NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cato Also Commemorates The Progress Of A Century

December 8, 2000

Two Cato Institute scholars have published a book celebrating the progress made during the 20th century. Titled "It's Getting Better All the Time," it was written by Stephen Moore and the late Julian L. Simon.

Here are a few of their observations:

  • The 19th century was an era of tuberculosis, typhoid, sanitariums, child labor, child death, horses, horse manure, candles, 12-hour work days, Jim Crow laws, tenements, slaughter houses and outhouses.
  • Lynchings were common back then.
  • About one in four American children in the 19th century perished before the age of 14.
  • Illiteracy in developing countries has plummeted from 70 percent to 20 percent in the past 100 years.

Only one in 20 youths received a college degree in 1900, compared with one in four today. At the beginning of the century, few women attended college. But today they outnumber men on campuses. Only 1 percent of black Americans attained a college degree before the 1920s. Today, 20 percent do.

Source: Julia Duin, "Book Notes a Century of Advances," Washington Times, December 8, 2000.


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