2016 is going to be remembered as a year of craziness – from the Olympics to the American presidential election to Harambe to the Middle East to clowns to Brexit to all the other stuff that happened this year that has made me really think that maybe this is all just a series of massive glitches in the matrix, or maybe this is all just a bad dream. It’s really easy to get caught up in all the bad stuff that has happened this year, or even just all the stuff that, while not necessarily bad, didn’t do much to comfort you about the state of the world.
But hold the phone, it’s not all terrible!
Humans have a negativity bias to help us survive in the wild. If we focus on the bad stuff, like not having enough food, then we forage for more food and live another day, instead of focusing on the fact that we are alive and forgetting that our supplies are low. But in this modern era where humans live in apartment buildings more than caves, that bias tends to work against us. So, in an attempt to raise our primitively negative spirits, here are 5 reasons why the world doesn’t suck as much as you think it does.
#1 – There are more women in government than ever before.
Globally, the number of female politicians is at a high point. Since 2005, the number of female political leaders has doubled! So while there is still a long way to go towards true gender equality, we are making progress. Keep it up, people!
#2 – Teen pregnancy rates are down.
2016 teen pregnancy rates are at a historic low. Pregnancy rates have dropped 41% (in America at least) since 2006. There are still areas where it continues to be a problem, but overall, we are that much closer to never seeing 16 and Pregnant ever again (can you believe they renewed that show last year?).
#3 – Drugs and crime are also down!
Whatever people may say, the truth is (in the U.S.) crime is in decline. Violent crime is at its lowest point since the 1970s, and drug rates for numerous substances are down too – cocaine usage has gone down by up to 50% since 2007, and heavy underage drinking has declined by a third. Smoking is less common too, especially in teens; the current teen smoking rate is less than half of what it was in 2002.
#4 – Graduation rates are up.
More Americans are graduating high school than ever before. The national graduation rate for high school is now 82%. That’s a 3% increase from 2010, and a 10% increase from 1991! We’re doing great, fellow students! 🙂
#5 – The Giant Panda is no longer endangered! 😀
Yup, it’s true! The Giant Panda is no longer on critically endangered! Time to celebrate everyone! * ^u^ * Sad Note: the species is still “Vulnerable”, so we aren’t in the clear yet. But the good news is we’re getting there! Our children might still be able to see this adorable thing: