Depending where you fall on the political spectrum, 2016 has been either a wonderful or disastrous year. 

With rising food costs and the death of many household names, many of us are happy to leave the year behind. But life in 2016 hasn’t been all bad. Here are seven positive developments you might have missed:

1. Global poverty has been drastically reduced

In 2005, 20 per cent of the world lived below $1.90 a day, now it’s nearer 10 per cent. Real progress is being made.

2. We're all living longer

Life expectancy rates aren't just increasing in the UK. It's happening around the world. In 2000 the world average life expectancy was 66.4. Today is is 71.4. The infant mortality rate has dropped too - there’s been a 71 per cent reduction in malaria infant deaths in Africa since 2000.

3. Good news for our environment

There's been a 21% increase in wild tigers since 2010. The ozone layer is repairing itself (after we got rid of those aerosol chemicals) and volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours. Amazing!

4. The web is becoming more accessible 

Facebook and Twitter announced new features to enable visually impaired users to hear audio descriptions of photos. Although there’s a long way to go, it’s encouraging that they are working towards being inclusive.

5. The Olympics was open to all

Not only were the Paralympics a great success, but ten refugee athletes competed in the Rio Olympics as Team Refugee Olympic Athletes.

6. People getting wet did some good

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Turns out, the social media campaign which saw people chucking buckets of ice water over themselves in the summer of 2015 actually did some good! As awareness was raised about ALS research, people donated to fund research and...there was a real breakthrough! Scientists have identified a gene which contributes to the disease, which means we now have a potential target for developing therapies.

7. We no longer need to feel guilty for drinking loads of coffee

Coffee consumption has been proven to be decrease cancer and lower suicide rates. Thanks a latte, science! 

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