What Was the Best Decade to Live in?

June 14, 2023

While it is always tempting to reminisce about the era in which one grew up, what really matters is the quality of life today. This was a point driven home when a Swedish academic recently tweeted that the 2010s were the best decade to live in based on data showing dramatic reductions in the prevalence of a number of global ills, including extreme poverty, hunger, child mortality, illiteracy and AIDS deaths.

While many people agree that the ’90s were a great decade, opinions are more mixed when it comes to other periods in recent history. For example, a much larger percentage of older Americans (50%) have negative rather than positive views about the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

By contrast, six-in-ten adults think that the 2010s were the best decade to have lived through. However, when compared with other decades in the past half-century, this positive image masks a smaller-than-expected reduction in the rate of progress on most of Johan’s indicators.

When asked about the best musical era, most Americans vote for the 1980s. This was a decade that gave birth to the Spice Girls, RUN DMC, Hanson and *NSYNC as well as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. It was also the time of big hair, leg warmers, spandex and baggy clothes as well as the resurgence of pure, bubblegum pop music that included groups like R&B band The Backstreet Boys. It was the era when MTV launched and bands had to adjust to the new medium of visual presentation.


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