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Slides, research, and visualizations for teaching and learning about global development

All our articles on global problems and global changes

Health

The global average life expectancy is 73 years.

The global inequality is large.

When and why did the average age at which people die increase and how can we make further progress against early death?

Life Expectancy

5.5 million children younger than five die every year.

The global child mortality rate is 3.9%.

Why are children dying and what can be done to prevent it?

Child and Infant Mortality

303,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes every year.

What could be more tragic than a mother losing her life in the moment that she is giving birth to her newborn? Why are mothers dying and what can be done to prevent these deaths?

Maternal Mortality

The world has seen great improvements in health.

But there are still large inequalities.

An overview of our research on global health.

Global Health

56 million people die every year.

What do they die from?

How did the causes of death change over time?

Causes of Death

The global burden of disease is large.

Per year 2.5 billion healthy life years are lost due to diseases, accidents, and premature deaths

How is the burden of disease distributed and how did it change over time?

Burden of Disease

9.6 million people die from cancer every year.

54% are younger than 70 years old.

Cancers are one of the leading causes of death globally. Are we making progress against cancer?

Cancer

An estimated 792 million people have a mental health disorder.

We provide a global overview of the prevalence of depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

Mental Health

800,000 die from suicide per year.

58% are younger than 50 years old.

Every suicide is a tragedy. But they can be prevented.

Suicide

Infectious diseases

COVID-19 developed into a global pandemic.

Country-by-country data and research on the pandemic. Updated daily.

Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19)

1 million people die from HIV/AIDS each year.

84% are younger than 50 years old.

A global epidemic and the leading cause of death in some countries.

HIV / AIDS

620,000 people die from malaria every year.

57% are children younger than 5 years old.

The deadly disease transmitted by mosquitoes is one of the leading causes of death in children. How did we eliminate the disease in some world regions and how can we continue progress against malaria?

Malaria

Humanity has already eradicated one severe disease.

Which ones could we eradicate in our lifetimes and how?

Eradication of Diseases

1.6 million people die from diarrheal diseases every year.

One-third are children under five years old.

Diarrheal diseases are one of the leading cause of child deaths while they are largely preventable. How can we continue to make progress against these diseases?

Diarrheal diseases

In the past smallpox killed millions every year.

Humanity eradicated this infectious disease globally. How was this possible?

Smallpox

One generation ago polio paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children every year.

Now the world can possibly eradicate it: polio remains endemic in only 2 countries.

Polio

2.6 million people die from pneumonia every year.

One-third are children younger than five years old.

Pneumonia is the leading cause of death for children younger than 5 years.

Pneumonia

40,000 people die from Tetanus every year.

Half are children under the age of five.

Tetanus is a bacterial infection that leads to painful muscle contractions and possibly death.

Tetanus

Health risks

5 million people die prematurely from air pollution each year.

Our overview on both indoor and outdoor air pollution.

Air Pollution

3.4 million people die prematurely from outdoor air pollution every year.

43% are younger than 70 years old.

Outdoor air pollution is one of the world鈥檚 largest health and environmental problems.

Outdoor Air Pollution

1.6 million people die prematurely from indoor air pollution every year.

55% are younger than 70 years old.

Indoor air pollution 鈥?caused by the burning of firewood, crop waste, and dung for cooking and heating 鈥?is a major health risk of the world鈥檚 poorest.

Indoor Air Pollution

13% of adults are obese, globally.

Obesity is responsible for 4.7 million premature deaths every year.

When did obesity increase? How do rates vary across the world? What is the health impact?

Obesity

8.1 million people die prematurely from smoking every year.

Half are younger than 70 years old.

Tobacco smoking is one of the world鈥檚 largest health problems today.

Smoking

2.8 million people die prematurely from alcohol consumption every year.

74% are younger than 70 years old.

Who consumes the most alcohol? How has consumption changed over time? And what are the health impacts?

Alcohol Consumption

11.8 million people die prematurely from drug use every year.

This includes tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and illicit drug use.

Drug use 鈥?which includes smoking, alcohol, and illicit drug use is one of the world鈥檚 largest health problems today.

Drug Use

590,000 people die prematurely from illicit drug use every year.

42% are younger than 50 years old.

How common is the use and addiction to opioids, cocaine, amphetamines and cannabis? What is the impact?

Opioids, cocaine, cannabis and illicit drugs

Health institutions and interventions

Healthcare funding is essential for good health.

Healthcare is key to make progress against poor health. How is it financed?

Financing Healthcare
  • 14% of children in the world do not receive basic vaccines.

Vaccines are key in making progress against infectious diseases and save millions of lives every year.

Vaccination

Demographic Change

Population change

The world population increased from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.8 billion today.

Growth slowed from 2.2% per year 50 years ago to 1.05% per year today.

When and why did the world population grow? And how does rapid population growth come to an end?

World Population Growth

The UN projects that the global population will be 10.8 billion by 2100.

The population growth rate is then expected to be close to zero.

What can we expect for the future? What determines how large or small the world population will be?

Future Population Growth

The global median age increased from 22 years in 1970 to 31 years.

26% of the world are younger than 14 years. 8% are older than 65.

What is the age profile of populations around the world? How did it change and what will the age structure of populations look like in the future?

Age Structure

In some countries gender discrimination leads to skewed sex ratios at birth.

How does the number of men and women differ between countries? And why?

Gender Ratio

Life and death

The global average life expectancy is 73 years.

The global inequality is large.

When and why did the average age at which people die increase and how can we make further progress against early death?

Life Expectancy

5.5 million children younger than five die every year.

The global child mortality rate is 3.9%.

Why are children dying and what can be done to prevent it?

Child and Infant Mortality

The global average fertility rate is 2.5 children per woman.

In the last 50 years this rate has halved.

How does the number of children vary across the world and over time? What is driving the rapid global change?

Fertility Rate

Distribution of the World Population

55% of the world population live in urban areas.

In 1960 it was 34%.

The world population is moving to cities. Why is urbanization happening and what are the consequences?

Urbanization

Food and Agriculture

Nutrition

11% of the world population 鈥?820 million people 鈥?are undernourished.

22% of children younger than five are 鈥榮tunted鈥?

What are the consequences of undernourishment and how can we make progress against hunger and undernourishment?

Hunger and Undernourishment

Around 130 million people died in famines during the last 150 years.

This estimate is based on our historical reconstructions.

In many parts of the world famines have been common in the past. What causes famines? How can famines be averted?

Famines

2,884 kcal per day is the global average food supply per person.

There are large inequalities in food supply across countries.

How had the availability of food changed over time? How does food supply vary across the world today?

Food Supply

Human height gives us an indicator of changes in health and nutrition in the past.

The average height of a population can inform us about the nutrition and living conditions of populations in the past for which we have little other data.

Human Height

An estimated 2 billion people are deficient in essential micronutrients.

Food is not only a source of energy and protein, but also micronutrients 鈥?vitamins and minerals 鈥?which are essential to good health. Who is most affected by the 鈥榟idden hunger鈥?of micronutrient deficiency?

Micronutrient Deficiency

A diverse diet is essential for good nutrition.

There are large inequalities in dietary diversity between countries.

What do people across the world eat?

Diet Compositions

Food prices are important for both consumers and farmers.

Food needs to be affordable for people, and at the same it is a key source of income for one-quarter of the world鈥檚 labor force.

Food Prices

13% of adults are obese, globally.

Obesity is responsible for 4.7 million premature deaths every year.

When did obesity increase? How do rates vary across the world? What is the health impact?

Obesity

2.8 million people die prematurely from alcohol consumption every year.

74% are younger than 70 years old.

Who consumes the most alcohol? How has consumption changed over time? And what are the health impacts?

Alcohol Consumption

Food Production

The world produces more than enough food for everyone.

But it's unequally distributed across the world.

How much food do countries produce across the world?

Agricultural Production

26% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food production.

50% of the world's habitable land is used for agriculture.

What are the environmental impacts of food production? How do we reduce the impacts of agriculture on the environment?

Environmental impacts of food production

Global average cereal yield is 4 tonnes per hectare.

But in many regions yields are much lower.

Increasing the production of crops per area of land is of key importance for food security, living standards, and decreasing humanity鈥檚 impact on the environment.

Crop Yields
  • 80 billion animals are slaughtered every year for meat production.

Meat is an important source of nutrition for people around the world. How quickly is demand growing? And what are the implications for animal welfare and the earth鈥檚 environment?

Meat and Dairy Production
  • 33% of global fish stocks are overexploited.

Fish and seafood form an important part of people鈥檚 diets. How does growing demand affect fish populations? How does production in aquaculture compare with wild catch?

Seafood Production

Agricultural inputs

  • 26% of the world鈥檚 labor force is employed in agriculture.

Once the majority of human labor was dedicated to food production. When and how did this change? What is the global distribution of agricultural labor today?

Employment in Agriculture
  • 50% of the world鈥檚 habitable land is used for agriculture

How is humanity using the Earth鈥檚 land? And how can we decrease our land use so that more land is left for wildlife?

Land Use

The world produces more than 200 million tonnes of fertilizer each year.

Fertilizers supply plants with nutrients that are essential for growth. How important are fertilizers? How does their use vary across the world?

Fertilizers

Pesticides are often used to protect crop yields.

There are large differences in its use across the world.

Pesticides are used to protect plants from weeds, fungi, or insects. Where are they used? What is their impact?

Pesticides

Education and Knowledge

Global education has improved over recent decades, but much more progress is possible.

The overview of our research on global education.

Global Education

IQ scores have increased across the world in recent decades.

How did intelligence change over time? And why?

Intelligence

The share of people with secondary and further education is expected to grow, but unequally across the world.

How are demographic, economic, technological changes affecting the future of global education?

Projections of Future Education

Educational outcomes

  • 14% of the world population are illiterate.

Being able to read and write opens up the world of education and knowledge. When and why did more people become literate? How can progress continue?

Literacy

Schools often do not live up to their promise: in many schools children learn very little.

How do learning outcomes differ between countries? How has the quality of education changed over time?

Quality of Education

The returns of education have significant impacts on labour supply and skilled workforces.

What are the social and individual returns to education?

Returns to Education

Access to Education

Many children have very few opportunities in learning before primary education.

Access to education early in life can improve outcomes for the rest of life. How does pre-primary education differ between countries and how did it change over time?

Pre-Primary Education

61 million children of primary school age are not in school.

202 million children of secondary school age are not in school.

How does access to school differ around the world? How does it between boys and girls? And how did it change over time?

Primary and Secondary Education

Globally 34% of those within 5 years of secondary education are enrolled in tertiary education.

When did access to universities and tertiary education increase? How does it differ between countries?

Tertiary Education

Inequality in education

Large inequalities exist in educational opportunities across and within countries.

How did inequality of education change over time? How does access to education differ between girls and boys.

Educational Mobility and Inequality

Inputs to education

Funding for education is growing across the world, but large gaps still exist.

How is education financed? How much do we spend on it? What are the returns?

Financing Education

Many teachers across the world do not receive sufficient training.

A global overview of teaching professionals. How many teachers are there? At what level do they teach? What are their qualifications?

Teachers and Professors

Media

Book publication has been a key driver of knowledge-sharing and education.

Books have been at the center of science and the arts for centuries. Their history and relevance is the focus of this entry.

Books
  • 50% of the world population are not online.

For many, the internet is now essential for work, finding information, and connecting with others. How did half the world get online in just one generation? And what are the challenges ahead?

Internet

Energy and Environment

Air and Climate

36 billion tonnes of CO鈧?are emitted every year.

Who is emitting greenhouse gases? Which countries and which sectors? And what needs to happen to reduce emissions?

CO鈧?and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

5 million people die prematurely from air pollution each year.

Our overview on both indoor and outdoor air pollution.

Air Pollution

3.4 million people die prematurely from outdoor air pollution every year.

43% are younger than 70 years old.

Outdoor air pollution is one of the world鈥檚 largest health and environmental problems.

Outdoor Air Pollution

1.6 million people die prematurely from indoor air pollution every year.

55% are younger than 70 years old.

Indoor air pollution 鈥?caused by the burning of firewood, crop waste, and dung for cooking and heating 鈥?is a major health risk of the world鈥檚 poorest.

Indoor Air Pollution

Emissions of ozone-depleting gases have fallen by 98%.

But it will take decades for the ozone layer to recover.

The emission of ozone-depleting gases are threatening the earth鈥檚 ozone layer. Global collaboration and regulation aims to reduce the emissions. Are these efforts successful?

Ozone Layer

Energy

13% of the world do not have access to electricity.

40% do not have access to clean fuels for cooking.

Access to electricity and clean cooking fuels are vital for a good standard of living and good health.

Access to Energy

Global energy production has grown 2.5-fold in the past 50 years.

What energy sources does the world rely on? What is this energy used for? And how does it change over time?

Energy

5% of global primary energy production comes from modern renewable sources

Solar, wind, hydropower, and other renewable energy sources currently account for a small share of global energy. But they鈥檙e growing quickly and can play a key role in tackling climate change.

Renewable Energy

86% of global primary energy comes from fossil fuels.

Deaths per TWh range from 2.8 for gas to 24.6 for coal.

Coal, gas and oil were key to industrialization and rising prosperity, but their large impact on health and the climate mean that we should transition away from these sources of energy.

Fossil Fuels

Land and Ecosystems

26% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food production.

50% of the world's habitable land is used for agriculture.

What are the environmental impacts of food production? How do we reduce the impacts of agriculture on the environment?

Environmental impacts of food production
  • 30.8% of the world鈥檚 land area is forested.

How did global forest cover change over time?

Forests
  • 50% of the world鈥檚 habitable land is used for agriculture

How is humanity using the Earth鈥檚 land? And how can we decrease our land use so that more land is left for wildlife?

Land Use
  • Over the last decade the annual number of deaths due to natural disasters was 45,000 globally.

Where and from which disasters do people die? What can we do to prevent deaths from natural disasters?

Natural Disasters

Waste

  • It is estimated that 8 million tonnes enter the world鈥檚 oceans each year.

The use of plastics has many benefits 鈥?it is affordable, versatile, resistant, and can help reduce other forms of waste 鈥?especially food waste. However, when poorly managed it can pollute the environment and our oceans. Where does the plastic in our oceans come from and what can we do to reduce plastic pollution?

Plastic Pollution

Oil spills can have a large negative impact on the environment.

How often do oil spills happen? How did it change over time?

Oil Spills

Water

  • 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.

That's 29% of the world population.

Clean and safe water is essential for good health. How did access change over time? Where do people lack access?

Clean Water
  • 4.5 billion people do not have access to safely managed sanitation.

That's 60% of the world population.

Access to safe sanitation is essential for reducing deaths from infectious disease, preventing malnutrition and providing dignity. What is the global situation today and how can we make progress?

Sanitation
  • Globally we use 70% of freshwater withdrawals for agriculture; 19% in industry; and 11% in households.

Freshwater resources across the world are the focus of this entry. How much water do we use? How did it change over time?

Water Use and Stress

Innovation and Technological Change

Technological progress has been key a key driver of improved living standards.

Technology is a key driver of change that matters for all the big problems that we consider in this publication.

Technological Progress

Technology adoption has been a key driver of improved living conditions.

Technology has been a leading driver of global change 鈥?disrupting the way we work, travel, and live. How quickly have different technologies been adopted across the world? Explore global and country-level data and research on technology adoption.

Technology Adoption

Poverty and Economic Development

Poverty and Prosperity

The world has become much more prosperous, but in some countries incomes remain very low.

All of today鈥檚 rich countries were poor in the past 鈥?how do poor countries become rich?

Economic Growth

Every tenth person in the world lives on less than $1.90 per day.

Two-thirds of the world population live on less than $10 per day.

The international poverty line of $1.90 per day focuses on the very poorest people on the planet. How did poverty change over time and how can the world win the fight against extreme poverty?

Global Extreme Poverty

Economic Inequality

Many countries have high levels of income inequality.

How are incomes distributed and how and why did the distribution change over time?

Income Inequality

In most countries the gender pay gap has reduced, but inequalities are still large and common.

What is determining the inequality in incomes, jobs, and wealth between men and women?

Economic inequality by gender

Global inequality has fallen but living conditions are still vastly unequal across the world.

Living conditions around the world are vastly unequal and economic differences are a major reason for this. How is this distribution changing?

Global Economic Inequality

Labor

An estimated 17% of children globally work.

Why and where do children work? How did child labor change over time?

Child Labor

Many people have to work long hours with for very low incomes.

How many hours are people working? What explains the changes over time and the differences between countries?

Working Hours
  • Women鈥檚 labor force participation is 49% globally with large differences between countries.

What is determining whether women participate in the labor market? How is it changing?

Women鈥檚 employment

Public Sector

Government spending has increased significantly, but with large differences across the world.

What do governments spend their financial resources on?

Government Spending

Tax revenues account for more than 80% of total government revenue in about half of the countries in the world.

And for more than 50% in almost every country.

Taxes are the most important source of government revenue. Who is paying how much and how do tax systems differ?

Taxation
  • Annual military spending amounts to 2.2% of global GDP.

How much do different countries spent on their military? How did it change over time?

Military Spending

Healthcare funding is essential for good health.

Healthcare is key to make progress against poor health. How is it financed?

Financing Healthcare

Funding for education is growing across the world, but large gaps still exist.

How is education financed? How much do we spend on it? What are the returns?

Financing Education

Corruption

Corruption is a common problem in many countries and sectors.

How common is corruption? What impact does it have? And what can be done to reduce it?

Corruption

Living conditions, Community and Wellbeing

Loneliness is common across the world.

Family and friends are important for our well-being. In this article we explore data on loneliness and social connections, and review available evidence on the link between social connections and well-being.

Loneliness and Social Connections

Life satisfaction and happiness vary widely both within and among countries.

Self-reported life satisfaction differs widely between people and between countries. What explains these differences?

Happiness and Life Satisfaction

Health, education and living standards have increased in recent decades, but more progress is needed.

The HDI is a measure of human development that captures health, education, and income. How does the index vary around the world, and how did it change over time?

Human Development Index (HDI)

An estimated 17% of children globally work.

Why and where do children work? How did child labor change over time?

Child Labor

Many people have to work long hours with for very low incomes.

How many hours are people working? What explains the changes over time and the differences between countries?

Working Hours

55% of the world population live in urban areas.

In 1960 it was 34%.

The world population is moving to cities. Why is urbanization happening and what are the consequences?

Urbanization

Tourism is an important source of income and employment for many countries.

How many travel for tourism? Where do they go?

Tourism

Culture

Misconceptions about past development means many are pessimistic about future progress.

What is people鈥檚 outlook on the future 鈥?personally and for the world as a whole?

Optimism and Pessimism

Trust levels can vary a lot between countries and groups of society.

Trust is essential for community, wellbeing, and effective cooperation. How does trust vary between different societies and locations and what matters for levels of trust?

Trust

Housing

13% of the world do not have access to electricity.

40% do not have access to clean fuels for cooking.

Access to electricity and clean cooking fuels are vital for a good standard of living and good health.

Access to Energy
  • 2.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.

That's 29% of the world population.

Clean and safe water is essential for good health. How did access change over time? Where do people lack access?

Clean Water

Homelessness is a problem that still exists in most countries in the world.

How many are homeless? How did homelessness change over time?

Homelessness

1.6 million people die prematurely from indoor air pollution every year.

55% are younger than 70 years old.

Indoor air pollution 鈥?caused by the burning of firewood, crop waste, and dung for cooking and heating 鈥?is a major health risk of the world鈥檚 poorest.

Indoor Air Pollution

Access to artificial light has been an important indicator of basic living standards.

Light at night was once expensive everywhere. In some places people are still lacking light at night, while in other places light became extremely cheap.

Light at Night
  • 4.5 billion people do not have access to safely managed sanitation.

That's 60% of the world population.

Access to safe sanitation is essential for reducing deaths from infectious disease, preventing malnutrition and providing dignity. What is the global situation today and how can we make progress?

Sanitation

Human rights and Democracy

  • 44% of the world population do not live in democratic countries.

Why do countries become democratic? What is the impact of democratisation on people鈥檚 lives and international relations?

Democracy

Violence against children in various forms has fallen, but still occurs today.

How common is physical and emotional violence against children? How did it change over time?

Violence against children and children鈥檚 rights

In most countries the gender pay gap has reduced, but inequalities are still large and common.

What is determining the inequality in incomes, jobs, and wealth between men and women?

Economic inequality by gender

Corruption is a common problem in many countries and sectors.

How common is corruption? What impact does it have? And what can be done to reduce it?

Corruption

Human Rights violations are still common in many countries.

From freedom of the press to racism, this entry presents an overview of quantitative measures of human rights.

Human Rights

Violence and War

Violence

Violence against children in various forms has fallen, but still occurs today.

How common is physical and emotional violence against children? How did it change over time?

Violence against children and children鈥檚 rights
  • Globally around 390,000 people die from homicide each year.

Where are people dying from homicides? How did the homicide rate change over time?

Homicides

Violence was very common in historical societies.

How common was violence in the distant past?

Ethnographic and Archaeological Evidence on Violent Deaths

War and Peace

  • Over the last decade the annual number of battle-related deaths was 55,000 globally.

Humans are capable of atrocious cruelty 鈥?the history of war makes this all too clear. How many died in war? And what are the prospects for making the world more peaceful?

War and Peace
  • Annual military spending amounts to 2.2% of global GDP.

How much do different countries spent on their military? How did it change over time?

Military Spending
  • Over the last decade the annual number of deaths due to terrorism was 22,000 globally.

The attacks of terrorists receive a lot of attention from the media and often dominate the public discourse. How many people die from these attacks and how did it change over time?

Terrorism

The world鈥檚 nuclear powers have more than 10,000 nuclear warheads.

The world鈥檚 nuclear powers possess in total 10,145 nuclear warheads. These weapons have the capacity to kill hundreds of millions of people directly, and billions due to subsequent effects on agriculture.

Nuclear Weapons

Peacekeeping operations are used in conflict prevention, but are not always successful.

Peacekeeping aims to help countries transition from conflict towards peace. How have peacekeeping operations and forces changed over time? See global data on peacekeeping activities.

Peacekeeping

Targeted killing of specific societal groups have killed millions.

The organized killings targeted at particular groups for their ethnicity, religion or political belief killed many millions.

Genocides