Michigan State University

International Statistics: General Sources: World Coverage

Sources of international statistical information are held throughout the Michigan State University Libraries. This guide is not comprehensive, but provides information on a selection of some of the most important general sources.

Statistical Yearbooks

Many countries publish statistical yearbooks or maintain websites for a national statistical agency.  There are several ways to access:

  • Library Catalog
    MSU Libraries collects many of these yearbooks, check our library catalog for holdings.

Historical International Statistics

Most sources of online statistics do not included data prior to 1950.  Consulting print sources may be required.  Many of the electronic sources listed in this guide include information about their print counterparts.

Getting Started

Country Descriptions with Statistics

  • Europa World Year Book
    An excellent source for basic country information. Covers recent history plus the current political and economic system in each country of the world. Includes some statistics, information on political parties and political structure, and media information. Also includes voting information for recent elections.  Older editions (1960-2007) in the Main Library Stacks: JN1 .E85
     
  • Statesman's Yearbook
    [Latest edition at Reference Desk; earlier in Main. JA 51 .S7] Annual. 1874 on.
    Quick reference data on area, population, defense, economy, energy, natural resources, industry and trade, communications, religion, education and welfare. Alphabetical arrangement by country. Also provides selected information on major international organizations. Good for pre-1945 statistics, particularly for the British Empire.
     
  • CIA World Factbook
    "The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities."

Major Sources

United Nations

  • United Nations Data
    An enormous, free database of statistical information gathered by the United Nations and related agencies. Includes data from more than 180 countries and from a diverse group of IGOs, including the FAO, Unesco, UNDP and the WHO.
     
  • United Nations Statistics Division
    This main website provides information on all of the major statistical programs of the central UN, with links to databases and reports.  Includes a listing of specialized agencies of the UN and their statistical programs.
     
  • Human Development Report
    Data on a variety of quality of life (e.g., access to health care, life expectancy, education) variables are provided. Data are arranged to ease comparisons between developing and industrialized nations, and North and South. The online version allows viewing by country or statistical category, and can be downloaded as an Excel or PDF file.
    Print version going back to 1990. [Latest edition at Reference Desk HD72 .H85; earlier in Gov. Docs. stacks; also in IIS microfiche #4080-S6] Annual.
     
  • Least Developed Countries Report
    [Latest in Statistics Alcove, Reference Desk, HC59.7 L397; earlier in Int'l. Docs. 3 West; also IIS microfiche #4050-S8] Annual. 1984 on. Most recent also online.
    This report is published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Each year has an annex, "Basic Data on the Least Developed Countries," that contains data on 47 countries. Topics covered include GDP, production, exports and imports, financial flows, debt, health, education, transportation, and media.
     
  • Social Indicators
    United Nations Data collected from a variety of sources. Includes statistics on: Childbearing, Education, Health, Housing, Human settlements, Literacy, Income and economic activity, Population, Unemployment, Water supply and sanitation, and Youth and elderly populations.
     
  • Statistical Yearbook [of the United Nations]
    [Latest edition at Reference Desk HA12.5 .U63; earlier in Gov. Docs. stacks; also IIS microfiche #3030-S16] Annual. 1949 on. Statistical data for more than 270 countries/territories on population, labor, agriculture, forestry, fishing, industry, mining, manufacturing, transportation, communication, tourism, finance, energy, wages and prices, and more. Updated by the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics (International Docs. 3 W at HC59.A1 U66 ; also in IIS microfiche #3080-P2).
     
  • UN Comtrade
    A searchable database of import and export data from over 130 countries.

World Bank

  • World Bank Open Data
    The World Bank's Open Data initiative is intended to provide all users with access to World Bank data. The data catalog is a listing of available World Bank data sources.
     
  • World Development Indicators
    The World Development Indicators (WDI) provides a comprehensive selection of economic, social and environmental indicators, drawing on data from the World Bank and more than 30 partner agencies. The database covers more than 900 indicators for 210 economies with data back to 1960.  It also contains more than 1,000 country tables and the text from the most recent World Development Indicators print edition and the World Bank Atlas. Users can search for and retrieve data in spreadsheet form, create maps and charts, and fully download them into other Windows-based software programs for study or presentation purposes.
    • Print version, published annually since 1997. [Latest edition at Reference Desk HC59.15 .W656; earlier in Gov. Docs. stacks]
    • For earlier years, use:
      Social Indicators of Development (1987-1996: Gov. Docs HC59.69 .S63)
      World Tables (1976-1995: Gov. Docs. HC59 .W669)

International Monetary Fund

  • International Financial Statistics Online
    Data cover more than 200 countries and country groupings. Topics include: balance of payments, interest rates, national accounts, prices, production, trade, and population. Updated monthly.
    • MSU subscription access to IMF data covers: Coordinated Direct Investment Survey (CDIS), Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS), Financial Access Survey (FAS), International Financial Statistics (IFS)
    • 5 simultaneous user limit
    • International Financial Statistics Yearbook
      Print version of the online database. Goes back to 1980 in coverage
      International Documents, 3 West HG1 .I463

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

  • OECDiLibrary Statistics
    OECD Statistical Data cover the broad range of OECD activities including finance, sustainable development, social issues, food and agriculture, education, employment, information technology, nuclear energy, transport, and more. Data is updated frequently.
    The OECD is a group of 30 nations including much of Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea. It also occasionally publishes data from non-member countries such as Russia and China.
     
  • OECD Economic Surveys
    Most current titles available electronically through OECDiLibrary; older editions in Int'l. Docs. 3 West; also IIS microfiche #2300-S2] 1959 on. Provides detailed analyses of recent developments in demand, production, employment, prices and wages for OECD member nations and selected non-member countries. Each volume covers an individual country.

Statistical Indexes & Databases

 
 

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