Last month, the world lost one of its greatest champions in human development and global health, Hans Rosling. Among other things, Mr. Rosling became internationally famous for visualizing complicated data and making it understandable, interactive and engaging for all audiences (even if it meant proving we are often no smarter than a chimpanzee). He taught us that despite all of the world’s ongoing challenges, we have made great social progress over the past several decades. Take for instance that:
- in the last twenty years, extreme global poverty has nearly halved;1
- a child born in the world today is expected to live, on average, at least 72 years;
- at least 80% of children in the world have been vaccinated against some form of disease and;
- that 60% of girls in low-income countries have completed primary school
(You can test your own knowledge of human development by taking a Gapminder quiz).
United Ways throughout the world are working hard every day on these human development goals by improving health, education and financial stability results for low-income children and families. From connecting a struggling family to a little bit of extra income through the Earned Income Tax Credit, helping a single mother with breast cancer get affordable health coverage, or permanently housing a chronically homeless person who has been living on the streets for several years, we all have the potential to make the world a little bit better for someone today.
May the work of Hans Rosling remind us of the potential we have to improve the well-being of others and help us appreciate all the good we have accomplished.
- The United Nations defines extreme poverty as “a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services."