positive trends

5 Positive Trends Over The Last Few Decades

Positive trends are often obscured by a news cycle often dominated by crime and violence. But it’s not all bad.

Here are 5 positive trends that haven’t received much media attention:

1. Americans are recycling more and more

positive trends
Recycling symbol courtesy of AJ Ashton via openclipart.

As of 2013, more than 33% of trash in the U.S. is recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The ratio of trash being recycled has more than tripled since 1980, when it was at about 10%.

2. Cancer is less deadly

positive trends
Nurse clipart courtesy of papapishu via openclipart.

2016 numbers from the American Cancer Society show the death rate from cancer is down 23% in 21 years.

Despite more people being diagnosed with cancer, the mortality rate is down.

From 1975 to 2007, even though 14% more people were diagnosed with cancer, the amount of people who actually died from it went down 11%, according to the U.S. Department of Health.

For those who were diagnosed, the 5-year survival rate increased from 50% to 68%.

3. Smoking among high school students is at its lowest point since surveys began

positive trends
Cigarette symbol courtesy of GameFreak7744 via openclipart.

The Center for Disease Control reports that 15.7% of high school students smoke – the lowest such number since surveys began in 1999.

Smoking rate for high school students have halved since a peak of 36.4% in 1997.

4. Teenage pregnancy and abortion rates are historically low

positive trends
Pregnant women silhouette courtesy of molumen via openclipart.

The rate of teenage pregnancies in 2010 was 34.4 out of 1,000 women, a 44% reduction since a peak of 61.8/1,000 in 1991, according to a report (pdf) by the reproductive health non-profit the Guttmacher Institute. 2016 numbers from the CDC show a continuation of the trend.

Similarly, abortions among teenagers was 14.7 out of 1,000, the lowest rate since abortion was legalized and down 66% from a peak of 43.5/1,000 in 1988.

5. Most public drinking water is clean

Cleaner water is only one out of many positive trends.
Drop silhouette courtesy of Angelo_Gemmi via openclipart. .

Today 92% of U.S. drinking water is up to health standards, as opposed to 79% in 1993, according to the EPA.  Despite the Flint water crisis of 2015, U.S. water is cleaner than ever before.

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Updated. Cover photo courtesy of Basheer Tome via Flickr.


Ole Skaar