Is life of mankind improving? Do we become more optimistic? What is the rate of change? Are we depressed? Are we happy? Are we going to have more problems in the future then ever? The best way to know it is as usual just to look at the data.
Thanks to Google for exposure of this data. Our main tools are going to be Google Trends for short term analysis and Ngram Viewer for deeper and more general view into human behavior change.
Are we happy? Are we happier ever? Are we going to be happy tomorrow? Let’s check!
Well, looks like we are x4 more happy than sad (remove the “Happy New Year” spikes), as you can see also from here:
BUT in the long term, this growth is just a small correction of centuries of decline in happiness:
Good and Bad
We see more “good” than “bad” in our life (yesssss):
And both are rising (we are so contradicting ). His is also a small correction of decline in “Good” since World Wars and we still have a long way to improve it!
Following the Good/Bad trend, we are more optimistic than pessimistic:
…and at a wider scale (probably those are relatively “new” terms with growing popular since 1870s) same ~x2 coefficient and saturation of optimism/pessimism levels:
“Optimist” and “Pessimist” keywords give similar relation nowadays, and amazing periodic nature of “Optimist” (W.H.Y.?):
What can I say? “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves” quote does not work. Optimist is not there at New Year.
Challenge you to check “optimist, pessimist” in Ngram viewer to see an interesting phenomenon at 1875 – 1905.
Love and hate:
We love about 10-20 times more than hate:
…as always did:
We see that there was a reduction in worldwide depression levels until 2010 and stable level since then:
Though there is a clear annual cycle with clear depression levels pattern (below a weekly sampling annually unbiased “depression” keyword trend cross 10 years):
You can see top depression at spring, high depression during winter (except for amazing drop of depression at x-mas/new year days), low depression during summertime and spike of depression (hope not the human one) during peak of 2008 financial crisis (google “TED Spread” to see the historical peak )
As for the long term… (leave the great depression aside) in one word – well, in two words – not well:
C’mon, people, what makes you depressed today more than 100-200 years ago?! Constant trend makes me nervous. I need to take my pillllls now!
In 2013 we have 60% less problems than in 2004 (of have immediate and native solutions for all, which is good as well) and trend of problems is going down:
This is consistent with a long term trend, that from 1987 this is a first 20 years that we have decline of amount of problems we have since 1800!
We have fewer problems and not because we actively solve them, but just enjoy the impact of technology and good life:
“Problem Solving” keywords trend is dominated by annual (school cycle?) periodic nature, which has an extremely clear behavioral pattern for last 10 years:
Annually unbiased “Problem Solving” weekly data trend
A weird periodic interest we feel without a major change:
And this is even going down. I guess we are overeaten by all technologies and experiences and feel less and less excited since people started to fly:
As an intra-year check, unbiased data of “Interesting” keyword is very similar to a “Problem Solving”:
Couple more things about us:
We become more sick and less ill (which shows clearly priorities in medical evolution)
We love to take much more than give:
…and it is so since 1855:
“When you describe slowly, I understand it briefly” – slow trend of understanding though centuries (same with last 10 years):
We care less about freedom:
More search for girls (and rising) / request for boys is stable:
…but more search for man (and rising) / request for women is stable:
Rise of woman starting beginning of feminism at mid of 18 century, through the peak at the time when women get the right to vote at beginning of 19 century and was suppressed by impact of WWII, but they were on the track pushed by feminism wave (about 1960s) up until 1995 (ladies, what has happened?!):
Well, if you are not going up, man will go down for you 😉
We believe in God from time to time and if you had a doubt, war IS reducing our belief:
That’s all, folks for today. Interesting, huh? 😉