February 15th, 2024
This week I want to use the Weekly Chart to make you aware of a data publication I admire massively: Our World in Data by Max Roser. I assume that many of you already know this source, but here’s a reminder: In their articles, Max Roser and his team look at the big picture (the last decades to centuries) to fight the “ignorance about global development” that they blame the media for.
The team gathers a lot of data to show this big picture and even built their own charting tool for their needs. Here’s a chart you can find on one of their sites, recreated with Datawrapper:
I admire their research skills, their great writing and especially their attitude. Here’s a quote that makes their stance clear:
The number of people living in extreme poverty fell from close to 2 billion in 1990 to 0.7 billion in 2015 (see here). On no day in this 25 year period was the headline of any newspaper in the world “The number of people in extreme poverty fell by 137,000 since yesterday”. This is despite the fact that – on average – this would have been an accurate headline every single day during these 25 years.
Our World in Data builds a counterpoint to the short-term focused media headlines. This can give us a more complete picture and make us more grateful for the time we live in. Reading Our World in Data is like staring into the stars: You zoom out and gain another perspective. The site has made my view of the world more truthful over the few years of its existence.
So if you don’t know this publication yet, please go and visit it. They have articles about various topics (from Diet Compositions to Technological Progress and Economic Growth), all of them with super interesting charts.
An added bonus: Everything the team behind Our World in Data produces is under Creative Commons, so I could just copy and paste the data and chart type of the chart up there from one of their articles without feeling weird. And so can you.