by Jordan Stevenson - Benton-Franklin Trends Student Intern
Although the Benton-Franklin Trends project is local in scale, the data we track are part of a larger global context. Local issues we are concerned about, such as health, population, food security, and education are also international issues. As such, there are also organizations and publications such as Our World in Data that track similar indicators on a larger scale.
For example, we can see the urban and rural disparity regarding access to water sanitation. Connecting the dots, across the globe, rural areas suffer higher rates of poor hygiene in relation to water sanitation. Looking at data through a global lens can help explain and make better sense of local data.
Among many unique things about Our World in Data, perhaps the most unique is their inclusion of data explaining culture. Have you ever considered the global levels of optimism versus pessimism in our collective consciousness? According to Our World in Data, we are locally optimistic and globally pessimistic, meaning as a collective of global citizens, we have more positive views of our individual and community outcomes, but more negative views of the world.
However, there are many indicators on Our World in Data that are both positive and trending upward. For example, global literacy has increased sharply since 1900, which coincides with increased in school enrollment across the globe, at all educational levels.
Some things really are getting better! Perhaps delving further into the Our World in Data project will change our minds, giving us a more positive view of the world’s future.