The numbers do not lie, and they are surprising:
- The majority of households in the United States are now unmarried.
- In the United States, death rates are collapsing even faster than birth rates – once every 13 seconds versus once every 7 seconds, respectively.
- Poverty rates around the world are also falling rapidly, as a percentage of the total human population and as the total number of people afflicted. At this rate, by 2015 the number of people in extreme poverty will be less than half of that in 1981 (0.6 billion versus 1.5 billion).
- In the United States, violent crime, despite periodic short term spikes, continues a downward trend that began 13 years ago.
These changes are the direct result of scientific and technological breakthroughs over the past 20 years and the spread of education, especially to women. Of special note are new drugs and treatments that have extended life expectancies, the Internet, birth control, and wireless and cellular networks. As these technologies reach more impoverished countries, effects are immediate, creating the “leap frog” effect of developing countries adopting new technologies at a faster rate than developed countries.
It remains popular to lament about the state of the world, and extremist views of apocalypse are as widespread as ever, but as more and more people reject religion, faith, and spirituality; as more and more women are empowered; and as individuality continues to usurp community, statistics clearly reflect results that defy the most pessimistic presumptions.