is an easy-to-use desktop reference to the trends that are shaping our future. Covering everything from wind energy to sea level rise to military expenditures, and more, Vital Signs
uses succinct analysis, graphs, and tables to take the world's pulse on critical environmental and social issues. Some of the most compelling facts and trends from Vital Signs
2005 and Vital Signs
2003 are compiled here within this online portal.
Global production of crude steel increased 8.8 percent in 2004, the first year in which steel output passed the billion-ton threshold. Steel consumption closely shadows economic growth in general, and China's hot economy is expected to make it the driver in global use in the near term. Steel consumption in China is expected to increase by more than 10 percent in 2005, and this one nation is projected to account for 61 percent of total growth this year.
In 1992, only one in 237 people worldwide used a mobile phone. A decade later, by 2002, this had soared to one in five.
Foreign debt of developing and former Eastern Bloc nations dropped to $2.44 trillion in 2001, down from 2.59 trillion in 2000. Some 78 percent of the debt in 2001 was owed by middle-income nations.
Global advertising expenditures hit $444 billion in 2002. The United States accounted for more than half of the total advertising market, or $235 billion.
December 1 is World AIDS Day. In 2002, average life expectancy in 16 African nations was at least ten years lower than it would have been without the advent of AIDS. In sub-Saharan Africa, home to 70 percent of the world’s HIV-positive people, AIDS is now the leading cause of death.
About 80 percent of the world depends on traditional and complementary/alternative medicine for treating and curing illness. According to the World Health Organization, traditional medicine (TM) refers to ways of protecting and restoring health that existed before the arrival of modern medicine.
The global economy has grown sevenfold since 1950. Meanwhile, the disparity in per capita gross domestic product between the 20 richest and 20 poorest nations more than doubled between 1960 and 1995.
Corruption—the misuse of public power for private benefit—is difficult to measure because officials who take bribes try to hide such activity. Yet those nations perceived by business people and risk analysts as most corrupt in 2002 are geographically widespread, and include Bangladesh, Nigeria, Angola, Madagascar, Paraguay, Indonesia, and Kenya.
With less than five percent of the world’s population, the United States is responsible for a large share of the world’s fossil fuel burden, accounting for 26 percent of global oil use, 25 percent of coal consumption, and 27 percent of natural gas use.
The year 2002 was the second hottest since record keeping began in the 1880s. The global average temperature climbed to 14.52 degrees Celsius. The nine warmest years on record have occurred since 1990, and scientists expect that the temperature record set in 1998 will be surpassed by a new high in 2003.