The Van Trump Report

Life is Good!

I constantly hear my friends and others talking about how bad things have become. They talk about more shootings, more violent crimes, less religion, etc…, but these arguments are not backed by facts or figures. They are mostly just strong hunches and hearsay. Believe it or not, violent crimes are much lower than in years past. Faith is continual on the rise as 84% of the global population now identifies with a religious group. In fact Steven Pinker, in his best-selling book ” The Better Angels of Our Nature“, he argues, and demonstrate that violence has been in decline over millennia and that the present is probably the most peaceful time in the history of the human race. I’ve included below several interesting facts the many have gotten wrong. A few years back, Morgan Housel wrote an article titled, “50 Reasons We’re Living Through the Greatest Period in World History”. It’s a fantastic article where Housel points out how we tend to ignore the really important news. Keep in mind, he says it happens slowly, but we obsess over trivial news because it happens all day long. In addition, we also have more all-day access to these trivial news headlines that work to gradually skew our perspective. Eventually, when we pick our head up and stop to look around, we often find ourselves way off base.  Below are just a few samples Click the links above to learn more. (The Briefing; The Better Angels of Our Nature) 

World Religion:  Christians form the biggest religious group by some margin, with 2.3 billion adherents or 31.2% of the total world population of 7.3 billion. Next come Muslims (1.8 billion, or 24.1%), Hindus (1.1 billion, or 15.1%) and Buddhists (500 million, or 6.9%). There are about 14 million Jews in the world, about 0.2% of the global population, concentrated in the US and Israel. Interestingly, the third biggest category in the list is the 1.2 billion people in the world, or 16%, that said they have no real religious affiliation. Most have a strong sense of spirituality or belief in God, but they don’t identify with or practice an organized religion, hence they are all lumped into this one category. 

China’s Christian Uprising: China has seen a huge religious revival in recent years and some predict it will have the world’s largest Christian population by 2030. The number of Chinese Protestants has grown by an average of 10 % annually since 1979, to between 93 million and 115 million, according to one estimate. There are reckoned to be another 10-12 million Catholics. 

U.S. Life Expectancy at birth was 39 years in 1800, 49 years in 1900, 68 years in 1950, and 79 years today. The average newborn today can expect to live an entire generation longer than his great-grandparents could.

Child Birth vs. Breast Cancer: In 1900, 1% of American women giving birth died in labor. Today, the five-year mortality rate for localized breast cancer is 1.2%. Being pregnant 100 years ago was almost as dangerous as having breast cancer is today.

Traffic Fatalities: In 1950, 23 people per 100,000 Americans died each year in traffic accidents, according to the Census Bureau. That fell to 11 per 100,000 by 2009. If the traffic mortality rate had not declined thousands of more Americans would have died the last several yearsthan actually did.

Google Maps is free. If you think about this for a few moments, it’s really astounding. It’s probably the single most useful piece of software ever invented, and it’s free for anyone to use.

Airline Crashes: Despite a surge in airline travel, there were half as many fatal plane accidents in 2012 than there were in 1960, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

College Education: People talk about how expensive college is today, but a century ago fewer than one in 20 Americans ever stepped foot in a university. College wasn’t an option at any price for most minorities because of segregation just six decades ago. In 1940, less than 5% of the adult population held a bachelor’s degree or higher. The Census Bureau most recently estimated that 33.4% of Americans 25 or older had completed a bachelor’s degree or higher.  In fact, 9.3% of adults over 25 have a master’s degree; and almost 2% of Americans have a doctoral degree. 

Deaths from War: Worldwide deaths from battle have plunged from 300 per 100,000 people during World War II, to the low teens during the 1970s, to less than 10 in the 1980s, to fewer than one in the 21st century, according to Harvard professor Steven Pinker. “War really is going out of style,” he says.

Retirement: If you think Americans aren’t prepared for retirement today, you should have seen what it was like a century ago. In 1900, 65% of men over age 65 were still in the labor force. By 2010, that figure was down to 22%. The entire concept of retirement is unique to the past few decades. Half a century ago, most Americans worked until they died. Adjusted for inflation, the average monthly Social Security benefit for retirees has increased from $378 in 1940 to $1,461 in 2019.

U.S. Housing: According to the Census Bureau, in 1900 there was one housing unit for every five Americans. Today, there’s one for every three. In 1910 the average home had 1.13 occupants per room. By 1997 it was down to 0.42 occupants per room. Housing has greatly improved!

Literacy: While the rate of literacy has significantly increased in the last 50 years, experts say that 750 million people are still illiterate around the world. According to data recently released, about 750 million people, two-thirds of which are women, are still illiterate around the world. Although there has been a significant increase in literacy rates over the last 50 years, the high number of illiterate people continues to draw attention.  Forty-five percent of the illiterate people live in South Asia, and 27 percent in sub-Saharan Africa. While 10 percent are in East and Southeastern Asia, 9 percent live in North Africa and West Asia.

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