32 Reasons To Be Happy

2 min readJun 26, 2018

Examples of why the world isn’t such a terrible place after all.

If you read the news on a regular basis you’re likely to feel pretty negative about the world.

Natural disasters, murder, war, refugees, terrorist attacks; the list seems endless.

However, It is important to recognise that this is only part of the picture. A part that the media specifically focuses on to provoke our most powerful of emotions: fear.

Thankfully, one man dedicated his life to telling the other side of the story: Hans Rosling.

Hans wanted to spread the word that things were far from as terrible as the newspapers portrayed and that there was lots to be positive and optimistic about.

Sadly, Hans passed away in 2017 not long before his excellent book Factfulness was published. In it, he shares many fact based examples of progress that should put anyone in a brighter mood.

In this blog series, we take a look 32 of them. Here, we take a look at the first eight good things that are increasing. Yay!

1. New movies — From just 1 new feature film release in 1906 to 11,000 in 2016 there are now more movies to entertain us than ever before. Source: Gapminder & iMDb

2. Area of protected nature — The share of Earth’s land surface protected as national parks and other reserves has increased from 0.03% in 1900 to 14.7% in 2016. Source: Gapminder based on Abouchakra and UNEP

3. Women’s right to vote — Countries with equal rights for women and men to vote has gone from only 1 in 1893 to 193 in 2017 (out of 194 countries). Just one more to go! Source: Gapminder

4. New music — Number of new music recordings per year has risen from 1 in 1860 to 6,210,002 in 2015. Your ears have never had more of a chance to party! Source: Spotify & Wikipedia

5. Science papers — Number of scholarly articles published per year has risen from 119 in 1665 to 2,550,000 in 2016. Source: Royal Society of London

6. Harvest yields — Cereal yields (thousand kg per hectare) have increased from 1.4 in 1961 to 4 in 2014. Source: FAO

7. Literacy — Share of adults (15+) with basic skills to read and write has gone from 10% in 1800 to 86% in 2016. Source: Gapminder & UNESCO

8. Democracy — Share of humanity living in a democracy has increased from 1% in 1816 to 56% in 2015. Great progress made but still a long way to go! Source: OurWorldInData




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