World Bank Shifts to Online Reporting for Development Indicators
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The World Bank has launched the World Development Indicators portal, which hosts nearly 1,600 indicators across 217 economies.

In addition to offering quantitative access to data, the WDI site highlights key development issues through stories that bring together multiple indicators to demonstrate the interrelated nature of development issues.

The portal is part of a growing trend to provide open data online.

22 October 2018: The World Bank has launched the World Development Indicators (WDI) online portal, marking a shift in indicator reporting, as the Bank’s development indicators have been released only via print or PDF format since the 1990s. Described as the Bank’s “premier compilation of cross-county comparable data on development,” the site hosts nearly 1,600 indicators across 217 economies.

The portal organizes the indicators into six thematic areas: poverty and inequality; people; environment; economy; states and markets; and global links. Each thematic page provides an overview of the topic and uses a dashboard format to list all associated indicators. The dashboard provides key information related to each indicator, such as the years for which data is available and the proportion of countries with data. Data are further grouped into regional areas to assess geographic gaps in reporting.

When an indicator is selected, the platform provides three options for visualizing the data: line graph, bar chart or map. Filters allow users to view data at the global, regional or country level. The platform also suggests similar indicators to allow users interested in a specific topic to view related data.

In addition to offering quantitative access to data, the WDI site highlights key development issues through stories that bring together multiple indicators to demonstrate the interrelated nature of development issues. For example, a story titled, ‘A changing world population’, explores global population growth by: 1) disseminating population growth by country, 2) assessing the distribution of age and sex in populations since the 1960s, and 3) observing birth and death rates. By connecting these three indicators through a narrative, the stories provide a comprehensive understanding of the development issue.

The WDI portal also allows users to explore connections between the SDGs and World Development Indicators, which include “official SDG indicators as well as other data that are relevant to the SDGs.”

The WDI site is part of a growing trend to provide open data online, and follows related efforts from the World Bank, including its SDG Atlas. [World Bank press release]

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