Human Progress

The best decade in human history

Poverty declined, wealth increased, new science breakthroughs and bigger opportunities for more people than ever before. 2010 to 2020 has been the best decade in human history.

The best decade in human history

158,000 people have left extreme poverty since yesterday. Actually, 158,000 people have left extreme poverty every day since January 1, 2010.

That is just one of several amazing things that has happened in the world in this decade.

Author Johan Norberg wrote a list of ten reasons that make this decade the best ever in human history.

But ten reasons are not enough to describe these last ten years, so we decided to make a much longer list.

2010 to 2020 has been the best decade in human history. Not without big problems, of course. No decade has been without problems. But most problems are less severe now than ten years ago.

And we know how to solve problems. Through free ideas, innovation and collaboration. We can solve all of the problems we face.

This is fact-based optimism. And viewed like that the 2010s was the best decade ever.

Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the list!


  1. NASA:s New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto after a 3 billion mile journey. (Mathias Sundin)
  2. 28% of all wealth humanity ever has created, was created in these ten years. (Johan Norberg)
  3. The IBM Watson AI computer became the champion of Jeopardy, signaling the start of the steep increase through the decade in computing power. (Henrik Ahlén)
  4. Southwest Atlantic humpback whales have returned from the brink of extinction. (Mathias Sundin)
  5. Smart home voice-controlled assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home made an entrance. (Henrik Ahlén)
  6. The Colombian government and the FARC guerilla signed a peace agreement ending the conflict. (Mathias Sundin)
  7. The child mortality rate was reduced by a third. As a result, 2,1 million child deaths was prevented in 2019. (Johan Norberg)
  8. The world has it's first approved Ebola vaccine. (Mathias Sundin)
  9. 3D printing of body parts. The first breakthrough was the printing of a realistic and functioning outer ear in 2013. (Henrik Ahlén)
  10. Life expectancy increased from 69,5 to 72 years. Every day in the last decade, the average life span increased 8 hours. (Johan Norberg)
  11. Quantum supremacy is reached for the first time. (Mathias Sundin)
  12. Cancer immunotherapy had it's big breakthrough and James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. (Mathias Sundin)
  13. The global death rate from indoor and outdoor pollution declined 19 percent. (Johan Norberg)
  14. Renewable electricity overtakes fossil fuels in UK for first time. (Mathias Sundin)
  15. In 2019, a British patient became the second person to potentially be cured of HIV after receiving stem cells from a donor with genetic resistance to the disease. (Henrik Ahlén)
  16. 158,000 people have left extreme poverty every day since January 1, 2010. (Johan Norberg)
  17. Computers are now able to do some tasks better than doctors. (Tomas Wahlgren)
  18. Renewable energy is now consistently cheaper than any fossil-fuel option, even without financial subsidies. (Ola Rask)
  19. A peace treaty was signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea ending the 20 year old conflict. (Mathias Sundin)
  20. SpaceX lowered the cost of getting payloads into earth orbit by using reusable rockets (Kent Olofsson).
  21. Tesla released the electric car Model S with stunning performance, outcompeting fossil cars. (Tomas Wahlgren)
  22. NASA spacecraft reaches most distant target in history when passing Ultima Thule. (Mathias Sundin)
  23. Tunisia became a democracy after a popular uprising during the Arab Spring. (Mathias Sundin)
  24. In 2015 Google DeepMinds AI beat the world champion in the game Go, a vastly more complex feat than winning at chess. (Henrik Ahlén)
  25. The blockchain Ethereum was launched in 2015. Bitcoin launched the previous decade but had it's big breakthrough this decade. (Mathias Sundin)
  26. Deaths from climate-related disasters declined by a third. (Johan Norberg)
  27. Raspberry Pi reinvented how we think about cheap personal computing for techies and tinkerers who want to build their own single-board system. (Henrik Ahlén)
  28. The share of people living in "not-free" countries declined from 34 to 26 percent. (Johan Norberg)
  29. Uber started the ride sharing wave in 2010 (Henrik Ahlén)
  30. Pokémon Go made whole families get up from the TV couch and go out for an virtual AR hunting. (Tomas Wahlgren)
  31. For the first time a human made object left the solar system when Voyager 1 reached interstellar space in 2013. Five years later Voyager 2 repeated the achievement. (Mathias Sundin)
  32. The Higgs boson was discovered. (Bertil Hjelm)
  33. The first all-female spacewalk was performed by astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch. (Mathias Sundin)
  34. CRISPR-Cas 9 was discovered. CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. (Anna Häger, Anders Ingvarsson)
  35. The first gene-edited babies were born. The twins had higher resistans to HIV. (This was of course controversial, but with well thought trough regulations gene-editingit holds great promise.) (Hannes Sjöblad)
  36. The Earth has become greener with more forests and green areas. The biggest reason for this i massive tree plantings in China, India and the EU. (Mathias Sundin)
  37. The amount of land devoted to grazing animals to produce meat and milk has begun to shrink across the world. (Mathias Sundin)
  38. Japanese spacecraft deploys first-ever solar sail. (Eric Porper)
  39. Plant-based meat was launched in several fast food-restaurants, among them the Impossible Whopper at Burger King. (Mathias Sundin)
  40. Private citizens gained access to self-driving features with the Tesla Autopilot. (Mathias Sundin)
  41. Craig Venter and his team have built the genome of a bacterium from scratch and incorporated it into a cell to make what they call the world's first synthetic life form. (Eric Porper)
  42. In 2018 a milestone was reached when over 50 percent of the world population, 3,9 billion people, got internet access. (Mathias Sundin)
  43. Broadband access increased 43 percent. (Mathias Sundin)
  44. Global internet use increased 40 percent. (Mathias Sundin)
  45. The ozone layer kept healing, and are on track to complete heal in coming decades. (Mathias Sundin)
  46. Officially 4G was first launched in december 2009 but was, of course, broadly adapted during this decade. This next generation network blew 3G out of the water and became not just the foundation for a whole new economy, based on apps and mobile services, but has and is changing our entire civilization. (Magnus Aschan)
  47. The symbol for conservation, the Giant Panda, was removed from the endangered species list. (Mathias Sundin)
  48. Several species were removed from the endangered species list. Among them Gray Wolf, Snow Leopard, Southern white rhinoceros, Manatee, Humpback Whale, Grizzly Bear, Red Kangaroo and Gray Whale. (Mathias Sundin)
  49. We saw the first ever image of a black hole. (Mathias Sundin)
  50. Airbnb revolutionizes travel options for people all over the world (Rich Spuller)
  51. Automated drones begin deliveries to residential homes (Rich Spuller)
  52. Bionic body parts make their debut.
  53. CRISPR eliminates HIV in live animals.
  54. Ethiopia smashed the world record for tree planting. Led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, millions of Ethiopians planted 353 million trees in 12 hours.
  55. In the biggest breakthrough for cystic fibrosis in decades, a new drug that targets the genetic roots of the disease was approved by the FDA. Washington Post
  56. Since 2000, the number of democratic countries has risen from 90 to 97, including 11 countries that became democratic for the first time ever, and in 2019, 2 billion people in 50 countries voted, the largest number in history.
  57. The 2019 Global Terrorism Index  revealed that deaths from terrorism decreased by 15.2% last year, the fourth consecutive year of improvement. The overall number of terror attacks fell by a third, deaths halved, and attacks by Daesh fell by 71%.
  58. Surgeons place trauma patients in suspended animation for the first time.
  59. A.I. allowed a paralyzed person to 'handwrite' using his mind.
  60. And of course, Game of Thrones.

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