Wednesday, August 5, 2009

More good trends than you could possibly imagine fitting in only two paragraphs

Many alleged dangers in the West are secretly trending toward peace, despite everyday worries and media scares. Deaths by fire have declined 50 percent in twenty years, thanks to smoke alarms and other building safety measures. Teen pregnancy is way down in America, which is mostly due to increased birth control, not abortions; the teen abortion rate has been dropping significantly too, as has the overall number of abortions. In fact, the percentage of teenagers having sex has actually decreased over the years, and teens are waiting longer before having sex, not that you'd know it from a panicky media. As reported by The New York Times:

"There's no doubt that the public perception is that things are getting worse, and that kids are having sex younger and much wilder than they ever were," said Kathleen A. Bogle, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at La Salle University. "But when you look at the data, that's not the case." … "I give presentations nationwide where I'm showing people that the virginity rate in college is higher than you think and the number of partners is lower than you think and hooking up more often than not does not mean intercourse," Dr. Bogle said. "But so many people think we're morally in trouble, in a downward spiral and teens are our of control. It's very difficult to convince people otherwise."

The rates of teens dropping out of high school, smoking, and drinking have also been declining for a decade. For example, the percentage of 12th-grade boys who reported binge drinking (having five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past two weeks) dropped from 52 percent in 1980 to 29 percent in 2007; girls’ rates during that time dropped from 30 percent to 22 percent. Methamphetamine use in the U.S. has dropped significantly in the past few years; the proportion of 18-year-olds using the drug in the past year dropped by two-thirds since 1999, thanks mainly to education efforts. This success surprisingly curtailed a well-publicized growing crisis with crystal meth in rural America. The number of chronically homeless people in the U.S. dropped 30 percent in just two years, from 2005 to 2007, thanks to a new government “housing first” strategy. Traffic accidents—the leading cause of death among young adults—are dropping precipitously. Around 42,000 Americans died in car crashes in 2002, compared to 52,000 in 1970, even though the population density and number of cars rose dramatically. Workplace fatalities are down, too. Safer technology helps prevent accidents, and then our healthcare advances allow a higher number of those who do have accidents to pull through.

And trust me, there's a lot more good news where this came from!

PS. I have sources for all these, of course. If anyone's interested, let me know.

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