Data Sources To Get Started

NEW: Top 50 list of the best free data sources available online

We all know that adding data-driven arguments to any story will make it more credible. But sometimes we struggle to find the right data. That’s why we’ve collected a list of eight publicly available databases that provide country-specific data on topics like economy, demographics, education, science and technology, social development and many more.

The World Factbook

The World Factbook databases

It’s The Central Intelligence Agency’s repository of worldwide statistics. Just search for a specific country, or global information if that’s what you’re looking for. You’ll find a good  overview of the country in several fields (history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, etc). It provides rich data and even allows you to compare regions.


Eurostat databases

You may be interested in statistical information about Europe even if you don’t live there. This database contains information about all countries in the European Union and a few other. Eurostat offers general and regional statistics on economy and finance, population and social conditions, industry trade and services, agriculture and fisheries, international trade, transport, environment and energy, science and technology. Since there’s a lot of information, we recommend you to look through the guided information in Statistics Explained. There’s also a nice interactive tool to play with:  “Young Europeans”.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

UNESCO Institute for Statistics databasesAs an international organization, UNESCO offers cross-nationally comparable statistics on education, science and technology, culture, and communication for more than 200 countries and territories. For instance, you can find interesting information about the roles of gender. This article, Women in Science, might provide some inspiration for your next story.

The World Bank

The World Bank databasesThe World Bank provides worldwide statistics on development in different countries. It is a good source of data for various topics like agriculture & rural development, health, aid effectiveness, infrastructure, climate change, poverty, economy & growth, education, science & technology, private sector, public sector, social development, financial sector, trade, etc. The Economy & Growth section provides data about economic growth, GDP, global consumption, and world development. In our opinion, this is the best source for worldwide economic data.

Nation Master

Nation Master databasesA tool that makes international statistics easy to compare. It lets you compare any two countries you choose, or search information on various topics (economy, crime, people, health, media, geography, education, cost of living, and energy stats). This site provides some great tools to help you find inspiration for your next piece of content: choose one of the ‘Trending now’ articles or choose a topic from ‘Top stats’. This is a great resource for when you’re in a hurry because of its amazingly easy-to-use interface.

Data Gov databasesThis is the central repository for U.S. government data. It provides access to national statistics collected and distributed through their open data program. Topics listed give insight into agriculture, business, climate, consumers, ecosystems, education, science & research, energy, finance, health, manufacturing, ocean, public safety, and local government statistics in the USA. Although it is a government-supported site, it includes many independent data sources. Here’s a list of organizations that provide statistics for this database.


International Federation of Data Organizations for Social Science databasesThe International Federation of Data Organizations for Social Science (IFDO) has brought together many organizations interested in social sciences. This page enlists the Member Organizations, that collaborate in the project providing data from numerous surveys conducted in 30 different countries. Some data is available only in local languages, but it’s still worth taking a look at this resource.


Open Science Data Club databasesThe Open Science Data Club (OSDC) is another example of scientific information brought to us in a modern way. It is meant for scientific researchers to find the information they need, and for scientists to publish their discoveries. If you’re interested, or are working in science related fields, the Public Data section provides some other really interesting information on topics such as human genetic variation. You can even find the text of over 42’000 free ebooks through Project Gutenberg.

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