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A 200 year look at the world progress in health and income

An interesting graphical depiction of the correlation between income and life expectancy by country… Shared with us by Ira Yellen, from our CTC Board.

This is a 200 year look at the world progress in health and income displayed by a Swedish professor and done graphically so that you can quickly grasp progress over these 200 years. Comment by Marc Lourengard:

Great presentation. One of the interesting parts was that the life expectancy curve is flattening out. The wealth disparity is still large relative to the life expectancy disparity. I expect that the spread of technology through the third world will accelerate as the life expectancy numbers continue to improve since the real driver behind short life expectancy is infant mortality. In poor countries it’s due to newborn death and infant/child dehydration primarily from dysentery due to lack of clean water. In the U.S., we have a lower life expectancy than other developed economies from just the opposite source, advanced neonatal health care. We keep many newborns alive for relatively brief periods with massive technological intervention.

Birth rates are falling dramatically everywhere, including poor countries as modest health care improvements keep more infants alive and as their societies emerge from subsistence farming – the only regime in which children have positive economic value (unless of course you believe that yours are actually going to care for you in your dotage). I’m beginning to see signs of optimism about sub-Saharan Africa, primarily from very modest health care/technology combinations – solar power for lighting schools and running water purification, cell phone banking, etc.

It’s going to be a fascinating century.


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