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UN Data: Official Statistics for Everything


UN Data - Search Box

If you're curious how many Internet users there are in Afghanistan or what the population of Spain is, you can dig through Google searches to try and find an authoritative source. If you're more old-fashioned, you can visit your local library and do the research there. Now there's a third option. The United Nations has unveiled a new site that serves as a clearing house for all of the data and statistics it collects around the world, called UN Data. Using UN Data, statistical information on populations, demographics, trade, commodities, and more are all a single search away.

There are a number of places to go to get useful information about the state of the world. You can always head over to Wikipedia, or check out Worldometers, but often a lot of that data is pulled from or re-published from UN databases or results from UN surveys. UN Data allows you to go straight to the source. The site has couple of popular searches to get you started using the service, and some categories at the bottom if you're looking for a specific type of information but need some guidance.

You can find specific information about individual countries, or get data on global trends using UN Data. For example, if you want to know everything there is to know about the Netherlands, simply type in "Netherlands" to see some basic information about the country like its current population and population growth, a small map of the nation, and a listing of individual databases that pertain to the Netherlands hosted at UN Data. You can scroll through the list to see items like the number of patent grants awarded to people in the Netherlands, the country's use of IMF credits, the number of Internet users in the Netherlands, and more.

It's a good thing there are some guidelines to searching, because the UN Data search tool isn't particularly easy to use. Don't expect to type in a search term and immediately be whisked to all the data you could ever want; you'll have to sift through search results to find information applicable to what you're looking for, and modify the filters on the left side of the page to include and exclude certain information.

You can select to include the "Key Indicators" database for example, if you're looking for stats on items like a country's gross domestic product, but exclude it if you're looking for data on a country's agriculture.

Searches at UN Data don't have to be about nations or countries, you can find global statistics as well, like the amount of greenhouse gases emitted worldwide and from what sources, or the number of live animals traded among countries in a given year or group of years. The service allows you to filter all of your information by country, or you can view it all together.

UN Data's search tools may not be the easiest to work with, but once you start using it, you get the hang of it quickly and it's an incredible resource with a wealth of information behind it. The database is free to use and open to the public, and the branch or office of the UN that compiled the data is listed right next to the search results.

UN Data: Official Statistics for Everything - AppScout

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