Our World in Data


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

…(read more).

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