer countries, that there's a lot of people who are poorer than they are, and this idea that there's multiple tiers and people have gotten out of that bottom tier — in fact most people live in what we call  'middle income' countries now — there just isn't an awareness of that," Gates explained of why he thinks there is such a discrepancy between how people view world poverty and how common it actually is. "They still have this binary view of 'people as rich as I am,' and 'everybody else.' The miracle is we're moving people up, although they haven't caught up with the United States."

Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates and his wife Melinda have helped to decrease the level of worldwide poverty. Among other things, the foundation works to ensure young people survive and thrive through education and innovation and teaches farmers how to increase production sustainability. Both tactics have helped to raise people out of poverty.

Another misconception Nilsen and Gates discussed was the idea that women, on average, are much less educated than men. Worldwide, 30-year-old men have spent 10 years in school on average. Twitter users overwhelmingly believed that 30-year-old have spent just six years in school in comparison. Gates revealed that 30-year-old women around the world have actually, on average, spent nine years of school. 

After Nilsen herself admitted she was surprised by this statistic (perhaps partially because all of the attention paid to the inequities women in certain parts of the world face with regards to education), Gates explained, "Since the year 2000, this idea of access for education has improved very, very substantially." And though he noted certain parts of the world do have some catching up to do, Gates added, "As we look forward, our big effort has to be to make sure those kids in school are actually learning."

To learn more about why we can be optimistic about the world, check out the video above. 

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