How the World Ended Up This Way

Global health guru Hans Rosling has put together another fascinating video showing how the world has changed over the past 200 years. Rosling’s passion always makes his videos very entertaining but his data shows the transformation in the emerging world we often discuss. This time, Rosling steps into the timeline himself to lead us along as nations develop.

In this video, Rosling plots every major country in the world based on life expectancy and income per person. Rosling’s data shows that as a country’s income per person rises, its people tend to live longer.


Rosling begins his analysis in 1810, a pretty dark period for humankind. Life expectancy was below 40 years for nearly every country in the world; only the U.K. and the Netherlands had slightly higher life expectancies.

Then the Industrial Revolution changed the world forever. Countries in Europe and the West experienced large increases in life expectancy as their wealth grew. Many countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America were left behind. However, for the last 50 years or so certain countries in the developing world are beginning to catch up.

Rosling highlights the acceleration of China over that time period but points out that within China there is quite a discrepancy. Those citizens who live in urban areas like Shanghai have similar wealth and life expectancy to those in Italy but citizens of the poor inland province of Guizhou are more like the people of Pakistan.


By Frank Holmes - Director, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer U.S. Global Investors, Inc.

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