Lucas Fink

April TOEFL Article of the Month: Milk and Economic Development

Each month, we’ll post a TOEFL-level article from the internet to help you practice your reading and vocabulary. Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Note that you will need to create an account and login to read the whole article, though you don’t need to subscribe or pay money for the content.

Milk and Economic Development: No Use Crying
From The Economist 

This article presents the idea that the ability to digest milk may explain how Europe got rich. 


First, let me be clear about my personal opinion: I don’t think it’s a very good idea to look for genetic reasons for Europe’s historical wealth. The reasons that Europe became wealthy are very many, and very complicated, I imagine. That said, this month’s article is a very short, interesting read, and it alone is not harmful. Plus it’s great as TOEFL Reading practice. And that’s the point!

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

The general topics (European history, biology) are common TOEFL topics, and the vocabulary is at a challenging, academic level. It’s actually a bit more difficult than an average TOEFL text, but that makes for good practice.

Here are some vocabulary words you need for the article:

migration = moving from one place to live in another place

composition = what something is made of

proportion = the size of a part compared to the size of the whole

tolerance = ability to accept and not fight against

estimate = guess (a number) using some information

(pre-)colonial = of the time when European people started trying to control the Americas, Africa, Australia, and Asia

incidence = how common or uncommon something bad (like disease) is

extract = take out; take from

infrastructure = roads, electricity, water, and other things needed for a city

innovation  = creating new things




  • Lucas Fink

    Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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