With the end of the year quickly approaching (so as long as the Apocalypse doesn't end it all today), the Pew Center reviewed some of its findings on how the world has been changing over the past year.
1. Americans are embracing social media for civic and political engagement  more than ever before. The Center found that four in 10 American adults have done at least one civic or political action with social media, like encouraging people to vote or commenting on a candidate on Twitter or Facebook.
2. More Americans are graduating from college. Whether's it's the recession, proliferation of online courses or growing emphasis  on higher education, 73% of adults said they think college education is necessary for getting ahead.
3. The birth rate in the United States  is down 8 percent from 2007 among women 15-44.
4. Finally! The proportion of Americans who say there's solid evidence of global warming  has increased.
5. Meanwhile, the number of people who say they believe in a higher power have declined (despite the Pope's appearance on Twitter  this month).
[Image: Flickr user Darren Johnson ]