Explore how much the world has changed since you were born

Is life getting better or worse? Watching the news, it’s easy to become pessimistic. But don’t forget that reporting is often selective. Bad news leads to higher ratings, while good news is seldom covered. So, what is the real state of humanity? Consider the changes that have occurred in the world over the last half-century.

  • In 1966, average life expectancy was only 56 years. In 2016, it was 72. That’s an increase of 29 percent.
  • Out of every 1,000 infants born, 113 died before their first birthday. In 2016, only 32 died. That’s a reduction of 72 percent.
  • Average income per person rose from $3,698 to over $17,469, or by 372 percent – and that’s adjusted for inflation.
  • The food supply rose from about 2,300 calories per person per day to over 2,800 calories, an increase of 22 percent, thus reducing hunger.
  • The length of schooling that a person could typically expect to receive was 4.15 years. In 2016, it was 8.71 years – a 110 percent increase.
  • On a scale from 0, which denotes autocracy, to 10, which denotes democracy, political freedom rose from 4.55 in 1966 to 7.05 in 2016. That's an improvement of 55 percent. 

Those are global improvements. What about life in your country? See the changes that have happened in your lifetime, and share the results with your family and friends – just enter the country and year of your birth.

Note: Values displayed are based on the nearest match for birth year and current year

Of course, the pace of progress varies and depends on, among other things, ideas, policies and institutions in individual countries. For example, some of the greatest improvements in recent decades have been experienced by developing countries, which are increasingly participating in the global economy, growing, and catching up with the developed world – thus decreasing global inequality. To compare your results with your contemporaries elsewhere, follow Step 3 below.

Note: Values displayed are based on the nearest match for birth year and current year

“Your life in numbers” is brought to you by HumanProgress, which is a data-driven educational website devoted to improving the public’s understanding of the state of the world. All of our statistics come from reputable sources. Hover over the name of a statistic to see its definition or click on the name of a statistic to further interact with the data.

Hide absolute value over time
Country Life expectancy at birth,
years
Infant mortality rate
per 1,000 live births
GDP, per person
2018 U.S. dollars
Food supply
per person, per day, calories
Mean years of schooling,
number
Democracy versus autocracy over time
scale 0 to 10
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Note: Values displayed are based on the nearest match for birth year and current year
Country Life expectancy at birth,
years
Infant mortality rate
per 1,000 live births
GDP, per person
2018 U.S. dollars
Food supply
per person, per day, calories
Mean years of schooling,
number
Democracy versus autocracy over time
scale 0 to 10
Birth Year:
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Note: Values displayed are based on the nearest match for birth year and current year
LIFE EXPECTANCY
INFANT SURVIVAL
INCOME PER PERSON
FOOD SUPPLY PER PERSON
MEAN YEARS OF SCHOOLING
DEMOCRACY
298
371
1153
163
209
1156
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of his or her birth were to stay the same throughout his or her life.
Infant survival reflects changes in the infant mortality rate, which is the ratio of the number of deaths in the first year of life to the number of live births occurring in the same population during the same period of time.
The gross domestic product reflects the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year. It is expressed in constant 2018 U.S. dollars (i.e., it is adjusted for changes in the value of currency over time). Finally, it is divided by the population.
Food supply refers to the amount of food available for each individual in the population each day. Actual food consumption may be lower than the quantity of food available, depending on how much food is wasted, thrown away, fed to animals, etc.
This dataset uses school enrollment census and survey data to estimate the average number of years of schooling in the population by assuming that a change in enrollment leads to a proportional change in educational attainment over time.
This scale codes democratic and autocratic patterns of authority, with higher numbers indicating more democratic regimes and lower numbers indicating more autocratic regimes.