200 Years of Health and Wealth in 200 Countries Video

Hans Rosling, a world renowned medical doctor and statistician, spent a lifetime collecting health and wealth data from over 200 countries. This video is the result of that data assimilation compiled and animated to show and predict the average health and wealth for each country and continent. I find it fascinating to see how the United States ranks in comparison to the emerging superpowers.

While the Hans Rosling video does not directly map real estate, the content matter certainly correlates. As I watched the United States rise during the industrial revolution and post WWI boom, I realized that I had seen statistical housing charts that mirrored the Rosling animation. In fact, Bill Marsh of the New York Times had recently mapped Robert Shiller’s historical home prices through 2006.

click to enlarge graph
Case Shiller historical home prices

The anomaly that grabs my immediate attention is that both Rosling’s and Shiller’s data track very closely until 1998 when home prices outpace the average wealth exponentially. Granted, the Shiller data needs to be updated for the last 5 years, but until the average US home price in aggregate returns to 2000 levels +/- 2 years, we may continue to experience a very soft national real estate market. That does not mean don’t buy real estate. That means, buy real estate below replacement cost in the areas of historical desirability and you’ll be just fine. The American dream is still homeownership, but it’s no longer the white picket fence version.

Updated Hans Rosling Video

  • Anonymous

    This is really interesting stuff. It makes me wonder if the U.S. and other developed countries will continue to increase at the same pace, or if the current policies of the European and American administrations toward equality will stunt our progress. What role does the global economy and technology have in enabling this trend toward economic and physical equality? As the Dollar and Euro lose ground to the other currencies of the world, it appears that the housing market and others can only expect to find a ‘new normal’ and our strong pace (in age and income) which once depended on taking advantage of cheap, overseas products and labor has itself has created new competition from a world that now trades 1’s and 0’s instantly, ironically shrinking the gap that set us apart.

  • http://www.granthammond.com/ Grant Hammond

    You make an excellent point about the new global economy actually limiting our ability to grow our national wealth (I’m not too sure this applies to our health as directly). It’s sort of like when you are in a canoe race with 199 other competitors. Typically, the strongest paddler would win the race, but in a global economy, many of these canoes are tied together collectively paddling. Naturally, the stronger paddlers are carrying the weight, but the weaker paddlers are now holding the entire flotilla back. In this case, that flotilla could be the American dollar or gross economic output. For a better real world example, look at the US Military. We are clearly the best educated and trained military in the world. Nary a skirmish can break out half way around the world before leaders on that part of the planet call on the US to intervene or aid in creating a military plan. This stretches our military resources across many battlefields weakening their overall focus and affecting performance. Had the military been able to concentrate on a singular task, that task would have been completed much sooner and efficiently. Instead, many other canoes have tied themselves to the US Military’s and created a window of opportunity for other country’s militaries to catch up while we carry out tasks. It’s not progress, it’s just action.

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