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International Studies

This guide lists American University Library databases and print resources, and free Web sites that are of use to the study and research of International Studies.

Searching World Development Indicators (Video)

This video will show you how to search the World Bank's free statistical database, World Development Indicators (WDI).  It has social, economic and environmental statistics for all countries of the world dating from 1960 to present.  It is continually updated and new variables are frequently added.  It is an excellent source for comparative statistics across countries.

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Searching World Development Indicators (Screen Capture)

World Development Indicators (WDI) is a free statistical database from the World Bank.  It has social, economic and environmental statistics for all countries of the world dating from 1960 to present.  It is continually updated and new variables are frequently added.

The strengths of WDI:

  • It is extremely easy to use.
  • It has an excellent source for comparative statistics across countries.

What WDI does NOT have:

  • No subnational data.  WDI only has data on a countrywide level.  It does not have provincial or local data.
  • Little political data.  WDI has mostly social, economic and environmental data.
  • No data showing Interaction between countries.  For example, WDI has total export and import data, but does not show the amount of trade between individual countries.
  • No data before 1960.

Let's get started.

There are three variables to select:

  1. Country.
  2. Series of data.
  3. Time.

STEP 1.

For Countries, you can select one country or multiple countries.  You can also select countries based on their level of income, their lending, or their geographical region.

In addition, WDI has data not just on individual countries, but also on groups of countries based on their geographical region (e.g. Sub-Sahara Africa), income (middle income), or the world.  Using these Aggregates, you can compare one country with a region or the world.  For example, you can compare the GDP of Algeria with the Arab World and/or with the Middle East and north Africa and/or with middle income countries and/or the world.

STEP 2.

For Series, select the data you want.  The data are conveniently grouped into broad topics, such as education and health.  Be aware that not all data may be available.  There are fewer data for older years.

Tip: Always click on the Information icon to see the definition and the source of the data.  You may want to go to the source, e.g. UNESCO, in order to find more data.

STEP 3.

For Time, select the years you want.

STEP 4.

To see the data, click on Download.  You can then select from several formats, including Excel.