December 5, 2017 Worldwide, People Divided on Whether Life Today Is Better Than in the Past

Discussion in 'Economics' started by dealmaker, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. dealmaker


    Current economic conditions a key factor in assessing progress

    By Jacob Poushter

    [​IMG]Fifty years ago, the world was a very different place. The United States and its allies were locked in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, personal computers and mobile phones were the stuff of science fiction, and much of the world’s population had yet to experience substantial improvements in life expectancy and material well-being.

    Numerous countries found themselves at important crossroads – whether it was military conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, civil rights and war protests in the U.S., or Soviet tanks crushing Czechoslovakia’s Prague Spring.

    How far do people around the globe think they and others like them have come, compared with 50 years ago? Pew Research Center put that question to nearly 43,000 people in 38 countries around the globe this past spring.

    At a country level, some of the most positive assessments of progress over the past 50 years are found in Vietnam (88% say life is better today), India (69%) and South Korea (68%) – all societies that have seen dramatic economic transformations since the late 1960s, not to mention the end of armed conflict in the case of Vietnam. A majority in Turkey (65% better) also share a sense of progress over the past five decades. In some of the more developed countries, publics also report that life is better today, including 65% in Japan and Germany, and 64% in the Netherlands and Sweden.

    But not everyone is convinced that life today is an improvement over the past. Americans are split on this issue: 41% say life is worse while 37% say better. Meanwhile, half or more in countries ranging from Italy (50%) and Greece (53%) to Nigeria (54%) and Kenya (53%) to Venezuela (72%) and Mexico (68%) say life is worse today.

    Events unique to the history of individual countries cannot be ignored when considering why publics are more positive or negative about how the present compares with 50 years ago. However, our analysis also indicates that views of the current economy are a strong indicator of whether people say life for people like them is better today than it was 50 years ago, even when controlling for the demographic factors of income, education, gender and age. Indeed, across the countries analyzed, people with positive views of the current economy are 30 percentage points more likely than those with negative views to say life has improved for people like them.1

    In general, countries that are more upbeat about their national economy are more likely to say life today is better compared with the past. For example, in Vietnam, where 91% say economic conditions are good, a corresponding 88% say life is better for people like them compared with 50 years ago. And in Venezuela, where only 20% say conditions are good, 10% say life is better for people like them. Overall, the correlation between economic assessments and views of the past is quite strong (+0.68).
  2. d08


    While it's obviously a perception questionnaire, it would be interesting to ask people who were alive and adults at that point in time.
    dealmaker likes this.
  3. ironchef


    Interesting they didn't bother to ask the Chinese.
  4. Bill.C.


    I think I could have predicted a lot of this poll. The developed and more wealthy countries like it to today more. Vietnam isnt surprising since they were in military conflicts 50 years ago.

    The most curious for me is the US, being so divided.

    The problem with this survey is that unless you ask people aged 70+, you are getting an uninformed response
  5. I smell a sign of the WWIII...
  6. Pretty obvious why they didn't bother. The government imposes thoughts on the citizens. Any negative opinion of the government/nation would be stamped out.
  7. What I find interesting is that the U.S. is right around the global median level - along with many of Trumpy's so-called shithole countries. "Let's light this candle".