Our World in Data is focussing on the powerful changes that reshape our world
To work towards a better future, we all need to understand how and why the world has changed up to now. We must carefully measure what we care about, and let the facts and research inform our worldview.
We cannot know what is happening in the world from the daily news alone. The news media focuses on single events, too often missing the long-lasting, forceful changes that reshape the world we live in.
Our World in Data is a non-profit website that brings together the data and research on the powerful, long-run trends reshaping our world: Through interactive data visualizations we show how the world has changed; by summarizing the scientific literature we explain why.
A platform to hold power to account
On the closely integrated website SDG-Tracker.org we present the data and research on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, all countries in the world signed up to reach the SDGs by 2030. We built this site to track progress towards them, allowing all of us to hold governments to account. Our SDG-Tracker is the only publication that presents all the latest available data on the 232 SDG-Indicators with which the 17 Goals are assessed.
This is the core of our mission and extends beyond the SDGs. The development of new technologies, resources spent on medical care, infrastructure investments, and the education for the next generation – we all, the citizens of this world, are investing billions towards the ambitious goal of making the world a better place. What we do not do enough is to investigate whether these efforts are actually getting us closer to achieving our goals.
We show that progress is possible and that it is very much needed
Progress in improving global living conditions and in reducing humanity’s impact on the environment are gravely needed. We believe that if the world wants to be serious about achieving progress we have to measure accurately and publish the results in an understandable and public platform. Only then can everyone see the state of the world today, track where we are moving the right direction, and where we are falling behind. To make progress we need accountability. With Our World in Data we want to build the infrastructure that allows everyone in the world to understand global development and to track whether we are achieving the progress we urgently need.
For readers of our publication two perspectives become very clear:
- Our world today is neither just nor sustainable. Data on the current state of the world leaves no doubt about it. In some aspects the data suggests that the world is getting worse and in many ways the research makes clear that we can do much better than we currently do.
- It is possible to change the world. In many important ways global living conditions have improved. These facts are surprising to many because it is a widespread belief that the world is stagnating or getting worse. We believe that in our fight against current challenges it is important to know that we have been able to make progress up to now and we should use the opportunity to study in detail how it was possible to improve living conditions in the past.
Taken together this means that often we find that both are true at the same time: The world is much better than in the past. And the world is still awful and we know that we can do much better.
This is a very high-level summary of the perspective we offer. You have to look into the data and research of the specific aspect you are interested in to see how the world is changing.
Comprehensive perspective on global living conditions and the earth’s environment
We take a broad perspective, covering an extensive range of aspects that matter for our lives. Measuring economic growth is not enough. The entries on Our World in Data are dedicated to long-run global changes in health, population growth, education, culture, violence, political power and human rights, war and peace, material prosperity and poverty, technology, food and hunger, and humanity's impact on the environment. Covering all of these aspects in one resource makes it possible to understand how long-run global trends are interlinked.
Our world in data shows you both the challenges we face today and the progress that has been achieved. We need to know this to understand how we can build a better future.
Based at Oxford
Our World in Data and the SDG-Tracker are collaborative efforts between researchers at the University of Oxford, who are the scientific editors of the website content; and the non-profit organization Global Change Data Lab, who publishes and maintains the website and the data tools that make our work possible. At the University of Oxford we are based at the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development and the Leverhulme Center for Demographic Science at Nuffield College.
A public good: All is free to use for everyone
The online publication is made available in its entirety as a public good. Visualizations and text are licensed under CC BY and may be freely used for any purpose. The data is available for download. And all code we write is open-sourced under the MIT license and can be found on GitHub. Feel free to make use of anything you find here.
If you want to use data or visualizations from the site, you don't need to contact us: please just go ahead and do so!
If you want to use data or visualizations from the site, you don't need to contact us: please just go ahead and do so! The terms of our license only require attribution.
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