How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (2023)

UNITED NATIONS, New York -Twenty years ago, the international community came together in Cairo, Egypt, to study how the world is changing and how those changes are affecting the most vulnerable. At the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) meeting in 1994, the world agreed that population issues, including voluntary family planning, maternal and child health, migration and gender equality, are not just about about counting people, but about making sure that every person counts.

At the conference, 179 governments signed the ICPD Program of Action, which recognizes that women, their rights and equality are global development priorities. Governments have committed to: guarantee universal access to services and rights related to voluntary family planning, sexual and reproductive health; ensure gender equality and equal access to education; address the effects of urbanization and migration; and support sustainable development.

Today's world is completely different, transformed by the digital revolution and advances in medicine and human knowledge. But has it changed as you might expect?

Below, UNFPA reflects on some of the biggest differences in our world and what more needs to be done.

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (1)

1. The world currently has the largest generation of young people in history.

Youth and young people aged 10-24 accounted for 28% of the world's population in 2010. The world needs to invest in the needs and rights of this group, supporting their access to quality healthcare and education, secure job opportunities paid and free from abuses such as early marriages and pregnancies.1

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (2)

2. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty has nearly halved, but economic inequality is now increasing.

The percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 to 47 percent. in 1990 to 22 percent. in 2010. However, rising inequality could undermine these gains.

Today, 8 percent of the world's population owns 82 percent of the world's wealth, and more than a billion people still live in extreme poverty without access to social protection, decent work, public health, or education. The gains made in the last 20 years cannot be sustained if we do not address inequality.1,2

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (3)

3. In the last 20 years, the world population has increased by about a quarter, from 5.66 billion to 7.24 billion.

Every one of the world's 7.2 billion people, and everyone else to come, deserves to have their human rights and dignity respected and protected. This includes ensuring equal rights for women and universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.3

4. But the population grows more slowly.

Twenty years ago, the population grew by 1.52 percent. annually. Today it has risen 1.15%. annually. On the current trajectory, we can expect the world population to reach 9.55 billion by 2050.1,3Population growth has slowed as...

5. Women give birth to fewer children.

In 1994, the average woman had three children. Currently, the fertility rate is about 2.5 children per woman. Lower fertility means better outcomes for women, as pregnancy carries risks that increase a woman's chance of dying.

Yet fertility rates remain high in some of the world's poorest places. In 18 countries, the fertility rate is at least five children per woman.1,3

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (4)

6. Teenage birth rates have been reduced by 50 percent or more in many countries.

Adolescent fertility rates have declined. Despite this, 20,000 girls under the age of 18 give birth every day in developing countries. Each year 70,000 adolescents die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.3,4

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (5)

7. Contraceptive use has increased in the last two decades, but there is still a great unmet need.

Most women say they want two to four children. Safe and modern contraceptives and family planning services help women achieve these goals by preventing unwanted pregnancies.

However, between 2008 and 2012, the proportion of married women in developing countries who used modern contraceptives only changed from 56% to 57%. Approximately 222 million women do not have access to modern contraceptive methods.5,6,7

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (6)

8. The number of maternal deaths has been reduced by almost half.

Since 1994, deaths related to complications during pregnancy and childbirth have been reduced by 47 percent. In those days, there were more than half a million maternal deaths each year.

But more needs to be done. Today, 800 maternal deaths occur every day, and the leading causes—postpartum hemorrhage, sepsis, birth defects, complications from unsafe abortion, and hypertensive disorders—are all preventable.1,3

9. Child deaths have been cut almost in half.

Deaths of children under five years of age fell from 90 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 48 per 1,000 live births in 2012. An important factor contributing to this decline is the increase in education for women and girls. When women and girls are educated, they are empowered to make better decisions for themselves and their families. Girls' education is associated with lower rates of child marriage, lower rates of teen pregnancy, and greater access to health care for mothers and children, all of which improve child survival.1,7,8

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (7)

10. The number of deliveries taking place under the care of a skilled caregiver (doctor, midwife or nurse) has increased.

The proportion of deliveries attended by skilled medical personnel has increased in developing countries, from 56% in 1990 to 67% in 2011. Skilled attendance at delivery is one of the most important ways to ensure a safe delivery for both mother and child. for the baby This, along with increased access to prenatal care, emergency maternity care, and family planning services, explains much of the decline in maternal deaths.1,6,7

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (8)

11. Globally, life expectancy has increased by 5.2 years.

Life expectancy increased from 64.8 years in 1990-1995 to 70 years in 2010-2015. The largest increases were registered in the least developed countries, where life expectancy increased by 8.9 years.

Yet too many women die prematurely, often from pregnancy-related causes or extreme poverty, as a result of their inferior status around the world.1,3

12. Fewer abortions are performed.

Globally, abortion rates have decreased from 35 per 1,000 women in 1995 to 29 per 1,000 women in 2008. This has resulted in a decline in the total number of abortions, despite population growth.

But improving access to sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, would further reduce those numbers. Addressing unmet need for family planning would prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions by 26 million.1,5,9

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (9)

13. The number of people infected with HIV/AIDS has been drastically reduced.

Between 2001 and 2012, the number of new HIV infections fell by 33 percent. Despite these advances, more can still be done to prevent the spread of the disease, especially among young people. In 2009, 41 percent of new HIV infections occurred in young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education helps young people protect themselves against STIs, including HIV.1,9,10

14. But there has been a significant increase in serious and treatable sexually transmitted infections.

The incidence of the four major treatable STDs (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis) has skyrocketed among people ages 15 to 49, from 333 million cases in 1995 to 499 million cases in 2008. This development highlights the importance of equip young people with the sexual and reproductive health knowledge and services they need to stay healthy.1,9

15. More people are dying from non-communicable diseases.

Deaths from noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases increased by 30 percent between 1990 and 2010. Most of these diseases are strongly linked to four harmful behaviors that often begin in adolescence: smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise and poor nutrition.

Teens need to be given the tools to protect themselves from these and other harms. Lifelong health education must start with young people along with comprehensive sexuality education.1,9

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (10)

16. There are more boys in school than ever before, with the biggest increase among girls.

Primary enrollment rates rose from more than three-quarters in 1990 to around 90% in 2010. This is a particularly strong victory for girls, who have achieved parity in primary enrollment in most countries . Girls with access to education can avoid teen pregnancy and have better access to health care and livelihoods. They and their future families are healthier and more likely to lift themselves out of poverty.

However, gender inequalities in education persist, with girls lagging behind boys in secondary school enrollment.1,11,12,13,14

How has the world changed in the last 20 years? (11)

17. The world is increasingly urbanized.

The world's urban population grew by 1.6 billion between 1994 and 2014. More than half of the world's population now lives in cities.

However, much of this growth is happening in the slums. In 1990, more than 650 million people lived in slums. In 2010, that number was 820 million. Impoverished women and girls in urban areas are particularly vulnerable: they are less likely to access reproductive health, education and security services.1,3,14

18. More people are migrating than ever before.

There are more international immigrants than ever. In 1990, 154 million people left their home countries in search of new opportunities. In 2013, that number was 232 million.

Migration offers significant opportunities and helps fuel growth. But it can also expose migrants, especially women and girls, to abuses such as human trafficking, exploitation and discrimination.1,3,14

19. The world is getting old.

Older people, ages 60 and older, are the fastest growing age group in the world. The number of older people increased from 490 million in 1990 to 765 million in 2010.

The world needs to do more to meet the needs of this group, including through systems and social protection to ensure their safety and meaningful participation in society.1,3

20. Record numbers of people are displaced within their countries as a result of conflict or violence, disproportionately affecting women and girls.

Gender-based violence is often exacerbated by conflict and displacement; protections are removed and sexual violence is used as a tactic of war. Twenty years ago, the world saw record numbers of people internally displaced by armed conflict. However, the current figures are even higher: in 2012, 28.8 million people were internally displaced due to conflict, violence or human rights violations. In addition, an estimated 15.4 million people have been forced to leave their countries as refugees.1,14

Much more work to do

And there are many other reasons why the world hasn't changed enough.

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage remain common in many parts of the world, even in countries where the practice has been banned. Every year, 3 million girls, most of whom are under the age of 15, are at risk of FGM/C. And if current trends continue, 142 million more girls will be married before the age of 18 by 2020.

Gender-based violence remains a global epidemic. It is estimated that one in three women experiences physical or sexual violence, most of the time by an intimate partner. And in a recent survey of 10,000 men in Asia and the Pacific, one in four admitted to rape.

Discrimination against women continues in every community around the world and the belief in gender equality is not yet widespread. Women are still denied equal access to opportunity and the ability to determine the direction of their lives.

This week, the United Nations Commission on Population and Development will hold its 47th session to address many of these issues, reviewing the progress made and the important work that remains to be done. As the last 20 years have shown, human rights, including the rights of women and girls, must be placed at the center of global development.

– Rebecca Zerzan

1. Framework for follow-up to the Post-2014 Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, Report of the Secretary General, distributed on February 12, 2014, A/69/62
ICPD Sustainability Fact Sheet , February 2014
3. Global Population Trends, Report of the Secretary-General, January 21, 2014, E/CN.9/2014/3
State of the world population: a mother in childhood facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy , 2013
5. Singh Si Darroch JE,
Adding Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services - 2012 Estimates , Nowy Jork: Guttmacher Institute and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2012
ICPD Global Review Report Press Release
7. ICPD Beyond 2014 – Framework for Action, Summary na temat ustaleń ICPD Beyond 2014 Review,Powerpoint Presentation
8. A renewed promise , UNICEF, September 2013
ICPD Health Fact Sheet , February 2014
Report on the global AIDS epidemic , UNAIDS, 2013
ICPD fact sheet on dignity and human rights , February 2014
Report on the state of the world's children , UNICEF, 1994
Report on the state of the world's children , UNICEF, 2014
ICPD fact sheet on location and mobility , February 2014


What changes have happened in the last 20 years? ›

Take a look at some of the most dramatic transformations the world has undergone in just two decades.
  • The global population has exploded. ...
  • And more and more people are living in cities. ...
  • Buildings are reaching previously unimaginable heights. ...
  • The internet has changed the way we do … ...
  • Social media has taken over.
Mar 29, 2018

How is our world changing? ›

Change is everywhere and major sources of concern include: The global demographic explosion, pollution and environmental degradation, the Sixth Mass Extinction of species, accelerating climate change and the continuing weaknesses displayed by democracies together with the multiplication of autocracies in low and middle ...

How things have changed over time? ›

Top Ten Things That Have Changed the Most Over the Years
  • 1 Technology. Well, let's compare the 1900s to the 2010s. ...
  • 2 Culture. Today, our culture's definitely more sensitive and more sheltered. ...
  • 3 Communication. Agree! ...
  • 4 Social Skills. Everybody communicates online. ...
  • 5 Language. ...
  • 6 Entertainment. ...
  • 7 Sciences. ...
  • 8 Religion.

What are some of the biggest changes in the last 100 years in the world? ›

The most important change which has taken place in the last 100 years is the shift in the power structure of the world. In the early 19th century, the world was dominated by the British Empire and was called “Pax Britannica.” The British and European colonial tutelage declined after the end of World War II.

What are the biggest changes in life? ›

Examples of Challenging Life Transitions
  • Marriage or a new relationship.
  • Arrival of a new baby.
  • Parenting an infant, child, or adolescent.
  • Growing up and moving away from home.
  • Adjustment to college or the workplace.
  • Empty nesting.
  • Divorce, separation, or recovery from infidelity.
  • Retirement, job loss, or career changes.

What are examples of world changes? ›

4 Ways the World Is Changing for the Better
  • Life Expectancy Has Gone Up. It's clear and simple: people are living longer today — and in better health — than they were decades ago. ...
  • Diseases Are Going Away. What used to plague us is now on the decline. ...
  • More People Are Getting An Education. ...
  • Fewer People Are Living In Poverty.
Dec 20, 2021

What are 3 things to change about the world? ›

10 Ways You Can Change The World
  • #1. Commit to learning. ...
  • #2. Treat others how you want to be treated. ...
  • #3. Spend less time online and more time with people. ...
  • #4. Practice gratitude. ...
  • #5. Volunteer to causes you care about. ...
  • #6. Put your money where your values are. ...
  • #7. Donate instead of throwing out. ...
  • #8. Treat the environment well.
Mar 5, 2023

What is an example of change over time? ›

Note that the wings of an individual moth did not change from white to black over its lifetime. Instead, the proportion of white and black wings in the entire moth population changed over about 50 years' time. This is evolution in action.

What has changed in the last 40 years? ›

40 Ways Being 40 Has Changed in the Last 40 Years
  • You're Less Likely to Be Married. Shutterstock. ...
  • You're Less Likely to Have Kids. ...
  • You're More Tech-Savvy. ...
  • You're Less Likely to Own a Home. ...
  • You're No Longer Middle Aged. ...
  • You're Less Likely to Own a Car. ...
  • You're Still In Your Prime. ...
  • You're More Likely to Be Well-Educated.
Jun 8, 2018

What was the biggest change in the 20th century? ›

The 20th century was dominated by significant events that defined the modern era: the sixth mass extinction, Spanish flu pandemic, World War I and World War II, nuclear weapons, nuclear power and space exploration, nationalism and decolonization, the Cold War and post-Cold War conflicts, and technological advances.

What will happen in the next 100 years due to climate change? ›

Over the next century, it is expected that sea ice will continue to decline, glaciers will continue to shrink, snow cover will continue to decrease, and permafrost will continue to thaw. Potential changes to ice, snow, and permafrost are described below.

How was the world different 100 years ago? ›

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower. The average US worker made between $200-$400 each year. More than 95 percent of all births took place at home. Sugar was 4 cents a pound, eggs were 14 cents a dozen, coffee was 15 cents a pound.

What are 5 things you would change about the world? ›

If you need some inspiration or a motivational kick in the butt, here are 20 things worth changing:
  • Limited access to electricity. ...
  • Poor treatment of animals. ...
  • Underfunded green technologies. ...
  • Bullying. ...
  • The shortage of jobs. ...
  • Public education. ...
  • Time and gravity. ...
  • The traditional career mentality.
Sep 7, 2012

What are the 5 ideas that change the world? ›

The author has five ideas that change the world which are Nationalism, Industrialism, Colonialism, Communism and Internationalism.

What are the 10 changes around us? ›

  • Crumpling a sheet of aluminum foil.
  • Melting an ice cube.
  • Casting silver in a mold.
  • Breaking a bottle.
  • Boiling water.
  • Evaporating alcohol.
  • Shredding paper.
  • Sublimation of dry ice into carbon dioxide vapor.

What brings change in life? ›

Change allows us to move forward in life and experience new and exciting things. When you don't actively work on evolving yourself, life can become stagnant. Learning new skills or working on your inner self can bring about changes you never knew were possible.

What are the changes around us in our daily life? ›

There are many real-life examples of changes which are mentioned below:
  • Rising of sun.
  • Rusting of iron.
  • Melting of ice.
  • Elongation of a spring.
  • Cooking of food.
  • Germination of seeds.
  • Folding of a paper.
  • Growing of plants and.
Dec 23, 2022

Is the world changed or has changed? ›

When you're talking about the act of changing, you have to say "It has changed" (and you're talking about the time that it changed). But if you say "It is changed", you are talking about the state after the act of changing. For example: The policy has changed (referring to the time that it changed).

What is the one thing you would change about the world? ›

"I would change extreme weather conditions, for example: hurricanes; tsunamis; blizzards; etc. The number of lives saved as well as money would be amazing." "If wishing made it so, I would like to see delay-free health care available to everyone in the world whenever needed."

What would you change to make the world better? ›

Advocating for positive change, participating in volunteerism, and challenging your negative thoughts are things that can make the world a better place. Try protesting injustices, recycle, and spread informative news that will motivate people to do better in the world.

What does it mean to change the world? ›

People who "change the world" make big political, technological, or scientific changes and bring them into the lives of many people.

What are two examples of changes that led to the modern world? ›

Technological advances such as industrialization, railroads, gas lighting, streetcars, factory systems, indoor plumbing, appliances, and scientific advances were rapidly made and these changes dramatically affected the way people lived and thought about themselves.

What are the things that change in nature? ›

The processes of natural change include geo- logic changes, plant and animal succession, and change as a response to weather. Geologic change refers to the way the land may be altered as the result of erosion, uplift, or volcanism. Succession refers to plant and animal changes in an ecosystem over time.

What are 4 examples of change? ›

Examples of chemical changes are burning, cooking, rusting, and rotting. Examples of physical changes are boiling, melting, freezing, and shredding.

Why is nature always changing? ›

Ecosystems are constantly in a state of change due to competition amongst wildlife. Natural disasters or human activity may disrupt the way an ecosystem is functioning.

What living things change over time? ›

All organisms, including humans, evolve over time. Evolution occurs through natural selection, and is a force that has shaped every organism living today.

What are 6 examples of changes in matter? ›

Common changes of the state include melting, freezing, sublimation, deposition, condensation, and vaporization. These changes are shown in the figure given below.

What are some things that happened 50 years ago? ›

10 Moments from 50 Years Ago that Touch Our Lives Today
  • January 4: The First Pocket Calculator. ...
  • January 5: Nixon Orders the Space Shuttle. ...
  • January 25: Shirley Chisholm Announces Her Run. ...
  • February 4: Mariner 9 Sends Vacation Pictures. ...
  • March 22: The Equal Rights Amendment Goes to the States. ...
  • May 22: The Video Game Age Begins.
Jan 7, 2022

What happened in 2010 in America? ›

2010 – The Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico explodes, spilling millions of gallons of oil into the sea. The spill becomes the worst oil spill in American history. 2010 – In the 2010 Midterm elections, the Republicans retake the House of Representatives as the Democrats lose 63 seats.

What ideas changed the world in the 20th century? ›

Time Magazine's 20 Most Influential Inventions of the 20th Century
  • Radio.
  • Television.
  • Transistor.
  • Laser.
  • Electric refrigeration.
  • Personal computer.
  • Wireless technology.
  • Manned spaceflight.

How did life change in the 20th century? ›

The 20th century saw the invention of the motor car which was to transform people's lives. Two world wars led to millions of deaths and even more injured. Man began exploring space and landed on the moon. The invention of computers revolutionised the way people worked and affected most aspects of life.

How did society change in the 20th century? ›

The second half of the twentieth century brought technological change and Second Wave feminism, challenged stereotypes and changing the aspirations and lives of many women. By the middle of the twentieth century, a technological revolution had begun in the home.

What will the environment be like in 2030? ›

The study, published Jan. 30 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides new evidence that global warming is on track to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial averages in the early 2030s, regardless of how much greenhouse gas emissions rise or fall in the coming decade.

How bad will climate be in 2030? ›

It says that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around “the first half of the 2030s,” as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas.

What will the next 100 years be like? ›

The earth would become warmer, the average temperature will increase. There will be several new weather patterns and the sea levels would rise. Eventually humans would die out. If the insect population continues to decline, all birds that depend on insect for food will become extinct.

What life was like 100 years ago compared to now? ›

Life Expectancy Was Shorter

In the United States, the life expectancy for men in 1920 was around 53.6 years. For women, it was 54.6 years. If you compare that number to today's average life expectancy of 78.93 years, you can see just how much better we are doing!

What wasn t around 100 years ago? ›

Take a look around your home — 100 years ago, there were no fridges, or microwaves, or hairdryers, and very rarely did someone have a bathroom, let alone two or three. Your medicine cabinet wouldn't be filled with Advil or Tylenol, but over-the-counter heroin or mercury.

How technology has changed our lives in the last 100 years? ›

Some of the technologies include instantaneous communication, realistic looking games, information at the tip of you fingers, and personal computers. These are some of technologies that affect our lives so much. Without them, we could not call it the modern age of man kind.

What major event changed the 20s? ›

Two events in 1920 kicked off the era of change that Americans experienced. On August 18 the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, giving women the right to vote. And on November 2 the first commercially licensed radio broadcast was heard, from KDKA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What major changes happened in the 20th century? ›

The 20th century was dominated by significant events that defined the modern era: the sixth mass extinction, Spanish flu pandemic, World War I and World War II, nuclear weapons, nuclear power and space exploration, nationalism and decolonization, the Cold War and post-Cold War conflicts, and technological advances.

What things have changed back then? ›

All the things that have changed over the years
  • Television.
  • Penicillin.
  • Polio shots.
  • Frozen foods.
  • Xerox.
  • Contact lenses.
  • Frisbees.
  • The pill.
Dec 31, 2019

What are the 20s known for? ›

In the Roaring Twenties, a surging economy created an era of mass consumerism, as Jazz-Age flappers flouted Prohibition laws and the Harlem Renaissance redefined arts and culture.

What was popular thing in the 20s? ›

Wonder Bread, Baby Ruth candy bars, Kool-Aid, Welch's Grape Jelly, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Wheaties, Hostess Cakes… Sound familiar? These all popped up during the 1920s. On September 16th, 1920, someone piloted a horse-drawn cart into the heart of Wall Street during the lunch rush.

What is the Roaring 20s in history? ›

Roaring Twenties, colloquial term for the 1920s, especially within the United States and other Western countries where the decade was characterized by economic prosperity, rapid social and cultural change, and a mood of exuberant optimism.

What was happening in America during the 20th century? ›

America emerged from World War I in 1918 as an important global player, and by the end of World War II in 1945, it was one of two global superpowers, the other being the Soviet Union. Mid-20th century America was marked by economic prosperity, technological innovations, and sweeping cultural changes.

What is an example of history changing over time? ›

Examples of large-scale historical change include epochal change (feudalism to capitalism); the development of modern states in Europe; scientific and technological revolutions; evolution of institutional rules and systems of law; longterm demographic transition; and other noteworthy examples.

What are 5 things that will never change? ›

There are certain facts of life that we cannot change—the unavoidable “givens” of human existence: (1) everything changes and ends, (2) things do not always go according to plan, (3) life is not always fair, (4) pain is a part of life, and (5) people are not loving and loyal all the time.

What has no change over the year? ›

Answer: The sea has not changed over the years. It suggests that the prominent features of nature do not change much. Human beings come and go, but nature always remains.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dong Thiel

Last Updated: 31/08/2023

Views: 5903

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dong Thiel

Birthday: 2001-07-14

Address: 2865 Kasha Unions, West Corrinne, AK 05708-1071

Phone: +3512198379449

Job: Design Planner

Hobby: Graffiti, Foreign language learning, Gambling, Metalworking, Rowing, Sculling, Sewing

Introduction: My name is Dong Thiel, I am a brainy, happy, tasty, lively, splendid, talented, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.