Iraq, before and after

The United Nations have completed "the most detailed survey yet" of life in post-war Iraq, and despite the media's best efforts to paint Iraq as Quagmire Central, the information contained in the survey (while not definitely accurate, of course), is encouraging. Firstly, let's compare the UN's study with the Lancet's debunked study:

UN: 21,600 households surveyed, between 18,000 and 29,000 deaths, probably 24,000, all 18 provinces.
Lancet: 808 household surveyed, between 8,000 and 194,000 deaths, probably 98,000, plus deaths in Fallujah, plus the death rate of the previous time period, only 11 provinces surveyed.

Of course, this means the left will still use the far wilder statistical dartboard that is the Lancet survey, but let's just say that by using a 26.7 times larger survey size, we'll get a slightly more accurate answer. And of course, this is the UN, but considering the death toll is around what I estimate it to be, and the survey appears to be comprehensive, so we'll compare it with pre-war Iraq and other estimates.

- Deaths: 24,000 Iraqis in first year since 2003 invasion
Saddam's reign has an estimated death toll of 1.26 million with 4.54 million refugees created, according to the State Department's figures. Saddam's rule was from 1979-2003, so in 24 years, his average yearly death toll was 52,500, with over 189,000 refugees.

- Unemployment: 10.5%, or 18.4% when including those who had given up looking
This compares very favourably to pre-war Iraq, where the unemployment rate was 50-60%. However, don't expect the lefties to stop quoting 70% figures any time soon. On another note, at 10.5%, that puts the unemployment below Germany, and only 1.5% higher than the EU average.

- Housing: 6 per cent live in war-damaged homes
Does anyone have a pre-war comparison for this?

- Electricity: 29 per cent rely on generators
Pre-war electricity production was estimated at 4,400 megawatts per day, a level that was passed by October 2003. Currently, electricity production averages over 5,000 megawatts per day.

- Hygiene: 37 per cent connected to sewerage network, 54 per cent access to clean water
This is the Times Online figures; CNN says 78 percent have access. They're both reading the same figures, strangely enough. Other post war figures are around 70%.

- Children: 23 per cent chronically malnourished
The pre-war figure was 30% according to UNICEF, however they later played with those numbers in an attempt to score cheap political points.

- Income: Average per capita was £137 in 2003 and £77 in 2004
Actually, salaries have tripled in real terms, and were less than US$50 a month in 2003. Many workers have seen their income skyrocket - water treatment plant workers have had an increase of 30 times, teachers an increase of 3 times, and many other professions have increased by "two to 20 times".

- Women: 47 per cent illiterate
This is down from 55 per cent in 2002. The literacy rate for young people is higher than the literacy rate for any other age group except 25-34, showing good hope for the future but a backwards progression during Saddam's later years.

- Education: 79 per cent enrolment in primary schools
This is an increase of 700,000 since 2000.

- Health: 8 per cent suffer chronic illness
In that case, the 5,870% health spending increase is good news.

- Population: 27 million, 39 per cent under 15
But I though Iyad Allawi shot everyone?

A basic look at the actual facts shows that while Iraq is far from a paradise or utopian society, the improvements since the beginning of the war show great hope for the future. It's just a shame that reports like these had to be met with headlines like "Iraqis soldier on without power, water, jobs, sewers", when in 2000 reports would've been about Saddam co-operating with weapons inspectors (which he didn't).

(Via Tim Blair. Cross-posted to The House Of Wheels.)

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