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This comment is a response to the Cold Takes post Has life gotten better?: the post-industrial era, which is related to this EA forum post. The "impressive, consistent improvement" rating given to poverty and nutrition was surprising given the data available, as was the generally optimistic analysis of armed conflict.

TLDR: Life is getting better in some ways, but people in many high-population growth countries are dearly lacking the basics in consumption, nutrition, and safety from armed conflict. Aspects of all three problem areas have overall stagnated or worsened in recent decades according to some of the data from OWiD and ReliefWeb.

The absolute number of people experiencing better lives on certain metrics has increased in the post-industrial era, but the relative share of wellbeing factors is still strongly skewed away from places experiencing high population growth.

#1 Poverty: 

85% of the world's population lives in poverty on less than the equivalent of $30 per day, and OWiD's grapher shows shockingly little movement in the majority of countries since 1981 (earliest data avail) on that metric, despite significant gains in reducing the # of people living on under $1.90 per day during the same period. The areas with a stagnant poverty population share are also experiencing the highest rate of population growth, potentially leaving a higher absolute number of people in poverty in the future than there were in the late 20th century.  

#2 Nutrition: 

Similarly, global average adult height (proxy measurement for nutrition) increased consistently across nations in the global north through the 20th century, but people born in the 80s and 90s in many African and Southeast Asian places are shorter as adults than people born 10 to 20 years before. While the general height trend skews upward, it masks notable declines across the populations of most interest to those working toward global health and wellbeing.

#3 Armed conflict:

I also am skeptical of the examples given for improvements in violence, as the numbers cited are predominantly from Europe and the UK. This might be a limit of OWiD, since their "War and Peace" section is focused on state conflict (i.e. conflict where at least one belligerent is an internationally recognized government). Unfortunately, the number of non-state conflicts has been increasing drastically since 2010 with large shares in Africa and the Middle East, so this is a major blind spot. 

The original post on Cold Takes might be meant to inspire & encourage people about how quickly things have improved in some places. However, the glib generalization of worldwide progress is misleading and potentially harmful, as it underplays the increasingly inequitable distribution of poverty and violence persisting in the world. Furthermore, it's imperative that leaders in the global health & wellbeing space represent these issues in a way that encourages urgency.