32 Reasons To Be Happy (Part 3)

2 min readJun 28, 2018


Further examples of why the world isn’t such a bad place after all.

It’s the job of the media to keep us in a perpetual state of fear. Good news doesn’t get anywhere near the same exposure as the bad. Here we share some amazing stats of progress in the world to put you in a better mood.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we looked at 16 positive things that were improving in the world.

In Part 3 and Part 4 we will take a look at the flip side: 16 bad things that have been decreasing over time.

Because bad things on the decline is essentially the same as good things improving right?

So, without further ado, here are the first 8 bad things that are, thankfully, decreasing:

1. Legal slavery — number of countries in the world (out of 194) where forced labour is legal or practised by the state has decreased from 193 in 1800 to 3 in 2017. Source: Gapminder, Pinker, ILO & SDL

2. Oil spills — amount of oil (in 1,000 of tons) that has spilled from tanker ships has declined from 636 in 1979 to 6 in 2016. Source: ITOPF

3. Cost of solar panels — the average price of PV models ($/Wp) has fallen from $66 in 1976 to $0.6 in 2016. Quite astonishing really! Source: OurWorldData based on Lafond et al

4. HIV infections — new infections per million people have dropped from 549 in 1996 to 241 in 2016. Source: Gapminder based on UNAIDS

5. Children dying — percentage of children passing away before their 5th birthday has declined from 44% in 1800 to just 4% in 2016. Source: Gapminder based on UNHGME & HMD

6. Battle deaths — number dying in battle per 100,000 people has fallen from201 in 1942 to 1 in 2016. Source: Gleditsch, PRIO, Correlates of War & UCDP

7. Death penalty — number of countries in the world (out of 194) with the death penalty has dropped from 193 in 1863 to 89 in 2016. Source: Gapminder based on Amnesty & Pinker.

8. Leaded gasoline — number of countries in the world (out of 194) permitting lead in gasoline has dropped from 193 in 1986 to just 3 in 2017. Source: Gapminder based on UNEP & ILMC




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