Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Many people are gloomy about 2018.

But some things are improving every year...

Natural disasters

These killed 9,066 people in the world in 2017, fewer than any year since 1979. From 2008 to 2017 an average 72,020 died in such disasters. Fifty years earlier (the period 1958-67) the average was 373,453.

Life expectancy

The current lowest in the world is the Central African Republic with 51.4 years. To put that into perspective, in 1800 Belgium had the highest at just 40 years. Average life expectancy changes in Africa since 1955:

Year / Age

1955 / 38.7

1965 / 43.4

1975 / 47.6

1985 / 51.2

1995 / 51.9

2005 / 55.1

2015 / 61.6


The number of people in the world classed as undernourished fell from 1.01 billion in 1991 to 815 million in 2016. This is despite the world's population growing from 5.4 billion to 7.4 billion in the meantime.

Child labour

From 2000-2012 the percentage of children involved in regular economic activity in the world fell from 23 per cent to 17 per cent. …

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