UCB Libraries

Introduction to International Statistics

Where to Start
In Find Articles and More you can find links to these databases and many more under StatisticsWorldwide (Data). These three databases are the ones that I would start with and that should be able to answer a majority of your statistical questions.
  • UNData
    UNData provides a google-like interface to data compiled by the United Nations and its affiliate organizations. It seems to get new data frequently, so this is a great place to go and dig around. It also has very nice country profiles that give you most of the basic information a student may need on a particular country.
  • World Development Indicators (WDI)
    WDI provides data from the World Bank on a variety of economic and social indicators for growth. The World Bank is generally thought of as a financial institution, but financial changes can often be affected by the social forces in a country such as education and equality. This database often has data back to 1960, but the data gets less complete the farther back in time you go.
  • Research and Subject Guides Database
    This database contains all the guides produced by librarians at CU-Boulder. While there are guides to statistics in here, there are also guides to topics that might lead you to the group that produces a particular statistical resource.
Five Things to Consider As You Look for International Data

  1. Looking at multiple countries or a single country?
    • One Country Solutions: If just one country, go to thats country statistics page, which should be linked off the country pages. We also have a number of statistical yearbooks, which you can find using Chinook.
    • Multiple Countries Solutions: This is when you need to start employing strategies mentioned in Section 2.
  2. Who cares about this statistic?
    • Think about the group that might gather this information.
      Finding the groups: Take a look at the list of international organizations, which might have a group that has a title that jumps out. Otherwise type that phrase into the search box at the top and see whose pages come up.
  3. Is this country part of the developed or developing world?
    • There are different organizations studying the different parts of the world. Developing countries will also have less information on their country web pages, so focus on the international organizations.
      Developing Countries Solutions: Check out the Developing Country Guide.
      Developed Countries Solutions: Check out the Developed Country Guide
  4. What is the time series they are looking for?
    • When looking for data, this is always the tricky part. If you are lucky they are looking for recent data on an annual basis. If not here are some ideas:
      • Historical data: How the question is asked can change over time. For example, wage data has been calculated very differently over the years and you may not be able to get consistent numbers back all the way in time. The more historical you get the more likely that paper will have to be consulted.
        Historical Data Solutions: There is historical data in databases, but the farther back you go the more difficult it becomes. If they are only looking for one country, it might be time to refer them to a Statistical Yearbook, which we have for many countries and those are cataloged in Chinook.
      • Time Series: Often there will be requests for data from this year or maybe they want monthly data or quarterly data.
        Time Series Solutions: Different databases, such as International Finance Statistics will provide alternative forms of time series and will on occasion go back further. Feel free to refer the students up to the Government Information Library.
  5. I am stuck, help!
    • Places it never hurts to try: I havent talked about it because it can be troublesome to use, but LexisNexis Statistical, can be a valuable source to see who out there might have done some stats on this topic. We have everything for this database in fiche or paper, so if you find something of use print out the record and send em up to Government Information for us to retrieve the title.
    • OR Refer them up to the Government Information Library, govpubs@colorado.edu or 2-8834.