In today's world, it can often seem that all is lost or, at the very least, all is misplaced.
The President is demeaning foreigners as coming from "shithole countries" while getting into childish Twitter fights with a rising nuclear power. The world is warming and bringing with this warming disasters generally worse than we've previously seen. Inequality is rapidly rising again after the momentary dip in the mid-1900s. We had another "worst mass shooting ever last year."
If you looked at the news and thought, everything is kinda shit, I wouldn't blame you. I couldn't.
But while there are certainly troubling trends and tragic events occurring now and in our recent memory, all is not as bad as sensationalist, profit-seeking media may make it seem. There's still a lot of good in this world. I promise.
1. The child poverty rate hit a record low in 2017
Just 50 years ago, over one in four children were living in poverty in the United States. Though we still certainly have a long way to go, in 2017 the child poverty rate was a record low 15.6%.
2. Prison populations are decreasing
If you spend any substantial amount of time keeping up with politics and current events, you are probably aware that criminal justice reform and mass incarceration are among the most contentious and highly discussed issues of today. The United States holds a higher prison population than any other country in the world and houses roughly one in four prisoners despite being home to less than 10% of the world's total population.
Though this might seem an insurmountable fix, given the complex dimensions of policies, attitudes, and inequalities working together to create this problem, we have slowly begun to undo our decades of disastrous carceral policy.
Last year, President Obama became the first President since Jimmy Carter to leave office with a lower adult prison population incarcerated than when he entered. Private prison populations are decreasing, too!
3. The economy is booming
Just nine years removed from the Great Recession starting in roughly 2009, the United States has seemingly recovered and is now in a period of great economic and jobs growth. Whether one wants to credit new President Trump or thank Obama for the trends he started, the economy is good and few would say that's a bad thing.