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The Pursuit of Human Well-Being

The Pursuit of Human Well-Being was a three year landmark book project of Halloran Philanthropies which tells the remarkable story of the journey of human wellbeing throughout the world. The Pursuit of Human Wellbeing uncovered extraordinary findings in human wellbeing which have occurred primarily since the end of World War II.

The Human Development Index (HDI), developed by the United Nations, was the primary metric used to assess the social and economic development of countries over time. The gains in wellbeing throughout the world were particularly dramatic from 1980 to 2014, and the driving forces behind the gains were many and varied. All the regions in the world experienced significant improvements in life expectancy, health, education and poverty reduction.

Sharing major findings & discoveries from the “Pursuit of Human Well-being”

Life Expectancy

Today, two things are true: there is a continuing high rate of child fertility combined with high rate of population aging. The dramatic increase in life expectancy during the 20th century ranks as one of the world’s greatest accomplishments.

Infant/Child Mortality

Infant and child mortality, which have posed major threats to child survival worldwide, are now at historically low levels, down over 90% from 1990. Vaccinations against crippling childhood diseases—now reach nearly 80% of the world’s infants and children.


Education is a cornerstone that advances individual and community wellbeing. Governments today are now investing more resources to educate their citizens. One of the most remarkable results in education is the progress in adult literacy. Global adult literacy reached 85.3% in 2012.


40% of the world lived in poverty in 1990. Twenty-five years later poverty dropped to 10% in the world. Imagine… poverty was reduced by 1 billion people in 25 years! Poverty fell yesterday by 137,000 people and it fell every day by 137,000 people for the past 25 years.

Happiness & Life Satisfaction

The biggest gains in life satisfaction are found among African countries. This is likely related to access to energy, health, education and infrastructure services. According to the Gallup World Happiness Report,10 of the top 11 happiest countries in the world are in Latin America.

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