The Pew Research Center recently asked 43,000 respondents in 38 countries whether life is better today than 50 years ago. Back in 1967, the Cold War was tense, the United States was facing widespread riots, the war in Vietnam was escalating and Israel fought the Six Day War with its neighbors. In those days, somebody commuting to work would not be surrounded by people staring at their smartphones and hooked up headphones, while something like the internet was totally beyond comprehension. The research found a deep sense of division, despite all of the advancements made over the past five decades.
Considering that their country was being torn apart by a brutal war in the late 60s, it comes as little surprise that 88 percent of people in Vietnam consider themselves better off today. Pew found that countries that are positive about their economic situation tend to be more upbeat today than 50 years ago. That can be seen in India which has seen its economy develop rapidly in recent years. 17 percent of people in India say things are worse off today than in 1967 while 69 percent think things are better. South Korea and Japan, two other countries who underwent massive economic transformations in the past 50 years, are also very positive.
In the United States, things are gloomier whith 41 percent of people feeling worse off today. France and Italy are also negative with 46 and 50 percent of respondents feeling worse off now than in 1967 respectively.
This chart shows responses to the question: "is life in our country better or worse today than it was 50 years ago?"
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