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Our world in data

Researchers: Professor Sir David Hendry

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

The aim of this project is to develop data visualisations describing long-term social, economic and ecological trends. These visualisations are made publically available via a free access website.

The site is aimed at the general public, journalists and academics. Its central objective is to bring together the best available quantitative evidence on a wide range of topics and present it in an accessible, user-friendly way.

The site is helping to inform citizens about how the world is changing and to dispel unwarranted cynicism about many aspects of humanity’s development. It is also being used for teaching, and inspiring students and the general public to become more interested in the quantitative social sciences.

The website is made up of a series of overview articles on different topics (examples include homicides and fertility rates) classified under 16 broad headings (‘health’, ‘food and agriculture’, and so on). Each article contains four sections:

  • Key data on the topic from an interdisciplinary, long-term, global perspective.
  • A section called: ‘Correlates, Determinants & Consequences’, which helps the user understand what drives the changes and what they mean for humanity.
  • A discussion of data quality with definitions of key measures.
  • Links to the most important original data sources.

The site receives around 1,500 visitors daily. Users are able to download the data visualisations or embed them in their own websites under a Creative Commons licence, which only requires them to reference the source. 


  • Professor Sir David Hendry
    Primary researcher
    University of Oxford

  • Director, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation
By Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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