Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOOD NEWS; U.S. Reinvention

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

GOOD NEWS; U.S. Reinvention

Article excerpt

Let's start the new year with a survey of good news, all culled from the mainstream news media.

Statue of Liberty still smiles:

America is still a welcoming place for immigrants. From 1996 to 2003, the poverty rate for new immigrants fell from 22.2 percent to 17.2 percent, reports BusinessWeek. The percentage of immigrants who own homes has jumped. Even among Latin American immigrants, many of whom have not graduated from high school, poverty has dropped and home ownership has risen.

"Within one generation, the vast majority of all U.S. immigrants have moved solidly into the middle class," The American Enterprise reports. "This is true for all races, religions and groups."

Muslim-Americans are among the most entrepreneurial and best-educated Americans, with about 60 percent having college educations and two-thirds earning over $50,000, reports The American Enterprise.

So America keeps reinventing itself. While the faces, races and ethnic groups change, enduring values continue to make America great.

Health: U.S. life expectancy has hit another all-time high -- 77.6 years in 2003, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke continue to drop. Many diseases are within our control by adopting healthier behaviors. There are more ex-smokers than current smokers, reports Steven Schroeder of the University of California, San Francisco in Time magazine.

America's brand: American products still are as popular as ever overseas, reports a study from Cornell and Princeton universities in The Economist.

They examined products associated with the United States, like Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Nike. Between 2001 and 2003-2004, the three American companies increased sales at least as fast as three European rivals.

As The Economist surmised, "Brand America may be suffering in the eyes of the world, but American brands are still prospering."

World peace: It's a freer world today. Countries formerly aligned with the Soviet Union, the Eastern European bloc, are freer. Positive trends toward more democratic governments are being seen in Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen and Dubai, reports journalist Robert Kaplan in The American Enterprise. …

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