You wouldn’t know it from the news
Last June, America experienced its deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11 and has been dealing with racial tensions after police have repeatedly shot unarmed black men. Globally, terrorist attacks have rocked Europe, the Middle East, and Asia while drug-related violence has killed over 80,000 Mexicans in the last decade. It’s clear that the world is on the brink of disaster, right? That’s what the nightly news and the Donald Trump candidacy wants you to think. But studies show that right now we are actually living in the most peaceful time in human history...by far.
The graphic above has been created using data from the Human Security Report Project, Uppsala Conflict Data Project, Peace Research Institute of Oslo, and shows the startling decrease in worldwide violence that has taken place over the past century. According to Harvard psychology professor and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature, Steven Pinker, this steep decline in worldwide violence which has been happening over the past few centuries “may be the most significant and least appreciated development in the history of our species.”
So why does the world still feel so dangerous? Is it because we live in the most dangerous time in American history? Not really, the U.S. is currently enjoying the lowest homicide rate in over a century. According to Pinker, the media has a lot to do with why the world still feels so scary. “News is a misleading way to understand the world,” he told Vox. “It’s always about events that happened and not about things that didn’t happen. As long as violent events don’t fall to zero, there will be always be headlines to click on.” So, with a little perspective, being alive in 2016 isn’t such a bad thing.