Introduction to online data bases

The data available free on-line from international sources has been growing since many of the large organizations implemented a policy of making more of their data available in 2010. For instance, the World Bank which used to charge for it's World Development Indicators (WDI) and other data bases, now makes them available for downloading free. There are 46 free data bases on the World Bank's main data site alone, with a number of others on other pages of its website. Other international and national organizations are providing the same kinds of services--for example the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the US Census Bureau, the European Union and many others.

It is not possible on this website to track all of these data bases. But information on a number of key data bases will be updated regularly. The data bases selected will be of particular interest to people working in demographics, agriculture, education and health.  Preference will be given to data bases which provide data at the country level and have time series data. For population data bases, at least three will be included which provide population projections to 2050 or longer. The menu on the left provides access to the lists of selected data bases by topic.

The section of the web site on Open Source Software will identify free software which can be used for general office use and data analysis while the Using the Data section will provide examples of the use of both commercial and open source software for use in analysis and planning.

National Statistical Offices -- A list of links prepared by the United Nations to the websites of National Statistical Offices and other providers of statistics at the individual country level is available at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/inter-natlinks/sd_natstat.asp and The World Trade Organization (WTO) also provides a list at http://www.wto.org/english/res_e/statis_e/natl_e.pdf .
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