Gapminder: Unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact-based world view.
What it has data about
First and foremost, this web site has a section called Gapminder World that gives you an engaging and very popular way to display valid, reliable data about the world. As its popularity has grown, they have added other kinds of information.
“In the news, people in other cultures seem stranger than they are. We visited 240 families in 46 countries and collected 30,000 photos. We sorted the homes by income, from left to right. See how people really live.”
This section has four dozen videos featuring Hans Rosling. His presentations, based on the data to be found at Gapminder, are outstanding examples of the kind of fact-based and data-based thinking that ENG 200 is encouraging. Examples:
Religions and babies – Is there a relation between religion, sex and the number of babies per woman?
200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats – Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans Rosling shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.
In this section of the site, you can download the Gapminder software to use on your own computer offline. The section also has over a dozen handouts, lesson plans, and interactive presentations.
This section has ideas and materials for teachers who want to use Gapminder tools in their classrooms.
The Ignorance Project is the Gapminder Foundation’s effort to fight devastating ignorance with a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand. They started the Ignorance Project to investigate what the public knows and doesn’t know about basic global patterns and macro-trends. When they find large knowledge-gaps, they know what teaching materials they should develop.
Why Gapminder exists (from the About page):
We humans are born with a craving for fat and sugar. But we are also born with a craving for drama. We pay attention to dramatic stories and we get bored if nothing happens.
Journalists and lobbyists tell dramatic stories. That’s their job. They tell stories about extraordinary events and unusual people. The piles of dramatic stories pile up in peoples minds into an over-dramatic worldview and strong negative stress feelings: “The world is getting worse!”, “It’s we vs. them!” , “Other people are strange!”, “The population just keeps growing!” and “Nobody cares!”
For the first time in human history reliable statistics exist. There’s data for almost every aspect of global development. The data shows a very different picture: a world where most things improve; a world that is not divided. People across cultures and religions make decisions based on universal human needs, which are easy to understand. The fast population growth will soon be over. The total number of children in the world has stopped growing. The remaining population growth is an inevitable consequence of large generations born decades back. We live in a globalized world, not only in terms of trade and migration. More people than ever care about global development! The world has never been less bad. Which doesn’t mean it’s perfect. The world is far from perfect.
The dramatic worldview has to be dismantled, because it is stressful and wrong. It leads to bad focus and bad decisions. We know this because we have measured the global ignorance among the world’s top decision makers in public and private sector. Their global ignorance is high, just like the ignorance of journalists, activists, teachers and the general public. This has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s a problem of factual knowledge. Facts don’t come naturally. Drama and opinions do. Factual knowledge has to be learned. We need to teach global facts in schools and in corporate training. This is an exciting problem to work on and we invite all our users to join the Gapminder movement for global factfulness. The problem can be solved, because the data exists.
This section has all the data sources and the raw data that is displayed on Gapminder World.
1800 to the present. Before around 1800, what we know as “statistics” did not exist.
“260 countries and territories. Our goal is to have data for all these entities for at least two indicators (one of them being population), from 1800 onwards. However, most indicators will only have data for a selection of these entities.”
For which of Factistan’s issues it has relevant data
Gapminder World has data stored on over 500 tables that you can download, view, and visualize in Gapminder World’s bubble graphs. It includes data from over 200 countries, including the U.S., on almost every one of Factistan’s economic and social issues. It is especially useful for seeing changes over time.
First three and final three alphabetical topics:
Adults with HIV (%, age 15-49)
Age at 1st marriage (women)
Aged 15+ employment rate (%)
Urban poverty (% urban people below national urban poverty line)
Water and sanitation aid given (% of aid)
Working hours per week
You can also sort the data by category:
Each of these categories has sub-categories. For example, the sub-categories under Work:
Labor force participation
Who collected it
Gapminder is a meta-primary data source. About page.
“The Gapminder Foundation … is an independent Swedish foundation with no political, religious or economic affiliations. Gapminder is a fact tank, not a think tank. … We promote a new way of thinking about the world and the society which we call Factfulness. It is the relaxing habit of carrying opinions that are based on solid facts.”
All the data come from primary data collection agencies (sort full list by Data Provider), especially:
- World Health Organization
- World Bank
- UNICEF Childinfo
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics
- UN Statistics Division
- UN Population Division
- OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)
- International Labour Organization
How they collected it
Reports from other data collection agencies
How they present it
This site does it all: Data sets (spreadsheets), tables, visualizations (charts and graphs, multimedia), maps, videos
How to use
See chart on the right; click to enlarge.
How to cite
Gapminder Foundation. Gapminder World. Stiftelsen Gapminder: Stockholm. www.gapminder.org/world/. Accessed 4 Jan. 2017.