Our World in Data

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Our World in Data
PublisherGlobal Change Data Lab
FounderMax Roser
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]

Our World in Data's mission is to publish “research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems”.[4]

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.


2011 to 2019

Roser began his work on the project in 2011,[5] 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.[5]

Hannah Ritchie joined Our World in Data in 2017 and became Head of Research.[6]

In early 2019, Our World in Data was one of only 3 nonprofit organizations in Y Combinator's Winter 2019 cohort.[7][8]

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.[9][10]

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."[11]

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

2020 to present

Since 2020 Our World in Data became one of the leading organizations publishing global data and research on the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The team built and maintained the global dataset on COVID-19 testing.
    • This data was used by the United Nations, the White House, the World Health Organization and epidemiologists and researchers.[25][26]
    • Our World in Data's COVID-19 testing database was published in Scientific Data.[27]
  • Our World in Data also published data on hospitalizations, excess deaths and other data.[28]
  • All data is updated daily. Google displays this data in the Google Knowledge Graph.[29] Wikipedia also uses this data.

Tim Harford wrote that during the pandemic Our World in Data "performed heroic efforts in assembling clear, usable information from a messy patchwork of primary sources."[30]

The website's visibility largely increased compared to the pre-COVID period.[31] The organization began the pandemic with 6 staff, and grew to 20 by late 2021.[32][33] Edouard Mathieu joined in early 2020 and became Head of Data.[34]

In 2021 the team campaigned for open access to data from the International Energy Agency.[35]

Funding and Collaborations

Life expectancy in 1800, 1950, and 2015

The first grant to support the research project was given by the Nuffield Foundation, a London-based foundation focused on social policy. The Nuffield Foundation supported as part of their 'Data for the public good' portfolio.

The publication has received funding from grants from the Centre for Effective Altruism, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom and the Nuffield Foundation as well as from individual donations.[36][37]

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.[38]

The research team collaborated with science YouTube channel Kurzgesagt.[39][40]

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.[41] Janine Aron and John Muellbauer worked with OWID to research the excess mortality during the pandemic.[42]


Our World in Data is cited in academic scientific journals,[43][44][45][46][47] medicine and global health journals,[48][49] and social science journals.[50] The Washington Post, The New York Times,[51] and The Economist[52] have used Our World in Data as a source.

Tina Rosenberg wrote 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".

See also


  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. ^ "Why do we need to know about progress if we are concerned about the world's large problems?". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  5. ^ a b "History of Our World in Data". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  6. ^ Vaughan, Adam. "Hannah Ritchie interview: The woman giving covid-19 data to the world". New Scientist. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  7. ^ "YC-backed Our World in Data wants you to know what's changing about the planet". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  8. ^ "Our World in Data is at Y Combinator". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  9. ^ "Work · Patrick Collison". patrickcollison.com. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  10. ^ Cowen, Patrick Collison, Tyler (2019-07-30). "We Need a New Science of Progress". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-09-22.
  11. ^ "Meet The 2019 Lovie Awards Special Achievement Winners". The Lovie Awards. 2019-10-07. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  12. ^ "WHO COVID-19 Explorer". worldhealthorg.shinyapps.io. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  13. ^ Visual, F. T.; team, Data Journalism. "Covid-19 vaccine tracker: the global race to vaccinate". ig.ft.com. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  14. ^ Holder, Josh (2021-01-29). "Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  15. ^ Holder, Josh. "Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-04-29.
  16. ^ Neville, Sarah (2022-01-19). "Pandemic exposes a world of healthcare inequalities". Financial Times. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  17. ^ "'Our World in Data': ¿El mundo va a mejor o a peor?". Crónica Global (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  18. ^ "Covid-19 vaccine tracker: View vaccinations by country". CNN. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  19. ^ Millán, Víctor (2021-04-05). "3100 gráficos de casi 300 temas distintos: así es Our World in Data, la web imprescindible para entender lo que ha pasado y está pasando". Xataka (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  20. ^ "Max Roser on building the world's best source of COVID-19 data at Our World in Data". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  21. ^ "Most governments are not yet on track to hit their vaccine roll-out targets". The Economist. 2021-01-06. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  22. ^ "COVID-19 Task Force Dashboard". data.covid19taskforce.com. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  23. ^ Ledford, Heidi (2021-06-04). "Six months of COVID vaccines: what 1.7 billion doses have taught scientists". Nature. 594 (7862): 164–167. doi:10.1038/d41586-021-01505-x. PMID 34089016. S2CID 235347317.
  24. ^ Mathieu, Edouard; Ritchie, Hannah; Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban; Roser, Max; Hasell, Joe; Appel, Cameron; Giattino, Charlie; Rodés-Guirao, Lucas (2021-05-10). "A global database of COVID-19 vaccinations". Nature Human Behaviour. 5 (7): 947–953. doi:10.1038/s41562-021-01122-8. ISSN 2397-3374. PMID 33972767. S2CID 234362504.
  25. ^ 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. S2CID 214630708.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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". Scientific Data. 7 (1): 345. doi:10.1038/s41597-020-00688-8. ISSN 2052-4463. PMC 7545176. PMID 33033256.
  28. ^ "covid-19-data/public/data at master · owid/covid-19-data". GitHub. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  29. ^ "Coronavirus (COVID-19)". Google News. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  30. ^ Harford, Tim (5 February 2021). "Why investing in data is never money wasted". Financial Times. Retrieved 2021-07-21.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ "Our World in Data - Google Trends - 2004 to present". Google Trends. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  32. ^ Wiblin, Robert. "Max Roser on building the world's first great source of COVID-19 data at Our World in Data". 80,000 Hours.
  33. ^ "Our World in Data - Team". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  34. ^ "Edouard Mathieu: An Open Data Approach to Solving the World's Problems". TEN7. Retrieved 2021-10-05.
  35. ^ "CORRECTION - IEA proposes to make all its data freely available". www.qcintel.com. Retrieved 2022-01-20.
  36. ^ "Our supporters". OWID. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  37. ^ "Our world in data". Nuffield Foundation. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  38. ^ "Our Team". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2019-06-18.
  39. ^ Yau, Nathan. "Kurzgesagt". FlowingData. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  40. ^ Whisner, Mary. "Library Guides: Law in the Time of COVID-19: Medical & Nonlegal Information". guides.lib.uw.edu. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  41. ^ "How experts use data to identify emerging COVID-19 success stories". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  42. ^ "A pandemic primer on excess mortality statistics and their comparability across countries". Our World in Data. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  43. ^ 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. S2CID 11224600.
  44. ^ 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.
  45. ^ 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. S2CID 57574615.
  46. ^ 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. S2CID 139100791.
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ 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.
  49. ^ 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.
  50. ^ 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.
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ "Africa is on track to be declared polio-free". The Economist. 2019-08-21. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019-11-03.

External links

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