Did you celebrate World Toilet Day? The recent holiday is a good reminder to rejoice as you read this article on your phone, maybe even while sitting comfortably on a modern, porcelain toilet, which flushes with water so crystalline clean you could, in hard times, drink it without too much fear of dying. (We do not recommend doing that, by the way.)
Going to the toilet wasn’t always such a pleasant, risk-free experience for everyone, and even today, many people in America still go without proper sanitation. As recently as 1990, the rural stereotype of dropping trou in a shack out back was a reality for more than 1.1 million American households. If you think that’s a lot of people, here’s a little math for you. That represented 0.04 percent of the U.S. population back in 1990. Right here in 2015, a full 13 percent of the entire world’s population are still living without access to an improved sanitation facility and are forced to defecate in the open. That’s close to a billion people.
The problem overwhelmingly affects sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but Census data shows 1,136,157 U.S. households were still using outhouses in 1990 because they lacked access to a public or private sewer or septic tank. In 2014, almost half a million U.S. households still did not have complete plumbing facilities, defined as having access to all of these items: hot and cold running water, a toilet that flushes, and a shower or bathtub. (Read more from “Here’s the Shocking Number of Americans Who Don’t Have a Toilet” HERE)
Editor’s note: Alaska hold the U.S. record for residents without a toilet. A whopping 12% of Alaskans go outside.