20 Charts That Will Change Your View of America


The American Dream is dead! We’re no longer #1! America is falling apart!

With all the sensationalist media coverage of everything from America’s terrible economy to the Ebola epidemic, you would think America is on the brink of collapse.

And yet, the data tells a very different story.

Far from the doomed hellscape America is made out to be, we’ve actually come a long way in just the last few decades. Zoom out for some perspective, and you’ll find a country that looks a whole lot different than the broken image the media makes America out to be.

No doubt, America still has a long way to go, but the charts below tell a very different story about how America is really doing than the one you always hear.

1. We’re actually winning the War on Poverty.

Source: Brookings Institution. Poverty rate calculated based on after-tax income.

2. Since the Great Recession, the deficit has actually been falling.

Source: Congressional Budget Office and The White House.

3. So has household debt.

Source: NY Fed.

4. Compared to 40 years ago, far more kids attend preschool and far more adults go to college.

Source: Opportunity Since 1970, by Opportunity Nation and Measure of America.

5. Innovation in America is increasing exponentially.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office.

6. Our streets are safer.

Source: FBI.

7. The prison population has been falling in recent years.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

8. The air has gotten much cleaner.

Source: EPA.

9. Americans are getting less wasteful.

Source: EPA.

10. Americans are eating less sugar than they were in 2000.

Source: USDA. Chart shows annual per capita consumption of high-fructose corn syrup.

11. We’re drinking much less alcohol compared to the 1980s.

Source: National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

12. War is less costly to society today than in the past.

Source: Pew Research.

13. As a percent of GDP, military spending is actually lower than it was during the Cold War.

Source: SIPRI.

14. Nuclear disarmament is working.

Source: Natural Resources Defense Council and SIPRI.

15. Teen births have fallen dramatically.

Source: Department of Health & Human Services.

16. So has the divorce rate.

Source: U.S. Census and CDC.

17. The cancer death rate has fallen.

Source: National Cancer Institute.

18. So has the HIV death rate.

Source: CDC.

19. Our country’s core infrastructure is stronger.

Source: Department of Transportation.

20. America is still a country of opportunity for the rest of the world.

Source: U.S. Census.

h/t spnzr.com for inspiring this piece.