Anyone who is even a passive consumer of news has reason to worry about the future of their children and grandchildren. News 24/7 has us convinced the Apocalypse is around every corner. Here’s some good news. Maclean’s magazine editors in the Jan. 19 issue claim a baby born in Canada in 2015 is the luckiest in the world. They list 51 reasons why today is the best time to be alive and Canadian. Despite concerns about obesity and diabetes, Statistics Canada says a baby born this year can expect to see his or her 80th birthday thanks to health care and good living standards. This compares to a person born in 1915 who could expect to live fewer than 60 years. There are even predictions that a third of today’s babies will live to be 100. Babies Josh and Jenny are more likely to be taller than their parents and grandparents and they will have better teeth because they have access to nutritional food and good dental care. In 1972, almost a quarter of the population had false teeth. Today, Statistics Canada says denture wearers account for only 6.4 percent of the population. The world may not be a safer place according to the Atomic Scientists who set the Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight, but today’s baby is less likely to be murdered or die in a traffic or plane accident. Statistics indicate a decline in these types of tragedies. Baby is living in the most highly-education country in the world: more than half of the adult population is a university or college graduate. Educated parents are more likely to encourage their children to seek higher learning. An education may cost more today than it did 20 years ago but the number of bursaries available to students has risen to $1.6 billion from $150 million in 1990, according to Maclean’s. Seventy percent of Canadians own their own homes. A median family’s net worth of $244,000 compares to $137,000 in 1999. Our poorest citizens are still many times better off than most of the world’s population. The safety nets have holes but Canadians remain protective of our social policies. Young people are taught as early as kindergarten about environmental issues and baby will grow up knowing his or her three Rs. There are indications today’s Millennials consume less stuff, use public transit or bicycles more for transportation, and vote with their wallets for companies that do their part for the environment. Canadian babies are lucky but that doesn’t mean they won’t face some challenges in their lifetime. It is all part of growing up.
This column appears in the Spring/Summer issue 2015 of Sudbury Living Parents.