Our World in Data

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Compilation of graphs from the organization, showing the overall global percentages of the last two centuries, in six factors: Extreme poverty, democracy, basic education, vaccination, literacy, child mortality.

Our World in Data (OWID) is a scientific online publication that focuses on large global problems such as poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, war, existential risks, and inequality. It is a project of the Global Change Data Lab, a registered charity in England and Wales,[1] and founded by Max Roser, a social historian and development economist. The research team is based at the University of Oxford.[2]


Global CO2 emissions by world region since 1750
See or edit source data.
CO2 emissions per capita from 1900 to 2017.[3]

The web publication uses interactive charts and maps to illustrate research findings often taking a long-term view to show how global living conditions have changed over time.

In 2020, Our World in Data became one of the leading organizations publishing global data and research on the COVID-19 pandemic.[4][non-primary source needed] They created and maintained the worldwide database on testing for COVID-19 which was used by the United Nations, the White House, the World Health Organization and epidemiologists and researchers.[5][6] Their COVID testing database was published in Nature.[7]

In 2021 Our World in Data created and maintained the worldwide database on vaccinations for COVID. It was used by the World Health Organization, the New York Times, and the Financial Times in their data portals.[8][9]


Roser began his work on the project in 2011,[10] adding a research team at the University of Oxford later on.

In the first years Roser developed the publication together with inequality researcher Sir Tony Atkinson. The first grant to support the research project was given by the Nuffield Foundation, a London-based foundation focused on social policy.

In early 2019, Our World in Data was one of only 3 nonprofit organizations in Y Combinator's Winter 2019 cohort.[11][12]

In 2019, Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison called for a new academic discipline of 'Progress Studies' that institutionalizes the mission of Our World in Data and Collison published a permanent recommendation to join the team of Our World in Data.[13][14]

In 2019, Our World in Data won the Lovie Award, the European web award, "in recognition of their outstanding use of data and the internet to supply the general public with understandable data-driven research – the kind necessary to invoke social, economic, and environmental change."[15]

Cartogram showing the distribution of the global population. Each of the 15,266 pixels represents the home country of 500,000 people.

Collaborations and partnerships[edit]

Life expectancy in 1800, 1950, and 2015

The publication has received grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom and the Nuffield Foundation as well as donations from hundreds of individuals.[16]

The non-profit Global Change Data Lab publishes the website and the open-access data tools that make the online publication possible. The research team is based at the University of Oxford's Oxford Martin School. Director is the founder Max Roser.[17]

The Our World in Data research team also publishes their research work in a number of widely accessed media outlets including the BBC,[18] Vox, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. The research team has also collaborated with science YouTube channel Kurzgesagt to reach millions of viewers.

As a complement to GDP, environmental economist Cameron Hepburn proposed a comprehensive measure of wealth – including environmental and natural aspects – on Our World in Data.[19]

In the coronavirus pandemic, the team partnered with epidemiologists from Harvard's Chan School of Public Health and the Robert Koch Institute to study countries that have responded successfully in the early phase of the pandemic.[20] Oxford professors Janine Aron and John Muellbauer worked with OWID to research the excess mortality during the pandemic.[21]


Our World in Data is cited in academic scientific journals,[22][23][24][25][26] medicine and global health journals,[27][28] and social science journals.[29]

The BBC[30] and publications like The Washington Post, The New York Times,[31] and The Economist[32] regularly rely on Our World in Data as a source.

Tina Rosenberg emphasized in The New York Times that Our World in Data presents a “big picture that’s an important counterpoint to the constant barrage of negative world news”. Steven Pinker placed Roser's Our World in Data on his list of his personal “cultural highlights”[33] and explained in his article on 'the most interesting recent scientific news' why he considers Our World in Data so very important.[34]

Private sector companies, like McKinsey Consulting, rely on Our World in Data publications to understand emerging markets and changes in poverty and prosperity.[35][36]

Institutions that rely on this online publication for their teaching include Harvard, the University of Oxford, Stanford University, the University of Chicago, The University of Cambridge, and the University of California Berkeley.[37] Our World in Data is used by teachers and lecturers in a range of subjects including medicine, psychology, biology, sustainable development, economics, history, politics and public policy.

From March 2020 to February 2021, the site was visited by 100 million users.[38]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  2. ^ "The Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development". Oxford Martin School. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  3. ^ "Where in the world do people emit the most CO2?". Our World in Data. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  5. ^ Subbaraman, Nidhi (2020-03-23). "Coronavirus tests: researchers chase new diagnostics to fight the pandemic". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00827-6. PMID 32205872.
  6. ^ Yan, Holly. "Trump says the US leads the world in testing. But it's far behind in testing per capita, studies show". CNN. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  7. ^ Hasell, Joe; Mathieu, Edouard; Beltekian, Diana; Macdonald, Bobbie; Giattino, Charlie; Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban; Roser, Max; Ritchie, Hannah (2020-10-08). "A cross-country database of COVID-19 testing". Nature. 7 (1): 345. doi:10.1038/s41597-020-00688-8. ISSN 2052-4463. PMC 7545176. PMID 33033256.
  8. ^ "WHO COVID-19 Explorer". worldhealthorg.shinyapps.io. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  9. ^ Holder, Josh. "Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  10. ^ "History of Our World in Data". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  11. ^ "YC-backed Our World in Data wants you to know what's changing about the planet". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  12. ^ "Our World in Data is at Y Combinator". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  13. ^ "Work · Patrick Collison". patrickcollison.com. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  14. ^ Cowen, Patrick Collison, Tyler (2019-07-30). "We Need a New Science of Progress". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  15. ^ "Meet The 2019 Lovie Awards Special Achievement Winners". The Lovie Awards. 2019-10-07. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  16. ^ "Our supporters". OWID. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  17. ^ "Our Team". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  18. ^ Ritchie, Hannah (2019-02-04). "Which countries eat the most meat?". Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  19. ^ "The missing economic measure: Wealth". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  20. ^ "How experts use data to identify emerging COVID-19 success stories". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  21. ^ "A pandemic primer on excess mortality statistics and their comparability across countries". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  22. ^ Nagendra, Harini; DeFries, Ruth (2017-04-21). "Ecosystem management as a wicked problem". Science. 356 (6335): 265–270. doi:10.1126/science.aal1950. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 28428392.
  23. ^ Lamentowicz, M.; Kołaczek, P.; Laggoun-Défarge, F.; Kaliszan, K.; Jassey, V. E. J.; Buttler, A.; Gilbert, D.; Lapshina, E.; Marcisz, K. (2016-12-20). "Anthropogenic- and natural sources of dust in peatland during the Anthropocene". Scientific Reports. 6: 38731. doi:10.1038/srep38731. PMC 5171771. PMID 27995953.
  24. ^ Topol, Eric J. (2019). "High-performance medicine: the convergence of human and artificial intelligence". Nature Medicine. 25 (1): 44–56. doi:10.1038/s41591-018-0300-7. ISSN 1546-170X. PMID 30617339.
  25. ^ Liu, Xin; Xu, Xun; Vigouroux, Yves; Wettberg, Eric von; Sutton, Tim; Colmer, Timothy D.; Siddique, Kadambot H. M.; Nguyen, Henry T.; Crossa, José (May 2019). "Resequencing of 429 chickpea accessions from 45 countries provides insights into genome diversity, domestication and agronomic traits" (PDF). Nature Genetics. 51 (5): 857–864. doi:10.1038/s41588-019-0401-3. ISSN 1546-1718. PMID 31036963.
  26. ^ Levitt, Jonathan M.; Levitt, Michael (2017-06-20). "Future of fundamental discovery in US biomedical research". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114 (25): 6498–6503. doi:10.1073/pnas.1609996114. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 5488913. PMID 28584129.
  27. ^ Lartey, Anna; Shetty, Prakash; Wijesinha-Bettoni, Ramani; Singh, Sudhvir; Stordalen, Gunhild Anker; Webb, Patrick (2018-06-13). "Hunger and malnutrition in the 21st century". BMJ. 361: k2238. doi:10.1136/bmj.k2238. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 5996965. PMID 29898884.
  28. ^ Yamin, Alicia Ely; Uprimny, Rodrigo; Periago, Mirta Roses; Ooms, Gorik; Koh, Howard; Hossain, Sara; Goosby, Eric; Evans, Timothy Grant; DeLand, Katherine (2019-05-04). "The legal determinants of health: harnessing the power of law for global health and sustainable development". The Lancet. 393 (10183): 1857–1910. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30233-8. ISSN 0140-6736. PMC 7159296. PMID 31053306.
  29. ^ Weil, David; Storeygard, Adam; Squires, Tim; Henderson, J. Vernon (2018-02-01). "The Global Distribution of Economic Activity: Nature, History, and the Role of Trade". The Quarterly Journal of Economics. 133 (1): 357–406. doi:10.1093/qje/qjx030. ISSN 0033-5533. PMC 6889963. PMID 31798191.
  30. ^ "Why income inequality is so much worse in the U.S. than in other rich countries". Washington Post.
  31. ^ Frakt, Austin (2018-05-14). "Medical Mystery: Something Happened to U.S. Health Spending After 1980". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  32. ^ "Africa is on track to be declared polio-free". The Economist. 2019-08-21. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  33. ^ Observer, Steven Pinker/the (2015-08-23). "On my radar: Steven Pinker's cultural highlights". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  34. ^ "Human Progress Quantified – Edge answer by Steven Pinker". www.edge.org. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  35. ^ "Tech for Good". Mc Kinsey Global Institute.
  36. ^ "Chris Blattman blog". Chris Blattman. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  37. ^ "Our World in Data for teaching – what we are learning from your feedback". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  38. ^ @OurWorldInData (7 March 2021). "We had 100 million visitors to our site in the last 365 days!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]