An Oxford University economist has made an important discovery: The world is getting better.

Professor Max Roser crunched the numbers and finds that (1) democracy is spreading and (2) economies grow faster in areas with democratic rule.

“The countries that have democratised first are mostly those countries that first achieved economic growth,” Roser writes in his online project, Our World in Data. “The present rates of economic growth therefore give hope for further democratisation around the world.”

Roser also tracks decreases in violence, higher degrees of tolerance, better nutrition and declining rates of poverty in today’s world relative to earlier times.

Democratic governance and protecting human rights are crucial to sustain these positive trends. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, countries with corrupt governments and a weak rule of law “have a 30-to-45 percent higher risk of civil war and higher risk of extreme criminal violence than other developing countries.”