It seems bad news abounds these days. Skyrocketing health care costs. Escalating deficits. Reality television is still here. But it’s not all bad. The Colts are 12-0. The economy is due to pick up (any day now…). And hey, there’s at least a 65% chance you’re not one of Tiger Woods’ mistresses.
According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Life expectancy for Americans reached an all-time high of nearly 78 years (77.9) in 2007 (most recent data available), the age-adjusted death rate dropped to a new all-time low, and life expectancy for black males reached a new record of 70 years.
- Compared to the life expectancy in 1929 of only 57.1 years, the average American today can expect to live almost 21 years longer.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture:
- Food expenditures by families and individuals (both at home and at restaurants) as a share of disposable personal income reached an all-time record low of 9.6 percent in 2008.
- Spending on food as a share of income was twice that high in the 1950s (average of 19.3 percent), and almost three times as high in the early 1930s.
According to data from the Energy Information Administration:
- The energy consumption required (measured in thousands of British thermal units) to produce a real dollar of output (Gross Domestic Product) fell to an all-time record low of 8.52 in 2008.
- Compared to 1970 when it took 18 Btus to produce a real dollar of GDP, today’s economy is more than twice as energy-efficient.