This week’s edition will be short and chart-heavy, as we’re all busy making Thanksgiving stuffing and traveling to or trying to avoid our families.
Speaking of giving thanks, last week saw the world welcome—per U.N. estimates, at least—its 8 billionth human. The news was greeted by the usual concern and consternation about population growth, strained resources, and overconsumption—especially in fast-growing places like Nigeria or India. Yet by an array of metrics, the long-term trajectory of life on Earth has been overwhelmingly positive (though, surely, things could always be even better). So this Thanksgiving, I invite you to sit back, pour a warm glass of gravy, and take this moment to be thankful you’re living in today’s world—and especially in today’s United States—instead of the one that greeted its 4 billionth inhabitant back in the good ol’ 1970s.
And here are a bunch of charts to prove it.