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European countries making clear progress with Open Data

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Editor’s note: This is a guest blog from Margriet Nieuwenhuis, Eva van Steenbergen and Wendy Carrara on behalf of the European Data Portal. The indicator “Open Data readiness” mentioned in the analysis below is unrelated to the Open Data Readiness Assessment tool developed by the World Bank.
The public sector is providing increasing amounts of Open (Government) Data free of charge. Open Data refers to the information collected, produced or paid for by public bodies and can be freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose. In Europe, the maturity of Open Data varies between the countries, as recent research shows. In 2015, the European Data Portal team conducted an assessment of where European countries stood with regard to Open Data. The countries included are the EU Member States (28 countries in total) plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland – further on referred to as the EU28+ countries.
Two key indicators have been selected to measure Open Data maturity; Open Data readiness and the maturity of the national Open Data portal. Open Data Readiness looks at the presence of Open Data policies, at the use made of the available Open Data, and at the political, social and economic impact of Open Data. Portal Maturity measures the usability of a web-based Open Data portal with regard to the availability of functionalities, the overall re-usability of data, as well as the spread of data. The two key indicators as well as the sub indicators are depicted in the table below.
Open Data Maturity indicators.

Classifying countries by income: A new working paper

Neil Fantom's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Français | Español

"The World By Income"

just released a working paper reviewing the Bank’s classification of countries by income. As Tariq Khokhar and Umar Serajuddin pointed out in their recent blog about whether we should call countries developing or not, there’s a strong appetite for classifying and ranking countries. Where is the best country to live, according to the OECD? (it depends, but it might be Australia, Norway or Sweden.) Which are making the most social progress, according to the Social Progress Imperative? (Norway and Sweden again.) Where is it easiest to do business, according to the World Bank? (Singapore.) Which countries have highest or lowest human development, according to the United Nations Development Program? (that’s Norway once more, and Niger is lowest.).

Using GNI per capita

The World Bank has used a specific measure of economic development - gross national income (GNI) per capita - for the purpose of ranking and classifying countries for over 50 years. The first compendium of these statistics was called the World Bank Atlas, published in 1966 - it had just two estimates for each country: its population, and its per capita gross national product in US dollars, both for 1964. Then, the highest reported average income per capita was Kuwait, with $3,290. In second place was the United States, with $3,020, third was Sweden, a fair way behind, with $2,040. The bottom three were Ethiopia, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), and Malawi, with GNP per capita estimates of $50, $45 and $40 respectively (GNI used to be called GNP). It probably comes as no surprise that today Norway is top. Malawi is still bottom.

What makes a data visualization memorable?

Tariq Khokhar's picture
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Image via Borkin et al

It may surprise some readers that’s there’s a thriving academic discipline concerned with quantifying the effectiveness of information visualization techniques. As John Wihbey notes, “by applying some cognitive and behavioral science”, we can get beyond some of the “rules”, and often subjective criticisms of visualization to see what works in an experimental setting.

In a fascinating paper, Michelle Borkin asked subjects to look at a selection of visualizations from the Massviz corpus while tracking their eye movements, and then later asked them to describe in detail what they recalled of the visualizations.

So what did the study find?

MDG5: Despite progress, improving maternal health is still a challenge

Haruna Kashiwase's picture
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This is the fifth in a series of posts on data related the Millennium Development Goals based on the 2015 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Millennium Development Goal 5  is to "Improve maternal health" and is measured against a target to “Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio” and to “Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health”

In 2013, 99% of world’s 289,000 maternal deaths occurred in developing countries

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According to the WHO, every day, around 800 women lose their lives before, during, or after child delivery. In 2013, more than half of all maternal deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa, and about a quarter occurred in South Asia.

However, countries in both South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have made great progress in reducing the maternal mortality ratio. In South Asia it fell from 550 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 190 in 2013, a drop of 65 percent. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where rates are more than double those of South Asia, they’ve also dropped by almost 50 percent over the same period.

These achievements are impressive, but progress in reducing maternal mortality ratios has been slower than the 75 percent reduction between 1990 and 2015 targeted by the MDGs. Aside from a handful of countries, no developing regions on average are likely to achieve the target. But the average annual rate of decline has accelerated from 1.1 percent over 1990–95 to 3.1 percent over 2005–13.

MDG4: A dramatic decline in child mortality over the last 20 years

Dereje Ketema Wolde's picture
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This is the fourth in a series of posts on data related the Millennium Development Goals based on the 2015 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Millennium Development Goal 4  is to "Reduce child mortality" and is measured against a target to “Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate”. It includes indicators to measure the under-5 mortality rate, the infant mortality rate and the proportion of 1-year olds immunized against measles.

17,000 fewer children now die each day compared with 1990

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In 1990 13 million children died before their fifth birthday, by 1999 it was less than 10 million, and by 2013 it had fallen to just over 6 million. This means that at least 17,000 fewer children now die each day compared with 1990.

In 1990 the average under-five mortality rate for all developing countries was 99 deaths per 1,000 live births; in 2013 it had fallen to 50 or about half the 1990 rate. This is tremendous progress. But based on the current trend, developing countries as a whole are likely to fall short of the Millennium Development Goal target. Despite rapid improvements since 2000, child mortality rates in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia remain considerably higher than in the rest of the world


MDG3: Large differences in gender equality between and within countries

Masako Hiraga's picture
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This is the third in a series of posts on data related the Millennium Development Goals based on the 2015 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Millennium Development Goal 3  is to "Promote gender equality and empower women" and is measured against a target to "Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005, and in all levels of education no later than 2015" and also includes indicators to measure the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament and the share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector.

Since 1990, the number of women in parliament has quadrupled in the Middle East and North Africa

Chart 1

More women are participating in public life and decision making at the highest levels than in 1990, based on the proportion of parliamentary seats held by women. Latin America and the Caribbean leads developing country regions in 2014, at 29 percent, followed closely by Sub-Saharan Africa at 22 percent. The biggest change has occurred in the Middle East and North Africa, where the proportion of seats held by women more than quadrupled between 1990 and 2014 . At the country level Rwanda leads the way with 64 percent in 2014, higher than the percentage for high- income countries, at 26 percent.