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, and 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 was 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[edit]

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 three 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[edit]

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

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 six staff members, 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 began campaigning for the International Energy Agency to make the data it collects from national governments genuinely open.[35]

Funding and collaborations[edit]

Life expectancy in 1800, 1950, and 2015

Global Change Data Lab, the non-profit that publishes Our World in Data and the open-access data tools that make the online publication possible, is funded through a mix of grants, sponsors, and reader donations.[36]

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 OWID as part of their 'Data for the public good' portfolio.

, the project is supported by grants from the Quadrature Climate Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a grant from German philanthropist Susanne Klatten.[citation needed] Among the sponsors are Longview Philanthropy, Effective Altruism Meta Fund, and The Musk Foundation, as well as prominent individuals such as Vitalik Buterin, Tobias Lütke, and Stripe founders Patrick Collison and John Collison.[37] The third major source of funding is reader donations. In 2020, more than 3000 individuals supported the project.[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 excess mortality during the pandemic.[42]


In 2021, the Our World in Data website had 89 million unique visitors.[43]

Our World in Data is cited in academic scientific journals,[44][45][46][47][48] medicine and global health journals,[49][50] and social science journals.[51] The Washington Post, The New York Times,[52] and The Economist[53] 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[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Our World in Data. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  2. ^ "The Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development". Oxford Martin School. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  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 21 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b "History of Our World in Data". Our World in Data. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  6. ^ Vaughan, Adam. "Hannah Ritchie interview: The woman giving covid-19 data to the world". New Scientist. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  7. ^ "YC-backed Our World in Data wants you to know what's changing about the planet". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Our World in Data is at Y Combinator". Our World in Data. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Work · Patrick Collison". patrickcollison.com. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  10. ^ Cowen, Patrick Collison, Tyler (30 July 2019). "We Need a New Science of Progress". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Meet The 2019 Lovie Awards Special Achievement Winners". The Lovie Awards. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  12. ^ "WHO COVID-19 Explorer". worldhealthorg.shinyapps.io. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  13. ^ Visual, F. T.; team, Data Journalism. "Covid-19 vaccine tracker: the global race to vaccinate". ig.ft.com. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  14. ^ Holder, Josh (29 January 2021). "Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  15. ^ Holder, Josh. "Tracking Coronavirus Vaccinations Around the World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  16. ^ Neville, Sarah (19 January 2022). "Pandemic exposes a world of healthcare inequalities". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  17. ^ "'Our World in Data': ¿El mundo va a mejor o a peor?". Crónica Global (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Covid-19 vaccine tracker: View vaccinations by country". CNN. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  19. ^ Millán, Víctor (5 April 2021). "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 21 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Max Roser on building the world's best source of COVID-19 data at Our World in Data". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Most governments are not yet on track to hit their vaccine roll-out targets". The Economist. 6 January 2021. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  22. ^ "COVID-19 Task Force Dashboard". data.covid19taskforce.com. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  23. ^ Ledford, Heidi (4 June 2021). "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 (10 May 2021). "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 (23 March 2020). "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 8 July 2020.
  27. ^ Hasell, Joe; Mathieu, Edouard; Beltekian, Diana; Macdonald, Bobbie; Giattino, Charlie; Ortiz-Ospina, Esteban; Roser, Max; Ritchie, Hannah (8 October 2020). "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 20 January 2022.
  29. ^ "Coronavirus (COVID-19)". Google News. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  30. ^ Harford, Tim (5 February 2021). "Why investing in data is never money wasted". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 July 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ "Our World in Data - Google Trends - 2004 to present". Google Trends. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  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 5 October 2021.
  34. ^ "Edouard Mathieu: An Open Data Approach to Solving the World's Problems". TEN7. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  35. ^ Ritchie, Hannah (5 October 2021). "Covid's lessons for climate, sustainability and more from Our World in Data" (PDF). Nature. 598 (7879): 9–9. doi:10.1038/d41586-021-02691-4. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 34611360. S2CID 238411009. Retrieved 10 November 2021. open access
  36. ^ "How We're Funded". Our World in Data. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  37. ^ "How We're Funded". Our World in Data. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  38. ^ Global Change Data Lab, Annual Report 2020, Page 7.
  39. ^ Yau, Nathan. "Kurzgesagt". FlowingData. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  40. ^ Whisner, Mary. "Library Guides: Law in the Time of COVID-19: Medical & Nonlegal Information". guides.lib.uw.edu. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  41. ^ "How experts use data to identify emerging COVID-19 success stories". Our World in Data. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  42. ^ "A pandemic primer on excess mortality statistics and their comparability across countries". Our World in Data. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Our Audience & Coverage". Our World in Data. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  44. ^ Nagendra, Harini; DeFries, Ruth (21 April 2017). "Ecosystem management as a wicked problem". Science. 356 (6335): 265–270. doi:10.1126/science.aal1950. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 28428392. S2CID 11224600.
  45. ^ Lamentowicz, M.; Kołaczek, P.; Laggoun-Défarge, F.; Kaliszan, K.; Jassey, V. E. J.; Buttler, A.; Gilbert, D.; Lapshina, E.; Marcisz, K. (20 December 2016). "Anthropogenic- and natural sources of dust in peatland during the Anthropocene". Scientific Reports. 6: 38731. doi:10.1038/srep38731. PMC 5171771. PMID 27995953.
  46. ^ 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.
  47. ^ 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.
  48. ^ Levitt, Jonathan M.; Levitt, Michael (20 June 2017). "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.
  49. ^ Lartey, Anna; Shetty, Prakash; Wijesinha-Bettoni, Ramani; Singh, Sudhvir; Stordalen, Gunhild Anker; Webb, Patrick (13 June 2018). "Hunger and malnutrition in the 21st century". BMJ. 361: k2238. doi:10.1136/bmj.k2238. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 5996965. PMID 29898884.
  50. ^ Yamin, Alicia Ely; Uprimny, Rodrigo; Periago, Mirta Roses; Ooms, Gorik; Koh, Howard; Hossain, Sara; Goosby, Eric; Evans, Timothy Grant; DeLand, Katherine (4 May 2019). "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.
  51. ^ Weil, David; Storeygard, Adam; Squires, Tim; Henderson, J. Vernon (1 February 2018). "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.
  52. ^ Frakt, Austin (14 May 2018). "Medical Mystery: Something Happened to U.S. Health Spending After 1980". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  53. ^ "Africa is on track to be declared polio-free". The Economist. 21 August 2019. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 3 November 2019.

External links[edit]