Do people migrate toward parks, and if so, why? These long-standing questions in conservation are especially important in tropical regions. It is there that rural human populations intersect with some of the world’s greatest biodiversity, and protected areas are often the last line of defense in the fight to slow species extinctions. Detailed case studies have been the predominant source of insight into these issues, yet there has been a recent push for larger-scale analyses. Here we address the insufficiency of global datasets for answering global people-park questions. More than ever, it is of utmost importance that scientists get the correct answers when working at the intersection of human welfare and biodiversity conservation. Successful conservation of tropical biodiversity depends upon it.