Developing countries today have unprecedented numbers of schools, classrooms, teachers—and students. Remarkable accomplishments have also been made towards achieving gender equality at all levels of education (see World Bank, 2010). Since 1999, girls’ gross enrollment rates have risen fastest in South Asia, especially at the primary level, by about 30 percentage points; in South Asia, girls’ enrollment rates at the secondary level rose almost as fast. In the other regions where girls’ enrollment rate at the primary level was already very high, girls’ enrollment rate at the secondary and tertiary levels showed impressive increases.
New debt statistics show that the composition of long term debt inflows in 2011 follows pre-crisis patterns.
Debt statistics are central to understanding the impact of the financial crisis; the World Bank's International Debt Statistics provides a detailed picture of debt flows of 128 developing countries. Now that the 2013 edition has been released, and as a member of the team that put it together, I thought I would look back at what the data tell us actually happened to international debt flows to developing countries before and after the recent financial crisis.
For over three decades debt statistics published by the World Bank have provided the authoritative accounting of the external debt of developing countries. Governments, investors and bankers, academics, and journalists have relied on them to identify financial trends and vulnerabilities.
The UNDP just launched open.undp.org. The site details information on their 6,000+ projects in 177 countries and territories worldwide and lets you search and browse by location, funding source, and focus areas.
I think it’s really good and I’m most impressed by three features:
It was awesome.
Here are seven things I learned:
1) Iteration is the path to perfection
By now you’ve heard of Nate Silver - the statistician behind FiveThirtyEight and a near-perfect prediction of the 2012 US elections. What you may have missed is the best interactive graphic of the year - the New York Times’ “Paths to the White House” built with Mike Bostock’s D3:
Shan Carter from the NYT graphics team showed how newspapers have struggled to represent the potential scenarios and actual outcomes of US elections ever since the late 19th century. His team eventually came up with the graphic above, but see how many revisions they went through to get there:
That’s 257 revisions. As early as version 15, you can see the core idea. At version 81, it looks almost done, but it takes another 157 revisions and that extra attention to detail, high production values and pride in your work to be at the top of your game like this.
Lesson: Iterate and aim high: editors are your friends, they’ll make your work stand out. Also: this is the benchmark for what a good data visualization looks like - if you can’t honestly say what you’re doing is at least this good, iterate.
Levels & Trends
in Child Mortality:
Substantial progress has been made towards achieving MDG Goal on Reducing Child Mortality but still insufficient – The new UN-World Bank child mortality estimates
New child mortality estimates (childmortality.org) show that substantial progress has been made towards achieving the fourth Millennium Development Goal. The estimates were released today by the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, which includes UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank and United Nations Population Division.
Since 1990 the global under-five mortality rate has dropped 41 percent, from 87 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 51 in 2011. Four of the six World Bank’s developing regions have reduced their under-five mortality rate by more than 50 percent: East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa regions. Progress towards Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 2015 target of a two-thirds reduction is also on track in these four regions. ("On track" indicates that under-five mortality is less than 40 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 or that the annual rate of reduction is at least 4 percent over 1990-2011.)
Last month, while World Bank President Jim Yong Kim launched the gender data portal, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked that “data not only measures progress, it inspires it”. Indeed when data is both relevant and effectively communicated, it can help to inform policies, identify challenges, and catalyze changes and innovations that deliver development results.
With that goal in mind, we started an Open Data Lab. One of our objectives is to help the development community become more effective data communicators by experimenting with different data visualization techniques and tools. The human brain finds it easier to process data and information if it is presented as an image rather than raw numbers or words. And visualizations that let and encourage users to interact with data can deepen their understanding of the information presented.
So. You're looking for the World Bank's data. Here are the top 5 ways I access it, what are yours?
Our most popular open data destination - the main World Bank Data site gives you an overview of the data we have on a country, region or topic. I like it because you can quickly browse and filter through many years of indicator data, make some basic charts and even embed them into your own web page.
This post comes from the World Bank Finances Team
The World Bank wants a “world free of poverty.” Facebook wants a world that’s more “open and connected.” Can we help realize both these dreams with open financial data? With ever more open data on the finances and activities of development organizations and governments available (and with much of that data becoming available in standard formats like IATI), how do we go beyond transparency and get to development impact?