Need a little boost in your national self-esteem? BuzzFeed videos had an inkling that was the case. Amidst global political crises, a seemingly never-ending winter, and everything else that can get Americans down on a day-to-day basis, the website’s video team gathered surprising and uplifting statistics on generosity, health and education, the environment, and progress. Set to cheery music by Warner/Chapell, the compilation of statistics can’t help but affirm our belief in the continual renewal of America.
Philanthropy is a reliable indicator of any nation’s well-being, and the video kicked off with a good reminder of that: In 2013, Americans gave $416.7 billion in charity, a 13 percent increase from 2012. “In 2013 we experienced a fantastic, record-setting year for charitable giving in the United States,” Rob Mitchell, CEO of the philanthropy tracker Atlas of Giving, which determined the amount, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Stock market growth fueled much of the giving, but improving employment, growing real estate values, a lack of inflation, low interest rates and acceleration in the GDP also helped to make 2013 an especially stronger year. Breaking the $400 billion mark is a historic event that bolsters U.S. dominance of world philanthropy.”
It turns out, generosity wasn’t only reflected in monetary donations. According to the video, 70 percent of Americans reported having helped a total stranger in the last year. Though the type of help wasn’t specified, a different statistic stated that half of the population said they would donate a kidney to a stranger in need.
And of course, no recent example better illuminates a growing trend of giving back than the case of Miles Scott, the 5-year-old cancer survivor-turned Batkid. As the video adorably shows, over 12,000 volunteers turned San Francisco into Gotham City on Nov. 15, 2013, to help Scott’s dream come true.
Children across the country had a good year overall, as well. Statistics show that obesity rates have leveled off for the first time in 30 years; obesity amongst young children in general has declined 43 percent since 2004. As the video shows, those children are coming of age in a more educated society.  There are now more public libraries in America than McDonald’s. Meanwhile, nationwide high school and college graduation rates are the highest they’ve been in 40 years.
As for the environment, some promising signs have emerged despite growing concern over climate change. Since 2006, the U.S. has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 7.7 percent. And notoriously smoggy Los Angeles’ air pollution reduced by 50 percent between 2002-2010.
Perhaps the most interesting stat came at the end. Patriotism spiked sharply immediately after 9/11, but the ensuing years, with wars, a tanked economy, and political strife, have tempered strong nationalistic fever.  Those potentially disastrous events didn’t bring us all down, though—it gave some perspective. According to BuzzFeed’s video, less than half the population believes the USA is better than everyone. That’s an 11 percent decrease over the past decade.
And fortunately, the clip ended on an even more upbeat note. American millennials are the most ethnically diverse, politically progressive, optimistic generation in U.S. history. With that kind of profile, we have many more faith-restoring facts to look forward to.