2000s (decade)

2000s (decade)
September 11th attacks Euro Iraq War War in Afghanistan Social media 2008 Summer Olympics Financial crisis of 2007–2010 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
From left, clockwise: The World Trade Center towers, in the wake of the September 11 attacks; the Euro enters into European currency in 2002; a statue of Saddam Hussein being toppled during the Iraq War; U.S. troops heading toward an army helicopter during the War in Afghanistan, part of the US government's War on Terror campaign; social media through the Internet spreads across the world; a Chinese soldier gazes at the 2008 Summer Olympics commencing; an economic crisis, the largest since the Great Depression, hits the world in 2008; a tsunami from the Indian Ocean following an earthquake kills over 250,000 on Boxing Day, 2004.
Millennium: 3rd millennium
Centuries: 20th century21st century22nd century
Decades: 1970s 1980s 1990s2000s2010s 2020s 2030s
Years: 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Categories: Births – Deaths – Architecture
Establishments – Disestablishments

The 2000s was a decade that started on January 1, 2000 and ended on December 31, 2009. It was the decade in which the 21st century and 3rd millennium began.

Globalization, which had intensified in the post-Cold War 1990s, continued to influence the world in the 2000s. The growth of the Internet was one of the prime contributors to globalization during the decade, making it possible for people to interact with other people, express ideas, introduce others to different cultures and backgrounds, use goods and services, sell and buy online, research and learn about anything, along with experiencing the whole world without having to leave home.[1][2][3][4][5]

The institutions, linkages and technologies that emerged or were redefined earlier would subsequently in this decade benefit many countries, in particular China and India. However, in other parts of the world such progress failed to address ongoing struggles with modernity, most notably characterized by the rise of al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups.[6]

The September 11 attacks in 2001 ultimately led to the United States, United Kingdom and other nations invading and occupying Afghanistan, as well as implementing various anti-terrorist measures at home and abroad in what was known as the War on Terror. The European Union saw further integration and expansion throughout much of Europe.

The economic growth of the 2000s, while responsible for lifting millions out of poverty, also had considerable environmental consequences, raised demand for diminishing energy resources,[7][8] and was still shown to be vulnerable as demonstrated during the Global Financial Crisis of the late 2000s.[9]


Names for the decade

In the English-speaking world, a name for the decade was never universally accepted in the same manner as for decades such as the '90s, the '80s, etc.[10][11][12]

Orthographically, the decade can be written as the "2000s" or the "'00s". Some people read "2000s" as "two-thousands", and thus simply refer to the decade as the "two-thousands". Some read it as the "00s" (pronounced "Ohs", "Oh Ohs", "Double Ohs" or "Ooze"), while others referred to it as the "Twenty-ohs". The single years within the decade are usually referred to as starting with an "Oh", such as "Oh-Seven" to refer to the year 2007. On January 1, 2000, the BBC listed "the noughties" (derived from "nought"[13] a word used for zero in many English-speaking countries), as a potential moniker for the new decade.[14] Others have advocated the term "the aughts", which was widely used at the beginning of the previous century for its first decade.[15][16]

The "noughties" is a play on words on "naughty" – bad behaviour, and "nought" an English word meaning nothing, or zero. The excesses of the decade are so succinctly expressed by the word, that it has become the only term for the decade in common use in the UK.[17][18][19][20][21]

The American Dialect Society holds a lighthearted annual poll for word of the year and related subcategories; for 2009, the winner of "least likely to succeed" was "Any name of the decade 2000–2009, such as: Naughties, Aughties, Oughties, Pot stickers, etc."[22]

Politics and wars

The "War on Terrorism" and War in Afghanistan began after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[23][24] The International Criminal Court was formed a year later. A United States-led coalition invaded Iraq, and the Iraq war led to the end of Saddam Hussein's rule as Iraqi President and the Ba'ath Party regime in Iraq. Al-Qaeda and affiliated Islamist militant groups performed terrorist acts throughout the decade. These acts included the Madrid Train Bombings in 2004, 7/7 London Bombings in 2005, and the Mumbai attacks related to al-Qaeda in 2008. The EU expanded, incorporating some former Eastern block nations. North Korea and Iran were seen as strong nuclear threats, following two North Korea nuclear tests, and Iran's failure to comply with its transparency obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and UN resolutions.

The War on Terrorism generated extreme controversy around the world, with questions regarding the justification for U.S. actions leading to a loss of support for the American government, both in and outside the United States.[25] Additional armed conflict occurred in the Middle East, including between Israel and Hezbollah, then with Israel and the Hamas. The greatest loss of life due to natural disaster came from the 2004 tsunami killing around a quarter-million people and displacing well over a million others. Cooperative international rescue missions by many countries from around the world including the United States helped in efforts by the most affected nations to rebuild and recover from the devastation. An enormous loss of life and property value came in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina flooded nearly the entire city of New Orleans. The resulting political fallout was severely damaging to the George W. Bush administration because of its perceived failure to act promptly and effectively. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, and became the first African-American U.S. president when he succeeded Bush in 2009.[26]

Terrorist attacks

The World Trade Center in New York City as seen on September 11, 2001.

The most prominent terrorist attacks committed against civilian population during the decade include:


The most prominent armed conflicts of the decade include:

International wars

  • War on Terrorism (2001–present) – refers to several ideological, military, and diplomatic campaigns aimed at putting an end to international terrorism by preventing groups defined by the US and its allies as terrorist (largely Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas) from posing a threat to the US and its allies, and by putting an end to state sponsorship of terrorism. The campaigns were launched by the United States, with support from NATO and other allies, following the September 11, 2001 attacks which were carried out by al-Qaeda. Today the term has become mostly associated with Bush administration-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    • War in Afghanistan (2001–present) – In 2001, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia invaded Afghanistan seeking to oust the Taliban and find al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden. In 2011, Navy Seals killed Bin Laden and buried his body at sea.
    • Iraq War (2003–2011) – In 2003, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded and occupied Iraq, following what was ultimately shown to be a false claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction at its disposal.[27] The war, which ended the rule of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, also led to violence against the coalition forces and between many Sunni and Shia Iraqi groups, and to al-Qaeda operations in Iraq.
2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
  • Arab–Israeli conflict (Early 20th century–present)
    • 2006 Lebanon War (summer 2006) – took place in southern Lebanon and northern Israel. The principal parties were Hezbollah paramilitary forces and the Israeli military. The war which began as military operation in response to the abduction of two Israeli reserve soldiers by the Hezbollah, gradually strengthened and became a wider confrontation.
    • Israeli–Palestinian conflict (Early 20th century–present)
      • Second Intifada (2000–2005) – After the signing of the Oslo Accords failed to bring about a Palestinian state, in September 2000 the Second Intifada (uprising) broke out, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which has been taking place until the present day. As a result of the significant increase of suicide bombing attacks within Israeli population centers during the first years of the Al-Aqsa Intifada,[28] in June 2002 Israel began the construction of the West Bank Fence along the Green Line border arguing that the barrier is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism. The significantly reduced number of incidents of suicide bombings from 2002 to 2005 has been partly attributed to the barrier.[29] The barrier's construction, which has been highly controversial, became a major issue of contention between the two sides. The Second Intifada has caused thousands of victims on both sides, both among combatants and among civilians – The death toll, including both military and civilian, is estimated to be 5,500 Palestinians and over 1,000 Israelis, as well as 64 foreign citizens.[30] Many Palestinians consider the Second Intifada to be a legitimate war of national liberation against foreign occupation, whereas many Israelis consider it to be a terrorist campaign.[31]
      • 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict – the frequent Hamas Qassam rocket and mortar fire launched from within civilian population centers in Gaza towards the Israeli southern civilian communities led to an Israeli military operation in Gaza which had the stated aim of reducing the Hamas rocket attacks and stopping the arms smuggling into the Gaza Strip. Throughout the conflict Hamas further intensified its rocket and mortar attacks against Israel, hitting civilian targets and reaching major Israeli cities Beersheba and Ashdod for the first time. The intense urban warfare in densely populated Gaza and the intensified Hamas rocket attacks towards populated Israeli civilian targets lead to a high toll on both sides and among civilians.
  • The Second Congo War (1998–2003) – took place largely in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The widest interstate war in modern African history, it directly involved nine African nations, as well as about twenty armed groups, and earned the epithet of "Africa's World War" and the "Great War of Africa." An estimated 3.8 million people died, mostly from starvation and disease brought about by the deadliest conflict since World War II. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought asylum in neighboring countries.
  • 2008 South Ossetia war – Russia invaded Georgia in response to Georgia's unprovoked aggression towards civilians and eventually paramilitary personnel of South Ossetia. Both Russia and Georgia were condemned internationally for their actions.
  • The Eritrean–Ethiopian War came to a close in 2000.

Civil wars and guerrilla wars

Irregular combatants in North Darfur. The Arabic text on the bumper reads "The Sudan Liberation Army" (SLA).
Darfur refugee camp in Chad
  • Mexican Drug War (2006 – present) – an armed conflict fought between rival drug cartels and government forces in Mexico. Although Mexican drug cartels, or drug trafficking organizations, have existed for quite some time, they have become more powerful since the demise of Colombia's Cali and Medellín cartels in the 1990s. Mexican drug cartels now dominate the wholesale illicit drug market in the United States.[36] Arrests of key cartel leaders, particularly in the Tijuana and Gulf cartels, have led to increasing drug violence as cartels fight for control of the trafficking routes into the United States.[37][38][39] Roughly more than 16,851 people in total were killed between December 2006 until November 2009.[40]
Map showing the districts where the Naxalite movement is active (2007)
  • In India, Naxalite-Maoist insurgency (1967– present) has grown alarmingly with attacks such as April 2010 Maoist attack in Dantewada, Jnaneswari Express train derailment, and Rafiganj train disaster. Naxalites are a group of far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology. It is presently the longest continuously active conflict worldwide. In 2006 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites "The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country."[41] In 2009, he said the country was "losing the battle against Maoist rebels".[42] According to standard definitions the NaxaliteMaoist insurgency is an ongoing conflict[43] between Maoist groups, known as Naxalites or Naxals, and the Indian government.[41] On April 6, 2010, Maoist rebels killed 75 security forces in a jungle ambush in central India in the worst-ever massacre of security forces by the insurgents. On the same day, Gopal, a top Maoist leader, said the attack was a "direct consequence" of the government's Operation Green Hunt offensive. This raised some voices of use of Indian Air Force against Naxalites, which were however declined citing "We can't use oppressive force against our own people".[44]
  • The Colombian Armed Conflict continues causing deaths and terror in Colombia. Beginning in 1964, the FARC and ELN narcoterrorist groups were taking control of rural areas of the country by the beginning of the decade, while terrorist paramilitaries grew in other places as businesspeople and politicians thought the State would lose the war against guerrillas. However, after the failure of the peace process and the activation of Plan Colombia, Álvaro Uribe Vélez was elected President in 2002, starting a massive attack on terrorist groups, with cooperation from civil population, foreign aid and legal armed forces. The AUC paramilitary organization disbanded in 2006, while ELN guerrillas have been weakened. The Popular Liberation Army demobilized while the country's biggest terrorist group, FARC has been weakened and most of their top commanders have been killed or died during the decade. During the second half of the decade, a new criminal band has been formed by former members of AUC who didn't demobilize, calling themselves Aguilas Negras. Although the Colombian State has taken back control over most of the country, narcoterrorism still causes pain in the country. Since 2008, the Internet has become a new field of battle. Facebook has gained nationwide popularity and has become the birthplace of many civil movements against narcoterrorism such as "Colombia Soy Yo" (I am Colombia) or "Fundación Un Millón de Voces" (One Million Voices Foundation), responsible for the international protests against illegal groups during the last years.
  • The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002) came to an end when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) finally laid down their arms. More than two million people were displaced from their homes because of the conflict (well over one-third of the population) many of whom became refugees in neighboring countries. Tens of thousands were killed during the conflict.[45]
  • War in North-West Pakistan (2004–present) – an armed conflict between the Pakistani Armed Forces and Islamic militants made up of local tribesmen, the Taliban, and foreign Mujahideen (Holy Warriors). It began in 2004 when tensions rooted in the Pakistani Army's search for al-Qaeda members in Pakistan's mountainous Waziristan area (in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas) escalated into armed resistance by local tribesmen. The violence has displaced 3.44 million civilians[47] and led to more than 7,000 civilians being killed.[48]
  • The Angolan Civil War (1975–2002), once a major proxy conflict of the Cold War, the conflict ended after the anti-Communist organization UNITA disbanded to become a political party. By the time the 27-year conflict was formally brought to an end, an estimated 500,000 people had been killed.[49]
  • Somali Civil War (1991–present)
    • War in Somalia (2006–2009) – involved largely Ethiopian and Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces whom fought against the Somali Islamist umbrella group, the Islamic Court Union (ICU), and other affiliated militias for control of the country. The war spawned pirates who hijacked hundreds of ships off the coast of Somalia, holding ships and crew for ransom often for months (see also Piracy in Somalia). 1.9 million people were displaced from their homes during the conflict[53] and the number of civilian casualties during the conflict is estimated at 16,724.[54]
    • War in Somalia (2009 – present) – involved largely the forces of the Somali Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) assisted by African Union peacekeeping troops, whom fought against various militant Islamist factions for control of the country. The violence has displaced thousands of people residing in Mogadishu, the nation's capital. 1,739 people in total were killed between January 1, 2009 until January 1, 2010.[55]
  • Conflict in the Niger Delta (2004 – present) – an ongoing conflict in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The conflict was caused due to the tensions between the foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Delta's minority ethnic groups who felt they were being exploited, particularly the Ogoni and the Ijaw. The competition for oil wealth has led to an endless violence cycle between innumerable ethnic groups, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region which was occupied by militia groups as well as Nigerian military and the forces of the Nigerian Police.
  • Algerian Civil War (1991–2002) – the conflict effectively ended with a government victory, following the surrender of the Islamic Salvation Army and the 2002 defeat of the Armed Islamic Group. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people were killed during the course of the conflict.
  • Civil war in Chad (1998–present)
    • Civil war in Chad (1998–2002) – involved the Movement for Justice and Democracy in Chad (MDJT) rebels that skirmished periodically with government troops in the Tibesti region, resulting in hundreds of civilian, government, and rebel casualties.
    • Civil war in Chad (2005–present) – involved Chadian government forces and several Chadian rebel groups. The Government of Chad estimated in January 2006 that 614 Chadian citizens had been killed in cross-border raids.[56] The fighting still continues despite several attempts to reach agreements.
  • Nepalese Civil War (1996–2006) – the conflict ended with a peace agreement was reached between the government and the Maoist party in which it was set that the Maoists would take part in the new government in return for surrendering their weapons to the UN. It is estimated that more than 12,700 people were killed during the course of the conflict.[57]
  • Ituri conflict (1999–2007) – a conflict fought between the Lendu and Hema ethnic groups in the Ituri region of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While there have been many phases to the conflict, the most recent armed clashes ran from 1999 to 2003, with a low-level conflict continuing until 2007. More than 50,000 people have been killed in the conflict and hundreds of thousands forced from their homes.[58]
  • Civil war in Afghanistan (1996–2001) – an armed conflict which continued after the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, in which the formation of the Afghan Northern Alliance attempted to oust the Taliban. It proved largely unsuccessful, as the Taliban continued to make gains and eliminated much of the Alliance's leadership.


The most prominent coups d'état of the decade include:

  • 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt – a failed military coup d'état on April 11, 2002 which aimed to overthrow the president of Venezuela Hugo Chávez. During the coup Hugo Chávez was arrested and Pedro Carmona became the interim President for 47 hours. The coup led to a pro-Chávez uprising that the Metropolitan Police attempted to suppress. The pro-Chávez Presidential Guard eventually retook the Miraflores presidential palace without firing a shot, leading to the collapse of the Carmona government.
  • Fatah–Hamas conflict (2006–2009) – an armed conflict fought between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas with each vying to assume political control of the Palestinian territories. In June 2007, Hamas took control of the entire Gaza Strip, and established a separate government while Fatah remained in control of the West Bank. This in practice divided the Palestinian Authority into two. Various forces affiliated with Fatah engaged in combat with Hamas, in numerous gun battles. Most Fatah leaders eventually escaped to Egypt and the West Bank, while some were captured and killed.
  • 2009 Honduras coup d'état – The armed forces of the country entered the president's residence and threw president Manuel Zelaya

Nuclear threats

Anti-aircraft guns guarding Natanz Nuclear Facility in Iran
  • Since 2005, Iran's nuclear program has become the subject of contention with the Western world due to suspicions that Iran could divert the civilian nuclear technology to a weapons program. This has led the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran on select companies linked to this program, thus furthering its economic isolation on the international scene. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence said in February 2009 that Iran would not realistically be able to a get a nuclear weapon until 2013, if it chose to develop one.[59]
  • In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq over concerns leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction including chemical and biological weapons. The Iraq Inquiry (still ongoing) may explain more on this situation, but in the meantime, the U.S. ended the regime of Saddam Hussein. However a lot of controversy rages around the fact that no evidence of any nuclear programs has been found in Iraq, leading some to believe that the Bush administration declared war simply to gain influence over Middle-Eastern oil supplies.
  • North Korea successfully performed two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
  • Operation Orchard – during the operation, Israel bombed what was believed to be a Syrian nuclear reactor on September 6, 2007 which was thought to be built with the aid of North Korea.[60] The White House and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later declared that American intelligence indicated the site was a nuclear facility with a military purpose, though Syria denies this.[61]
  • The Doomsday Clock, the symbolic representation of the threat of nuclear annihilation, moved four minutes closer to midnight: two minutes in 2002 and two minutes in 2007 to 5 minutes to midnight.

National sovereignty


During this decade, the peaceful transfer of power through elections first occurred in Mexico, Indonesia, Taiwan, and several other countries. (See below.)

Political events

The prominent political events of the decade include:


George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, 2001–2009
Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, was inaugurated in 2009


Protesters in Tehran during the 2009 Iranian election protests
Israel's prime minister Ehud Barak and PLO head Yasser Arafat with the president of the United States Bill Clinton at Camp David Summit, 2000
  • 2009 Iranian election protests – The 2009 Iranian presidential election sparked massive protests in Iran and around the world against alleged electoral fraud and in support of defeated candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. During the protests the Iranian authorities closed universities in Tehran, blocked web sites, blocked cell phone transmissions and text messaging,[66] and banned rallies.[67] Several demonstrators in Iran were killed or imprisoned during the protests. Dozens of human casualties were reported or confirmed.[68][69][70]
  • Israeli withdrawal from the Israeli security zone in southern Lebanon – on May 25, 2000 Israel withdrew IDF forces from the Israeli Security Zone in southern Lebanon after 22 years.
  • In July 2000 the Camp David 2000 Summit was held which was aimed at reaching a "final status" agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The summit collapsed after Yasser Arafat would not accept a proposal drafted by American and Israeli negotiators. Barak was prepared to offer the entire Gaza Strip, a Palestinian capital in a part of East Jerusalem, 73% of the West Bank (excluding eastern Jerusalem) raising to 90–94% after 10–25 years, and financial reparations for Palestinian refugees for peace. Arafat turned down the offer without making a counter-offer.[71]
  • January 4, 2006 – Powers are transferred from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to his deputy, Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, after Sharon suffers a massive hemorrhagic stroke.
  • In 2003 the 12 year self-government in Iraqi Kurdistan ends, developed under the protection of the UN "No-fly zone" during the now-ousted Saddam Hussein regime.
  • Premier Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao, replaced former People's Republic of China Premier Zhu Rongji and former People's Republic of China President Jiang Zemin.
  • Manmohan Singh was elected (2004) and reelected (2009) Prime Minister in India. He is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. Singh previously carried out economic reforms in India in 1991, during his tenure as the Finance Minister.[72]
  • Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as Prime Minister of Turkey in 2002. Abdullah Gul was elected as President of Turkey.
  • 2007 political crisis in Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf retired after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto
  • January 9, 2005 – Mahmoud Abbas is elected to succeed Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority President.[73]
  • 2008–2009 Thai political crisis



The prominent assassinations of the decade included:


Natural disasters

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The tsunami caused by the December 26, 2004 earthquake strikes Ao Nang, Thailand.

The 2000s experienced some of the worst and most destructive natural disasters in history.

Earthquakes (including tsunamis)

Tropical cyclones, other weather, and bushfires

  • On May 3, 2008, Over 146,000 in Burma/Myanmar are killed by Cyclone Nargis.
  • Several typhoons and hurricanes resulted in extreme destruction in this decade, with Hurricane Katrina nearly destroying New Orleans, followed by Hurricane Rita, which wreaked destruction along the U.S. Gulf Coast. In 2008 the massive Hurricane Ike became the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States.
  • 2003 produced one of the worst heatwaves in recorded human history, as Europe was hit by a 40 °C (104 °F) heatwave killing thousands.
  • The Black Saturday bushfires – the deadliest bushfires in Australian history took place across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday February 7, 2009 during extreme bushfire-weather conditions, resulting in 173 people killed and, more than 500 injured and around 7,500 homeless. The fires came after Melbourne recorded the highest-ever temperature (46.4 °C, 115 °F) of any capital city in Australia. The majority of the fires were ignited by either fallen or clashing power lines or deliberately lit.


People in Mexico City wear masks on a train due to the swine flu outbreak, April 2009
  • The 2009 H1N1 (swine flu) flu pandemic is also considered a natural disaster. On October 25, 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama officially declared H1N1 a national emergency[76] Despite President Obama's concern, a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll found in October 2009 that an overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans (74%) were not very worried or not at all worried about contracting the H1N1 flu virus.[77]

A study conducted in coordination with the University of Michigan Health Service is scheduled for publication in the December 2009 American Journal of Roentgenology warning that H1N1 flu can cause pulmonary embolism, surmised as a leading cause of death in this current pandemic. The study authors suggest physician evaluation via contrast enhanced CT scans for the presence of pulmonary emboli when caring for patients diagnosed with respiratory complications from a "severe" case of the H1N1 flu.[78]

March 21, 2010 worldwide update by the U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) states that "213 countries and overseas territories/communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 16,931 deaths." [79]

As of May 30, 2010 worldwide update by World Health Organization(WHO) more than 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 18,138 deaths.[80]

Non-natural disasters

Vehicular wrecks


The most significant evolution of the early 2000s in the economic landscape was the long-time predicted breakthrough of economic giant China, that had a double-digit growth during nearly the whole decade. To a lesser extent, India also benefited from an economic boom [81] which saw the two most populous countries becoming an increasingly dominant economic force.[82] The rapid catching-up of emerging economies with developed countries sparked some protectionist tensions during the period and was partly responsible for an increase in energy and food prices at the end of the decade. The economic developments in the latter third of the decade were dominated by a worldwide economic downturn, which started with the crisis in housing and credit in the United States in late 2007, and led to the bankruptcy of major banks and other financial institutions.[83] The outbreak of this global financial crisis sparked a global recession, beginning in the United States and affecting most of the industrialized world.

Economic growth in the world

Shanghai becomes a symbol of the recent economic boom of China.

Between 1999 to 2009, according to the World Bank statistics for GDP:[84][85]

  • The world economy by nominal GDP almost doubled in size from U.S. $30.21 trillion in 1999 to U.S. $58.23 trillion in 2009. This figure is not adjusted for inflation. By PPP, world GDP rose 78%, according to the IMF. But inflation adjusted nominal GDP rose only 42%, according to IMF constant price growth rates.[86] The following figures are not inflation adjusted nominal GDP and should be interpreted with extreme caution:
  • The United States (U.S. $14.26 trillion) retained its position of possessing the world's largest economy. However, the size of its contribution to the total global economy dropped from 28.8% to 24.5% by nominal price or a fall from 23.8% to 20.4% adjusted for purchasing power.
  • Japan (U.S. $5.07 trillion) retained its position of possessing the second largest economy in the world, but its contribution to the world economy also shrank significantly from 14.5% to 8.7% by nominal price or a fall from 7.8% to 6.0% adjusted for purchasing power.
  • China (U.S. $4.98 trillion) went from being the sixth largest to the third largest economy, and in 2009 contributed to 8.6% of the world's economy, up from 3.3% in 1999 by nominal price or a rise from 6.9% to 12.6% adjusted for purchasing power.
  • Germany (U.S. $3.35 trillion), France (U.S. $2.65 trillion), United Kingdom (U.S. $2.17 trillion) and Italy (U.S. $2.11 trillion) followed as the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th largest economies, respectively in 2009.
  • Brazil (U.S. $1.57 trillion) retained its position as the 8th largest economy, followed by Spain (U.S. $1.46 trillion), which remained at 10th.
  • Other major economies included Canada (U.S. $1.34 trillion; 10th, down from 9th), India (U.S. $1.31 trillion; remaining at 11th from 12th), Russia (U.S. $1.23 trillion; from 16th to 12th) Mexico (U.S. $875 billion; 14th, down from 11th), Australia (U.S. $925 billion; from 14th to 13th) and South Korea (U.S. $832 billion; 15th, down from 13th).
  • In terms of purchasing power parity in 2009, the ten largest economies were the United States (U.S. $14.26 trillion), China (U.S. $9.10 trillion), Japan (U.S. $4.14 trillion), India (U.S. $3.75 trillion), Germany (U.S. $2.98 trillion), Russia (U.S. $2.69 trillion), United Kingdom (U.S. $2.26 trillion), France (U.S. $2.17 trillion), Brazil (U.S. $2.02 trillion), and Italy (U.S. $1.92 trillion).[87][88]

Globalization and its discontents

Offshore outsourcing of jobs, such as this call centre in India, significantly increased during the decade as many multinational corporations moved their manufacturing and services from western countries to developing countries.

The removal of trade and investment barriers, the growth of domestic markets, artificially low currencies, the proliferation of education, the rapid development of high tech and information systems industries and the growth of the world economy lead to a significant growth of offshore outsourcing during the decade as many multinational corporations significantly increased subcontracting of manufacturing (and increasingly, services) across national boundaries in developing countries and particularly in China and India, due to many benefits and mainly because the two countries which are the two most populous countries in the world provide huge pools from which to find talent and as because both countries are low cost sourcing countries. As a result of this growth, many of these developing countries accumulated capital and started investing abroad. Other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Brazil and Russia, benefited from increased demand for their mineral and energy resources that global growth generated. The hollowing out of manufacturing was felt in Japan and parts of the United States and Europe which had not been able to develop successful innovative industries. Opponents point out that the practice of offshore outsourcing by countries with higher wages leads to the reduction of their own domestic employment and domestic investment. As a result, many customer service jobs as well as jobs in the information technology sectors (data processing, computer programming, and technical support) in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have been or are potentially affected.

While global trade rose in the decade (partially driven by China's entry into the WTO in 2001), there was little progress in the multilateral trading system. International trade continued to expand during the decade as emerging economies and developing countries, in particular China and South-Asian countries, benefited low wages costs and most often undervalued currencies. However, global negotiations to reduce tariffs did not make any progress, as member countries of the World Trade Organization did not succeed in finding agreements to stretch the extent of free trade.[89] The Doha Round of negotiations, launched in 2001 by the WTO to promote development, failed to be completed because of growing tensions between regional areas. Nor did the Cancún Conference in 2003 find a consensus on services trade[90] and agricultural subsidies.[91]

The comparative rise of China, India and other developing countries also contributed to their growing clout in international fora. In 2009, it was determined that the G20, originally a forum of finance ministers and central bank governors, would replace the G8 as the main economic council of wealthy nations.

The age of turbulence

People queuing outside a Northern Rock bank branch in Birmingham, United Kingdom on September 15, 2007, to withdraw their savings because of the Subprime mortgage crisis.

The decade was marked by two financial and economic crises. In 2000, the Dot-com bubble burst, causing turmoil in financial markets and a decline in economic activity in the developed economies, in particular in the United States.[92] However, the impact of the crisis on the activity was limited thanks to the intervention of the central banks, notably the U.S. Federal Reserve System. Indeed, Alan Greenspan, leader of the Federal Reserve until 2006, cut the interest rates several times to avoid a severe recession,[93] allowing an economic revival in the U.S.[94]

As the Federal Reserve maintained low interest rates to favor economic growth, a housing bubble began to appear in the United States. In 2007, the rise in interest rates and the collapse of the housing market caused a wave of loan payment failures in the U.S. The subsequent mortgage crisis caused a global financial crisis, because the subprime mortgages had been securitized and sold to international banks and investment funds. Despite the extensive intervention of central banks, including partial and total nationalization of major European banks,[95][96] the crisis of sovereign debt became particularly acute first in Iceland, though as events of the early 2010s would show, it was not an isolated European example. Economic activity was severely affected around the world in 2008 and 2009,[97] with disastrous consequences for carmakers.[98]

Reactions of governments in all developed and developing countries against the economic slowdown were largely inspired by keynesian economics. The end of the decade was characterized by a Keynesian resurgence,[99] while the influence and media popularity of left-wing economists[100] Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman (Nobel Prize recipients in 2001 and 2008, respectively) did not stop growing during the decade.[101] Several international summits were organized to find solutions against the economic crisis and to impose greater control on the financial markets. The G-20 became in 2008 and 2009 a major organization, as leaders of the member countries held two major summits in Washington in November 2008 and in London in April 2009 to regulate the banking and financial sectors,[102] and also succeeding in coordinating their economic action and in avoiding protectionist reactions.

Energy crisis

Increase in oil prices
Gas prices in late May 2008.

From the mid-1980s to September 2003, the inflation-adjusted price of a barrel of crude oil on NYMEX was generally under $25/barrel. During 2003, the price rose above $30, reached $60 by August 11, 2005, and peaked at $147.30 in July 2008.[103] Commentators attributed these price increases to many factors, including reports from the United States Department of Energy and others showing a decline in petroleum reserves, worries over peak oil, Middle East tension, and oil price speculation.[104]

For a time, geopolitical events and natural disasters indirectly related to the global oil market had strong short-term effects on oil prices. These events and disasters included North Korean missile tests, the 2006 conflict between Israel and Lebanon, worries over Iranian nuclear plants in 2006 and Hurricane Katrina. By 2008, such pressures appeared to have an insignificant impact on oil prices given the onset of the global recession. The recession caused demand for energy to shrink in late 2008 and early 2009 and the price plunged as well. However, it surged back in May 2009, bringing it back to November 2008 levels.[105]

Many fast-growing economies throughout the world, especially in Asia, also were a major factor in the rapidly increasing demand for fossil fuels, which—along with fewer new petroleum finds, greater extraction costs, and political turmoil—forced two other trends: a soar in the price of petroleum products and a push by governments and businesses to promote the development of environmentally friendly technology (known informally as "green" technology). However, a side-effect of the push by some industrial nations to "go green" and utilize biofuels was a decrease in the supply of food and a subsequent increase in the price of the same. It partially caused the 2007 food price crisis, which seriously affected the world's poorer nations with an even more severe shortage of food.[106]

The rise of the Euro

The euro became the currency of members of the Eurozone.

A common currency for most EU member states, the euro, was established electronically in 1999, officially tying all the currencies of each participating nation to each other. The new currency was put into circulation in 2002 and the old currencies were phased out. Only three countries of the then 15 member states decided not to join the euro (The United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden). In 2004 the EU undertook a major eastward enlargement, admitting 10 new member states (eight of which were former communist states). Two more, Bulgaria and Romania, joined in 2007, establishing a union of 27 nations.

The euro has since become the second largest reserve currency and the second most traded currency in the world after the U.S. dollar.[107] As of October 2009, with more than €790 billion in circulation, the euro was the currency with the highest combined value of banknotes and coins in circulation in the world, having surpassed the U.S. dollar.[note 1]

Science and technology


Space exploration

Artist Concept of a NASA Mars Exploration Rover on Mars
These images show water in a very young lunar crater on the side of the moon that faces away from Earth.




Computing and Internet

In the 2000s the Internet became a mainstay, strengthening its grip on Western society while becoming increasingly available in the developing world.

Google becomes the Internet's most visited website.
  • A huge jump in broadband internet usage globally – for example, from 6% of U.S. internet users in June, 2000[113] to what one mid-decade study predicted would be 62% by 2010.[114] By February 2007, over 80% of US Internet users were connected via broadband and broadband internet has been almost a required standard for quality internet browsing.[115]
  • Wireless internet became prominent by the end of the decade, as well as internet access in devices besides computers, such as mobile phones and gaming consoles.
  • Email became a standard form of interpersonal written communication, with popular addresses available to the public on Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail.
  • Normalisation became increasingly important as massive standardized corpora and lexicons of spoken and written language became widely available to laypeople, just as documents from the paperless office were archived and retrieved with increasing efficiency using XML-based markup.
  • Folksonomy was promoted as an alternative to pyramidal taxonomy.
Various iPod digital audio players
  • Peer-to-peer technology gained massive popularity with file sharing systems enabling users to share any audio, video and data files or anything in digital format, as well as with applications which share real-time data, such as telephony traffic.
  • VPNs (virtual private networks) became likewise accessible to the general public, and data encryption remained a major issue for the stability of web commerce.
  • Boom in music downloading and the use of data compression to quickly transfer music over the Internet, with a corresponding rise of portable digital audio players. As a result, the entertainment industry struggled through the decade to find digital delivery systems for music, movies, and other media that reduce piracy and preserve profit.
  • The USB flash drive replaces the Floppy disk as the preferred form of low-capacity mobile data storage.
  • During the decade Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 become the ubiquitous industry standard in personal computer software until the end of the decade when Apple began to slowly gain market share.
  • With the advent of the Web 2.0 dynamic technology became widely accessible, and by the mid-1990s PHP and MySQL became (with Apache) the backbone of many sites, making programming knowledge unnecessary to publish to the web. Blogs, portals, and wikis become common electronic dissemination methods for professionals, amateurs, and businesses to conduct knowledge management typified by success of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia which launched on January 15, 2001, grew rapidly and became the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet [116][117] as well as the best known wiki in the world and the largest encyclopedia in the world.
In the late 2000's Facebook became the most popular social networking site in the world. It currently has over 800 million active users.
  • Open Source software such as the Linux operating system and the Mozilla Firefox web browser gain ground.
  • Internet commerce became standard for reservations; stock trading; promotion of music, arts, pornography, literature, and film; shopping; and other activities.
  • During this decade certain websites and search engines became prominent worldwide as transmitters of goods, services and information. Some of the most popular and successful online sites or search engines of the 2000s included: Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
  • More and more businesses began providing paperless services, clients accessing bills and bank statements directly through a web interface.


Flat panel displays begin to displace cathode-ray tubes
  • Digital cameras become widely popular due to rapid decreases in size and cost while photo resolution steadily increases. As a result, the digital cameras largely supplanted the analog cameras and the integration into mobile phones increase greatly. Since 2007 digital cameras started being manufactured with the face recognition feature built in.
  • Graphic cards become powerful enough to render ultra-high-resolution (e.g. 2560x1600) scenes in real time with substantial detail and texture.
  • Flat panel displays started becoming widely popular in the second half of the decade displacing cathode ray tubes.[118][119]
  • Handheld projectors enter the market and are then integrated into cellphones.[citation needed]
  • DVR devices such as TiVo became popular, making it possible to record television broadcasts to a hard drive-based digital storage medium and allowing many additional features including the option to fast-forward through commercials or to use an automatic Commercial skipping feature. This feature created controversy, with major television networks and movie studios claiming it violates copyright and should be banned. With the commercial skipping feature, many television channels place advertisements on the bottom on the TV screen.
  • VOD technology became widely available among cable users worldwide, enabling the users to select and watch video content from a large variety of avialable content stored on a central server, as well as gaining the possibility to freeze the image, as well as fast-forward and rewind the VOD content.
  • DVDs, and subsequently Blu-ray Discs, replace VCR technology as the common standard in homes and at video stores.
  • Free Internet video portals like YouTube, Hulu, and Internet TV software solutions like Joost became new popular alternatives to TV broadcasts.
  • TV becomes available on the networks run by some mobile phone providers, such as Verizon Wireless's Vcast.[citation needed]
  • High-definition television becomes very popular towards the second half of the decade with the increase of HD television channels and the conversion from analog to digital signals.[120]


The popularity of mobile phones and text messaging surged in the 2000s in the Western world.
  • The popularity of mobile phones and text messaging surged in the 2000s in the Western world. The advent of text messaging made possible new forms of interaction that were not possible before, leading to positive implications such as having the ability to receive information on the move. Nevertheless, it also led to negative social implications such as "cyberbullying" and "sexting," and the rise of traffic collisions caused by drivers who were distracted as they were texting while driving.
  • E-mail continued to be popular throughout the decade, and began to replace "snail mail" as the primary way of sending letters and other messages to people in faraway locations. Also, social networking sites arose as a new way for people to stay in touch no matter where they are, as long as they have an internet connection.
  • Smartphones, which combine mobile phones with the features of personal digital assistants and portable media players, first emerged in the 1990s but did not become very popular until late in the 2000s. Smartphones are rich in features and often have high resolution touchscreens and web browsers.
  • Due to the major success of broadband Internet connections, Voice over IP begins to gain popularity as a replacement for traditional telephone lines.


  • The U.S. Army used increasingly effective unmanned aerial vehicles in war zones, such as Afghanistan.
  • Emerging use of robotics, especially telerobotics in medicine, particularly for surgery.
  • Home automation and home robotics advance in North America; iRobot's "Roomba" is the most successful domestic robot and has sold 1.5 million units.



  • GPS (Global Positioning System) becomes very popular especially in the tracking of items or people, and the use in cars (see Automotive navigation systems). Games that utilize the system, such as geocaching, emerge and become popular.

Population and social issues

The decade saw further expansion of same-sex rights, with many European, Oceanic, and American countries recognizing civil unions and partnerships and a number of countries extending marriage to same-sex couples. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. By 2010 Same-sex marriage was legal and performed in 11 countries worldwide, although only in some jurisdictions in Mexico and the United States.

AIDS continued to expand during the decade, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. New diseases of animal origin appeared for a short time, the mad cow disease in 2003 and the bird flu in 2007, but they appeared not to be dangerous for man. On the contrary, the swine flu was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in 2009.

Population continued to grow in most countries, in particular in developing countries, though overall the rate slowed. According to United Nations estimates, world population reached six billion in late 1999,[121] and continued to climb to 6.8 billion in late 2009.[122] In 2007 the population of the United States reached 300 million inhabitants, and Japan's population peaked at 127 million before going into decline.[123]

Environment and climate change

Climate change and global warming became household words in the 2000s. Predictions tools made significant progress during the decade, UN-sponsored organisations such as the IPCC gained influence, and studies such as the Stern report influenced public support for paying the political and economic costs of countering climate change.

The global temperature kept growing during the decade. In December 2009, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the 2000s may have been the warmest decade since records began in 1850, with four of the five warmest years since 1850 having occurred in this decade.[124][125] The WMO's findings were later echoed by the NASA and the NOAA.[126]

Scientific studies on climate helped establish a consensus.

Major natural disasters became more frequent and helped change public opinion. One of the deadliest heat waves in human history happened during the 2000s, mostly in Europe, with the 2003 European heat wave killing 37,451 people over the summer months.[127] In February 2009, a series of highly destructive bushfires started in Victoria, Australia, lasting into the next month. While the fires are believed to have been caused by arson, they were widely reported as having been fueled by an excessive heatwave that was due in part to climate change. It has also been alleged that climate change was a cause of increased storms intensity, notably in the case of Hurricane Katrina.

International actions

Climate change became a major issue for governments, populations and scientists. Debates on global warming and its causes made significant progress, as climate change denials were refuted by most scientific studies. Decisive reports such as the Stern Review and the 2007 IPCC Report almost established a climate change consensus. NGOs' actions and the commitment of political personalities (such as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore) also urged to international reactions against climate change. Documentary films An Inconvenient Truth and Home may have had a decisive impact.

Under the auspices of The UN Convention on Climate Change the Kyoto Protocol (aimed at combating global warming) entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of November 2009, 187 states have signed and ratified the protocol.[128] In addition The UN Convention on Climate Change helped coordinate the efforts of the international community to fight potentially disastrous effects of human activity on the planet and launched negotiations to set an ambitious program of carbon emission reduction that began in 2007 with the Bali Road Map. However, the representatives of the then 192 member countries of the United Nations gathered in December 2009 for the Copenhagen Conference failed to reach a binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions because of divisions between regional areas.

However, as environmental technologies were to make up a potential market, some countries made large investments in renewable energies, energy conservation and sustainable transport. Many governments launched national plans to promote sustainable energy. In 2003, the European Union members created an emission trading scheme, and in 2007 they assembled a climate and energy package to reduce further their carbon emission and improve their energy-efficiency. In 2009, the United States Obama administration set up the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to create millions of jobs in sectors related to greenery.

Additional notable world-wide events

US Airways Flight 1549, 15 January 2009

Popular culture


Usage of computer-generated imagery became more widespread in films during the 2000s. Documentary and mockumentary films, such as March of the Penguins and Super Size Me, were popular in the 2000s. Online films become popular, and conversion to digital cinema started, but was not finished. This conversion is still continuing into the 2010s.

The highest-grossing film of the decade was Avatar (2009)


The best-selling artist of the decade was Eminem

By the 2000s Rap and Hip Hop had reached its commercial peak, and the genre continued to dominate the music scene of the decade [133][134] The best-selling artist of the decade was the American rapper Eminem, who sold 32 million albums, followed by The Beatles (who split in 1970 but have stayed extremely popular since). The best-selling female artist of the decade was Britney Spears.[135][136]


The late 2000s displayed a new trend in music, Auto-tune. This pitch-correction software became the norm on practically all mainstream music since 2007. The 2000s also brought in more dance and electronic music toward the end of the decade and even less rock music in the mainstream.[142][143]Hip hop music also sees a sharp decline in the mainstream during the later 2000s, because of Pop's rising popularity.[144] According to The Guardian, music styles during the 2000s changed very little from how they were at last half of the 1990s.[145] The 2000s had a profound impact on the condition of music distribution. Recent advents in digital technology have fundamentally altered industry and marketing practices as well as players in unusual rapidity.[146][147][148] According to Nielson Soundscan, by 2009 CDs accounted for 79 percent of album sales, with 20 percent coming from digital, representing both a 10 percent drop and gain for both formats in 2 years.[149]


American television in the 2000s saw the sharp increase in popularity of reality television, with numerous competition shows such as American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Survivor and The Apprentice attracting large audiences, as well as documentary or narrative style shows such as Big Brother, The Hills, The Real Housewives, Cheaters, among many others. The decade has since seen a steady decline in the number of sitcoms and an increase in reality shows, crime and medical dramas, such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Grey's Anatomy, paranormal/crime shows like Medium (2005–2011) and Ghost Whisperer (2005–2010), and action/drama shows, including 24 and Lost. Comedy-dramas have became more serious, dealing with such hot button issues, such as drugs, teenage pregnancy, and gay rights. Popular comedy-drama programs include Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, and Glee. Adult-oriented animated programming also continued a sharp upturn in popularity with shows like South Park (1997-today) and Family Guy (1999–2002, 2005-today) along with the longtime running cartoon The Simpsons (1989-today).

Although there were less in this decade than there were in the 1990s, the 2000s still saw many popular and notable sitcoms, including Will and Grace, Malcolm in the Middle, The King of Queens, Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother, The Office, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and 30 Rock, among many others. A trend seen in several sitcoms of the late 2000s was the absence of a laugh track.

Popular anime include Naruto, One Piece, Dinosaur King, Inazuma Eleven, Cardcaptors, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Saint Seiya Hades, Bakugan and new seasons of Pokémon.

The decade also saw the rise of premium cable dramas such as The Sopranos, Deadwood, The Wire, Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series), and Mad Men, all of which received critical accolades and attention from academe. The nuanced scripts, character depth, and allusiveness of these shows helped set new standards for quality on television. The critic Daniel Mendelsohn wrote a critique of Mad Men in which he also claimed this last decade was a golden age for episodic television, citing Battlestar Galactica, The Wire, and the network series Friday Night Lights as especially deserving of critical and popular attention.


The 2000s saw a decrease in the popularity of radio as more listeners starting using MP3 players in their cars to customize driving music. Satellite radio receivers started selling at a much higher rate, which allowed listeners to pay a subscription fee for thousands of ad-free stations. Clear Channel Communications was the largest provider of radio entertainment in the United States with over 900 stations nation-wide. Many radio stations began streaming their content over the Internet, allowing a market expansion far beyond the reaches of a radio transmitter.

During the 2000s, FM radio faced its toughest competition ever for in-car entertainment. iPod, satellite radio, and HD radio were all new options for commuters. CD players had a steady decline in popularity throughout the 2000s but stayed prevalent in most vehicles, while cassette tapes became virtually extinct.

Video games

PlayStation 2 was released in 2000 and became the best-selling gaming console of all time

The world of video games reached the 7th Generation in the form of consoles like the Wii, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 by the mid 2000s. The number-one-selling game console as of the decade, the PlayStation 2, was released in 2000 and remained popular up to the end of the decade, even after the PlayStation 3 was released. MMORPGs, originating in the mid-to-late 1990s, become a popular PC trend and virtual online worlds become a reality as games such as RuneScape (2001), Final Fantasy XI (2002), Eve Online (2003), Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided (2003), World of Warcraft (2004), and Everquest II (2004), The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (2007) and Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (2008) are released. These worlds come complete with their own economies and social organization as directed by the players as a whole. The persistent online worlds allow the games to remain popular for many years. World of Warcraft, premiered in 2004, remains one of the most popular games in PC gaming and is still being developed into the 2010s.

The Grand Theft Auto series sparked a fad of Mature-rated video games based on including gang warfare, drug use, and perceived "senseless violence" into gameplay. Though violent video games date back to the early 1990s, they became much more common after 2000.

The 7th generation sparked a rise in first person shooting games led by Halo: Combat Evolved, which changed the formula of the first person shooter. Halo 2 started online console gaming and was on top of the Xbox live charts until its successor, Halo 3, took over. Some other popular first-person shooters during the 2000s include the Medal of Honor series, with Medal of Honor: Frontline's release in 2002 bringing the first game in the series to 7th generation consoles.

In the late 2000s, motion controlled video games grew in popularity, from the PlayStation 2's EyeToy to Nintendo's successful Wii console. During the decade 3D video games become the staple of the video-game industry, with 2D games nearly fading from the market. Partially 3D and fully 2D games were still common in the industry early in the decade, but these have now become rare as developers look almost exclusively for fully 3D games to satisfy the increasing demand for them in the market. An exception to this trend is the indie gaming community, which often produces games featuring 'old-school' or retro gaming elements, such as Super Meat Boy and Shadow Complex. These games, which are not developed by the industry giants, are often available in the form of downloadable content from services such as Microsoft's Xbox Live or Apple's App Store and usually cost much less than more major releases.

Dance Dance Revolution was released in Japan and later the United States, where it became immensely popular among teenagers. Another music game, Guitar Hero, was released in North America in 2005 and had a huge cultural impact on both the music and video games industries. It became a worldwide billion-dollar franchise within three years, spawning several sequels and leading to the creation of a competing franchise, Rock Band.

Japanese media giant Nintendo released 9 out of the 10 top selling games of the 2000s, further establishing the company's dominance over the market.[150]


The opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics, held in Beijing, China.

The Sydney Games, held in 2000, followed the hundredth anniversary of the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. The Athens Games, in 2004, were also a strong symbol, for modern Olympic Games were inspired by the competitions organized in Ancient Greece. Finally, the Beijing Games saw the emergence of China as a major sports power, with the highest number of titles for the first time. The 2002 Salt Lake City and the 2006 Turin Winter Olympic Games were also major events, though less popular. One of the highlights of the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing was the achievement of Michael Phelps the American swimmer, frequently cited as the greatest swimmer and one of the greatest Olympians of all time.[151][152][153] He has won 14 career Olympic gold medals, the most by any Olympian. As of August 2, 2009, Phelps has broken thirty-seven world records in swimming. Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics, his eight at the 2008 Beijing Games surpassed American swimmer Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance at Munich in 1972.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica dominated the male sprinting events at the Beijing Olympics, in which he broke three world records, allowing him to be the first man to ever accomplish this at a single Olympic game. He holds the world record for the 100 metres, the 200 metres and, along with his teammates, the 4x100 metres relay.

Football important events included two World Cups, one organized in South Korea, Japan, which saw Brazil win a record fifth title, and the other in Germany, and the regional competitions Copa América and Euro Cup.

Rugby increased in size and audience, as the Rugby World Cup became the third most watched sporting event in the world with the 2007 Rugby World Cup organized in France.

The Boston Red Sox won the World Series of Major League Baseball in 2004, their first since 1918.

Michael Schumacher, the most titled F1 driver, won five F1 World Championships during the decade and finally retired in 2006, yet eventually confirming his come-back to F1 for 2010. Lance Armstrong won all the Tour de France between 1999 and 2005, also an all-time record. Swiss tennis player Roger Federer won 16 Grand Slam titles to become the most titled player.



  • The decade saw the rise of digital media as opposed to the use of print, and the steady decline of printed books in countries where e-readers had become available.
  • The deaths of John Updike and other authors marked the end of various major writing careers influential during the late 20th century.
  • Popular book series such as Harry Potter, Twilight and Dan Brown's "Robert Langdon" (consisting of The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol) saw increased interest in various genres such as fantasy, romance, vampire fiction, and detective fiction, as well as young-adult fiction in general.
  • Manga (also known as Japanese comics) became popular among the international audience, mostly in English-speaking countries. Such popular manga works include Lucky Star, FullMetal Alchemist, and Naruto.


Slim-fitting jeans remained popular through the decade, especially on women

Fashion trends varied from 1930s to 1960s and 1990s styles. Fashion trends of the 2000s include Crocs and Ugg boots for feet. Hair styles included the wings haircut for boys, which slowly but surely increased to a very high level by 2009 and semi-long and straight hair for girls continued, amongst many other hairstyles from the 1990s. Many films followed the fashion trends of the time, and for head gear, the Chullo became a very popular winter wear in the late 2000s. In the first part of the 2000s Nike was the dominant sneaker brand for adults and Sketchers were popular for children. Starting in 2004, trends for sneakers started to shift toward brands like Converse and Vans high tops.

By 2004, the grunge style of the 1990s had faded away into a more hip hop dominated fashion scene. Shirts that exposed the belly button and low rise baggy cargo pants which debuted in the late 1990s, became mainstream. Tube tops were extremely popular in the mid-2000s. Spaghetti straps were popular until about 2007.

The late 2000s saw a huge revival of 1980s fashion trends such as off the shoulder tops and neon colors came back in style. Skinny jeans became a staple clothing for young women and men by 2009, with mass brands Gap and Levi launching their own lines.[154] High top Converse and basketball shoes such as Nike and Reebok became very popular. Studded belts and tucked in shirts became popular once again. A dramatic shift in fashion from tightly fitted clothing on top and baggy clothing on the bottom shifted to loose clothing on top and extremely tight clothing on the bottom. These trends remain in fashion for the 2010s.

Print media

  • The decade saw the steady decline of books, magazines and newspapers as the main conveyors of information and advertisements in favor of the Internet and other digital forms of information.[155][156][157]
  • News blogs grew in readership and popularity; cable news and other online media outlets became competitive in attracting advertising revenues and capable journalists and writers are joining online organizations. Books became available online, and electronic devices such as Amazon Kindle threatened the popularity of printed books.[158][159]
  • According to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the decade showed a continuous increase in reading, although circulation of newspapers has declined in conjunction with the Economic Recession.[160]

See also


The following articles contain brief timelines which list the most prominent events of the decade:



  1. ^ As of October 30, 2009 (2009 -10-30):
    Total EUR currency (coins and banknotes) in circulation 771.5 (banknotes) + 21.032 (coins) =792.53 billion EUR * 1.48 (exchange rate) = 1,080 billion USD
    Total USD currency (coins and banknotes) in circulation 859 billion USD
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