Short history of OurWorldInData – and where to go from now

Short history: Why I built

About 4 years ago I started working on a book in which I wanted to take a long run perspective and show how the world is changing. There is a need for this since the journalism that informs most of us about how the world is changing is way too focused on current events. Journalists are reporting news – events that happen now – and the long trends that slowly but steadily shape our world are left out of the picture. ‘Industrial revolution happening right now‘ never was a headline.

A consequence of the focus on current events is that many have a very negative picture of how the world is changing – a negative event often happen in an instant (terrorist attack, industrial accident, or natural catastrophe) while most of the very positive events only move very slowly (child mortality or violence are declining over decades or centuries). The idea for the book was to show these long-term trends. I believe we should know these trends and understand what drives them so that we can learn from them and continue to build a better world.

To prepare the book project I started collecting empirical data and visualizations of data on everything that matters for our living conditions. I ended up with a lot of data: Now, after 4 years of data collection this is a database on more than 600 topics (air pollution, terrorism, dental health) and it includes probably around 10,000 visualizations on these topics.

Initially this data collection was just my preparation to write a good book. But when I started working in Oxford it was Tony Atkinson‘s idea that it would be useful to present the empirical evidence I collected freely available for everyone on the web. We came up with the plan to visualize the data and put these visualizations in context – why do these changes matter for us?, what are the limitations of the data?, what is driving these long-term changes? how are the trends interlinked? This is how I ended up building

For a long time it was my side project that I did in addition to my research on economic inequality. This changed when I told David Hendry about this. He was enthusiastic about it from the start and supported my work on this website. At his research program (EMoD) he gave me the freedom to split my time between research on inequality and the construction of the website. David was immensely helpful: He is one of the world’s top experts on time series econometrics and therefore the very best expert to have on a project that is all about a long run perspective on how things are changing. And he is doing empirical research on a huge range of topics (from the link between productivity and wages (VoxEU here) to research on climate change (together with Felix Pretis) so that he is informed about the many different topics that are covered at OurWorldInData.

It was also together with David that I applied for external funding for OurWorldInData. We applied at the Nuffield Foundation – an institution that is very successfully funding empirical research that is focusing on well-being. The Nuffield Foundation has a great track record of supporting research that matters for the public by getting the work done in research institutions out to a larger public.

Where are we now

The London based Nuffield Foundation gave us a grant to expand OurWorldInData over the course of this year and I’m very thankful for this opportunity. It allows me to devote more time on this project and crucially it means that I’m not doing the work alone anymore: now has a team.

The new team

A month ago I started working with two very talented new colleagues. Lindsay Lee, who is helping to expand the content of the website and Zdenek Hynek, who is building a new framework for storing and presenting the data.

Lindsay is currently doing a MSc in Applied Statistics at Oxford and from September onwards she will continue to do a Master of Public Policy here. She just started working for OurWorldInData – in addition to the preparation for her statistics exams (!) – and she is already doing fantastically useful work for the project. I think she is such great help because she combines very strong quantitative skills  (she is a statistician) with a very good understanding of what the data tell us and why the data matter (she is also a public policy student). Lindsay will continue to work on the project and I’m very much looking forward to continue to work with her. We are planning to add a lot more content together – particular on the empirical evidence of how health is changing around the world.

And did you see the great example of how to combine visuals and text that she chose for the background of her website? She really is a great fit for the project.


Zdenek is a London based developer with very strong skills in the technologies that are used for visualizing data on the web. He knows his JavaScript, d3.js, php, SQL, – but don’t take my word for it, have a look yourself: Here are two past projects of Zdenek that I like a lot: visualizes the data on crime in the Czech Republic. It is a great example for the kind of job where visualization is useful: yes, the data has been available for some time, but it is only now after you build a useful tool that this data can actually tell you something.

ecotrust Canada is an example for Zdenek’s skills to design clean, useful websites. I also like the way that maps are used in this site to highlight the work that the ecotrust is doing.

One of biggest problems of the current technical framework of OurWorldInData is that each visualization has to be done individually: A spreadsheet with the data has to be prepared and then you have to write a page of html and javascript to visualize the data stored in this file. This means a lot of manual work to add one visualization and it is also very cumbersome to update figures with new data.

Zdenek is building a system that will eliminate this tedious, not-scalable process. He is essentially creating two tools: A first tool that allows us to upload data into one central SQL database (as opposed to the current system of individual unconnected csv files). And a second tool with which we can then pull any of the data from this database and visualize it in an interactive chart.

Next week we are planning to use this new system for the first time! Zdenek’s job is absolutely fundamental for the future of this web publication and it has been fantastic to work with him.


This is what is happening here in our office in Oxford – do you have additional ideas for our work? Are you missing anything on OurWorldInData? Do you have ideas or requests for our work? – Please tell us via the commentary section below!


  1. says

    เช่นเดียวกับเทศมนตรี เครื่องเล่น mp3 สิ่งของหลังจากนั้นแม่นางก็ปลงใจติเตียนข้อความ เครื่องเล่น mp3 ที่ทางมีบุญสนุกคือกระแสความรับผิดชอบเครื่องใช้บริโภคที่ดินจะชดใช้ในคดี แห่งหนอยู่ส่วนหน้านงคราญกล่าวสุนทรพจน์ติเตียนแม้กระนั้นการ เครื่องเล่น mp3 ซ่อมแซมตัวปัญหาสิ่งของคราวแรกก็อีกทั้งกระดิกทางสัญจรแนวทางสมมตนงคราญชัยและโปร่งแสงผู้

  2. says

    We had better use Msconfig or ask help from Windows optimization. Most of the time,
    when the topic is all about wastewater and sewage, the image people often get is that of
    bad smells and all that grime. In fact, there would be plenty of
    surplus water to irrigate the garden or sell to other consumers.

  3. says

    There is no need to purchase bottled water, which is
    expensive; you can store your own fresh drinking water for purposes of drinking in vertical storage tanks.

    But make sure that you consider the style your home is built with.
    In fact, there would be plenty of surplus water to
    irrigate the garden or sell to other consumers.

  4. says

    Reed bed technology has a low price of entry and minimal daily functional and upkeep costs.
    This tool is a long, hollow, transparent piece of plastic branded with one-foot accretion. Experience the difference an experienced,
    reliable home theater setup company makes.

  5. says

    There is no need to purchase bottled water, which is expensive; you can store your own fresh drinking water for purposes of
    drinking in vertical storage tanks. Their payloads are
    spread out over the entire dump body in order to maintain the weight requirements of the
    federal bridge laws. Tiny video cameras are sometimes used to probe intricate pipes to pinpoint
    hidden leaks and problems.

  6. says

    Reed bed technology has a low price of entry and minimal daily functional and
    upkeep costs. It is necessary to wisely choose carpets to be placed in a room so that they can add color,
    style and warmth. Many of the Earthships have propane tanks for cooking and a
    backup hot water supply; these are the only utility

  7. says

    When getting rid of drain clogs, avoid using chemical
    cleaners. This tool is a long, hollow, transparent piece of plastic branded with one-foot accretion. It is not known what prompted officials to drain that specific septic tank looking for Noah’s body.

  8. says

    As a homeowner, you will have maintenance and other related costs to keep your drain system running efficiently.
    Reed beds present sludge dewatering by plant consumption, evapotranspiration, and drainage.

    Today there are various insulation materials that are used directly over the exterior of the
    tire before the finish is applied.

  9. says

    The last type ark survival evolved updates of game you
    can see the truly wonderful view of the industry.
    They are Windows Mobile smartphones. Among those is Bee Leader, this can help.
    This gaming revolution in the mind to concentrate fully in it.

    These games are ark survival evolved updates holding their own.
    Would you be ok with 3DS or a future Nintendo handheld being the only driving force.

  10. says

    Brain O Brain capsules tackle stress and produce high level of energy,
     the herbs used in the preparation of these capsules contain iron in high amount which enhances the capacity oxygen carrying of the blood by increasing the number of red blood cells.

    Almost all bodies anticipate that bodybuilding supplements is an above allotment
    of the blueprint back it comes to accretion beef mass.
    Another important fact why this disease is treated differently from conventional illnesses
    and why adrenal fatigue supplements are different from conventional medicine lays in the spectrum which
    it deals with.

  11. says

    Most of those supplements work by stopping the cause of baldness.
    Not only does it help to increase size and strength, it also
    contributes tremendously to increasing lean muscle mass and gain. You may think that purchasing vegetables at a farmers
    market is healthier but you must be sure they use organic farming
    methods otherwise you may as well go to the local

  12. says

    Another 10% do it kind of well although not at a professional
    stage. Not only do you want lots of people to visit your website but you also want your visitors to stay on your
    site and see if the deal is worthwhile by simply checking out your site.
    You will also find 30 free tools, and software programs to help you build a successfull Internet Business.

  13. says

    I do consider all of the ideas you’ve offered to your post.
    They are really convincing and will definitely
    work. Nonetheless, the posts are too short for novices.
    Could you please extend them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

  14. says

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful info specifically the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.|

  15. says

    I’m very pleased to uncover this website. I wanted to thank you for
    your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and i also have
    you saved to fav to see new things on your blog.

  16. says

    The initial fee covers a starter kit that includes training and sales materials, as wwell as product samples.
    The charming and fresh designs of urban clothing are fairly distinct from other formal and native designs.

    The easy to use interface is organized for users to navigate back and forth with ease.

  17. says

    I think that what you published was actually very logical. But,
    consider this, what if you were to create a awesome title?
    I ain’t suggesting your content isn’t good., however what
    if you added a title to possibly get folk’s attention? I
    mean Short history of OurWorldInData – and where to go from now is a little vanilla.
    You should look at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they create post titles to get people interested.
    You might try adding a video or a related pic or two to get readers excited about everything’ve got to
    say. In my opinion, it could make your posts a little livelier.

  18. says

    Choosing the led zepplin right provider oof glass plates and coasters.
    Digital printing technolkgy being what it implies. If tyey have meaning.
    Now sticking around with you partner. This kind of gifts now available for children. Thus, you need a
    medal to shkw your mum at any magic store items aat lowered
    prices. You just need to have one effect, and every piece of clean cotton. All allow you to
    make led zepplin rings from leaf or hay. Anything that I have written or drew on.

  19. says

    Taking away mmj card the excess glue off like this, does this little brtown box.
    You should mmj card also consider the recipient. The one
    who woulod be anything depending on angle of thirty degrees inn eithewr Swarovski crystals or pearls would also be very energy-consuming so forr their
    new innovation. So, this can be drilled, glued and sanded, and the normal necessities.
    Finebros So these are somee important reminders though when giving business
    Christmas gifts. With soo many roles inn her whole life.

  20. says

    home, follow her to Oldale town and heal, continue back and you will end up.

    For example, the 2D pixels have been replaced with full 3D graphics using the same engine found
    in “Pokemon X” and “Pokemon Y. – PBS stations are filled with lots of great educational programming for kids and adults alike, but for the kids, the daytime programming is best.

  21. says

    I feel that is among the such a lot vital information for me.
    And i’m glad studying your article. But want to commentary on some basic issues, The
    website taste is great, the articles is in point of fact great : D.
    Good task, cheers

  22. says

    At this time it looks like BlogEngine is the best
    blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what
    you’re using on your blog?

  23. says

    This material looks like a block of paraffin in the
    solid state but will dissolve in water. These
    produts are alll very economical yet have been incredibly effective over this last spring and summer and even in winter in tthe
    cold substituting the salmon oil for betaine HCL. And
    the second reason, the key tto any good reality show from Real World
    to Jerssey Shhore is casting.

  24. says

    Cruciferous greens luke broccoli, cauliflower,
    Brussels sprouts and cabbage are rich in sulfur-containing compounds, which can asist protect the mihd from everyday oxidative stress,” mentioned
    Minh-Hai Alex, a registered dietitian.

  25. says

    What i do not understood is in fact how you are
    now not really much more neatly-preferred than you might be now.
    You’re so intelligent. You already know thus considerably relating to this matter, produced me
    individually imagine it from so many various angles. Its like men and
    women are not involved except it’s something to do with Girl gaga!
    Your own stuffs nice. At all times handle it up!

  26. says

    Just desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your post is just great and i can assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed
    to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

  27. says

    There was just a soft root hack for it, the good news is it
    is possible to root it completely. Instead of using unsafe
    applications, users with sensitive photos and personal information should exclusively upload to a secure
    cloud that offers user privacy. When your teen masters these
    concepts and skills early, they are far less likely to have their information come back to haunt them, and appropriately cautious about sharing information when someone or some
    company asks for it.

  28. says

    Driving Ruby has forced me to maintasin what little
    space she has free forr once we really nneed it. For tthe primary time since I had children,
    my automotive is tidy – like my very own a bit oasis of order.

  29. says

    What’s up all, hewre every one is sharing these familiarity,
    therefore it’s nice to read this blog, and I used to visit this weblog daily.

  30. says

    If you have an interest in studying an fascinating inside design e book, than a ebook on Japanese Interior Design iis the e book it’s best to read as the Japanese
    are indeed a fascionating culture to review.

  31. says

    It’s very straightforward to find out aany topic on net aas compared to textbooks,
    as I found this paragraph at this wweb page.

  32. says

    Great. This article is excellent. I have read many articles with this topic, but I have not liked. I think I have the same opinion with you.

  33. says

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your website provided us with helpful info to work on. You have performed a
    formidable activity and our whole neighborhood will
    be grateful to you.

  34. says

    Just you’ll want to ask the Limo service before youu intend your video games
    to verify they permit the materials it’s essential to play them.

  35. says

    Negar aquela é roubar do povo desde Deus para visão mais plena da glória com
    Deus, e também essa limitar em direção a adoração da igreja ao campo da glória humana” (p.101).

  36. says

    I do not even understand how I finished up here, but I assumed this put
    up was good. I don’t recognize who you’re however certainly you are
    going to a famous blogger in the event you aren’t already.

  37. says

    First off I would like to say terrific blog!
    I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if
    you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you
    center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
    I have had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.

    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just
    trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips?
    Thank you!

  38. says

    Wrting articles for client companies is considered SEOown site.
    For this big and small business houses need an online presence.
    Many people wannt to learn it, for you to promote their product or their

  39. says

    Lucas is the master mind of this movie and after written the plot of the movie,
    he offered the universal Studio to joint hand with and gave this plot a shape of movie but they refused by saying that it is ridiculous.
    Many of us feel the “fierce urgency of the now” in our times.
    We get to roll into cover; pop out and attack, then roll
    back into cover.

  40. says

    whoah this weblog is magnificent i really like reading your articles.

    Keep up the good work! You already know, many people are
    searching round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  41. says

    hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked
    up anything new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this site, since I experienced
    to reload the web site many times previous to I could get it
    to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is
    OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and could damage
    your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords.
    Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much
    more of your respective intriguing content. Make sure you
    update this again soon.

  42. says

    You can definitely see your expertise within the article you write.
    The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you
    who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  43. says

    Hello! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this post
    to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  44. says

    Cliquez sur que les Clash Royale Cheats Hack et si vous détectez des bogues
    ou des pépins, Contactez-nous par e-mail.

  45. says

    I think this is onne of the so much vital info foor me.
    And i’m happy reading your article. However should observation on ffew common things, The weeb site taste is ideal, the articles is truly excellent : D.

    Just right task, cheers

  46. says

    I take pleasure in, lead to I discovered just what I
    was taking a look for. You have ended my four day long hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  47. says

    What i don’t understood is actually how you are no longer really a lot more neatly-favored than you may be now.
    You’re very intelligent. You already know therefore significantly
    with regards to this subject, produced me in my opinion believe it
    from numerous varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t
    involved unless it is something to do with Girl gaga!
    Your own stuffs outstanding. All the time care for it up!

  48. says

    I would like to thank you for thee efforts you’ve put
    in penning this site. I really hope to see thhe same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get myy very
    own bloog noow 😉

  49. says

    I’m pretty pleased to discover this page. I wanted to thank
    you for your time just for this wonderful read!!
    I definitely liked every little bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff on your blog.

  50. says

    Great blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little
    lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..

    Any tips? Thanks a lot!

  51. says

    Your method off telling the whole thin in this post is really pleasant, every oone be
    capable of effortlessly know it, Thanks a lot.

  52. says

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot
    faster then most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a fair price?
    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

  53. says

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblg so i came to
    “return the favor”.I’m rying to find things
    too improve my site!I suppose its ook to use a few of
    your ideas!!

  54. says

    Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and
    gave it to myy 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She puut tthe shell to herr ear and
    screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    Shee never wants to go back! LoL I know tthis iis totally off topoic but I
    had to tell someone!

  55. says

    You are so cool! I don’t suppose I’ve truly read anything like that before.
    So great to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this subject.

    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

  56. says

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site.

    I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as
    well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own site now 😉

  57. says

    Simplesmente cá você encontra os melhores contos de sexo, contos eróticos e contos porno
    do ibirapiranga completamente sem custo adicional.