Foreign Statistics

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Foreign Statistics



Foreign countries, for many of the same reasons as the U.S. Federal Government, collect statistical and demographical data.  Unlike the U.S. most of the rest of the world on the national level have a centralized statistical arm, charged with collecting statistics and demographic data for that country.  As the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics puts it:

The information the census provides allows central and local government, health authorities and many other organizations to target their resources more effectively and to plan housing, education, health and transport services for years to come.

The information collected by these statistical arms is disseminated in many different forms.  Many countries publish statistical yearbooks. These volumes are usually published in the language of the country, although many include English subtitles.  As is much of the government information now being generated, publication is switching from the tangible to electronic. 

The resources listed below can help in locating foreign statistical and census data.  Please check the OSU Libraries’ catalog for location and availability where necessary.


Statistical Yearbooks

Some national statistical yearbooks are available in both a tangible format and an electronic one.  Examples include:

The Canada Year Book

Electronic Link:  1867-2012 (Ceased publication with 2012 edition)

Japan Statistical Yearbook 

Electronic Link:  [English]  [Japanese, select Japan Statistical Yearbook]

Statistical Yearbook of Ireland

Electronic:  Statistical Yearbook of Ireland (2002-current issue)

Statistisches Jahrbuch Osterreichs (Austria)

Electronic Link:  Statistisches Jahrbush (Current Issue)

To determine if OSUL has a yearbook or a statistical abstract for a specific country do a subject search in Books and More using the following search string "country name statistics periodicals". For example if France was the country in question the search would be "France statistics periodicals" resulting in a yearbook entitled Annuarie statistique de la France.

There are other publications besides statistical yearbooks on a national level that can provide statistical information on countries.  Some of these resources are listed below.  

Demographic Yearbook.  (United Nations)

Electronic:  Demographics Yearbook
This compilation of data supplied by the National Statistical Offices of approximately 230 countries (2001) has been published annually since 1948. It includes a world summary of population and vital statistics and marriage and divorce. Tables are arranged by world region, then countries within the region. Each volume also includes a special topics section. Recent special topics have included abortion, infant and fetal deaths, and life expectancy. A CD-ROM was issued in 2000 containing 50 years of Statistics in Time Series.

Europa World Year Book.

Electronic:  Europa World Plus
Published annually since 1926, Europa provides narrative overviews of countries' recent history, government, defense and economy. Statistics on population, health, agriculture, commerce, and other topics also provided. Europa is a good place to start a search for statistics on foreign countries, especially if you only need a few basic figures. It also provides statistics for selected intergovernmental organizations.

Fitzroy Dearborn Book of World Rankings.  George Thomas Kurian.  New York, New York:  Routledge, 2013.

...Compares and ranks more than 190 nations based on their performance in more than 300 key areas. Sections covered include Geography & Climate, Vital Statistics, Population Dynamics, Race & Religion, Media, and many more.

Human Development Report. (United Nations Development Program)

Electronic:   Human Development Reports (1990-current issue)
Published annually, 1990 to present. Useful for quality of life indicators. Provides statistics on child mortality, human development, and deprivation.

Illustrated Book of World Rankings.

[1997]  [2001]
Ranks countries by geography, climate, vital statistics, and other characteristics. Also includes some rankings for world cities.


Indexes and abstracts statistical publications from 100 Intergovernmental Organizations, including the United Nations, OECD, and the European Union.  OSUL has 1983 to 2009. Some tables are available online, most are available on microfiche - IIS collection.

Statistical Yearbook. (United Nations)

Electronic:   Statistical Yearbook (Current Issue)

Published annually since 1948, the Statistical Yearbook provides data on more than 200 countries. Volumes consist of four sections - World and Regional Summary; Population and Social Statistics; Economic Activity; and International Economic Relations. Technical notes at the end of each chapter provide information on statistical sources used to compile the data and the methodologies used.

Statistical Yearbook. (UNESCO)

Electronic:  UNESCO Data Centre 
Published between 1963 and 1999. Tables are based on responses to UNESCO questionnaires and special surveys on education, science and technology, and culture and communication.  More recent figures are available on the UNESCO website.


Online Resources

As with many of government documents census and other statistical data collected by individual countries is increasingly electronic in nature.  It is at times hard to locate government statistical sources on the web.  And once found, the data however is not necessarily presented in English. 

Indicators. (World Bank)

Browse the World Bank's most popular dataset - World Development Indicators (WDI).  The WDI includes data from 209 countries spanning from 1960 to 2010.  The 298 indicators cover such topics as economics, Gross National Product per capita, purchasing power parity, rate of inflation, government expenditures, money and interest rates, trade, demographics, fertility, education, gender comparisons, and other socio-economic characteristics.  There additional datasets/indicators, not included in the WDI are also available from the World Bank.

International Government Data & Statistics: Key Sources. (University of California Berkley. Library)

Provides links to statistic resources around the world arranged in broad topical areas.

International Programs Center - International Database (IDB). (United States. Bureau of the Census)

Searchable database of linking with basic statistics for each country in the database. Offering a variety of demographic indicators for countries and areas of the world with a population of 5,000 or more.

International Statistical Agencies. (Infoplease)

Based on U.S. State Department information provides links to a country's and international organization's statistical agency(ies) arranged in an alphabetical list.

IPUMS:  Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, International. (University of Minnesota)

Collects census data from around the world. 

ISI - Resources. (International Statistical Institute)

Provides contact information for other countries’ statistical agencies, including email and web addresses when available.

Library - Statistics. (ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

Statistical resources and links for ASEAN, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Timor Leste, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Related International Statistical Activities -  International Statistical Programs. (United States. Bureau of the Census)

Provides links to other countries' statistical agencies. Note: not all countries offer English language portals.

Research Datasets - International Statistical Sites.  (Harvard University. Center for International Development)

Links to international statistical sources such as ICPSR, the World Trade Organization, etc. 

Statistical Sites on the World Wide Web - National Statistical Agencies of Other Countries and International Agencies. (U.S. Department of Labor)

Provides links to other countries' statistical agencies.

Thomas Brinkhoff:  City Population. (Thomas Brinkhoff)

Population Statistics for Countries, Administrative Areas, Cities and Agglomerations – Interactive Maps and Charts. City Population can also be found on Facebook with a list of updates. The entries of this list are more detailed than here and can be commented. Furthermore, you can be informed about updates via Twitter.

Undata:  a World of Information. (United Nations. Statistical Division)

Statistics produced by countries and compiled by the United Nations data system, as well as estimates and projections. Covers agriculture, education, energy, industry, labor, national accounts, population and tourism and more.

United Nations Statistics Division. (United Nations)

Provides links to other countries' statistical agencies.

International Treaty Organizations and Agencies such as the European Union, compile statistical data on their member countries. Consult Treaty Organizations and Agencies Statistics for additional resources.


Indices and Guides

Census and Demographic Data:  International Censuses. (MIT. MIT Libraries)

Research guide listing international census and demographic data sources. 

Data Set Archives:  From Government Agencies and Social Repositories. (Purdue University. Perdue University Libraries)

Data sets and archival materials from government agencies, etc.

General Reference Sources:  A Guide :  Demographics, Data & Statistics. (Tulane University. Howard-Tilton Memorial Library)

Has a section listing international demographic and population data resources with links.

Government Documents:  International Statistics… (University of South Florida. Libraries)

Links to resources for International statistics,  etc.

International Historic Statistics:  Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-2001.  4th edition.  Brian R. Mitchell.  New York, New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Provides key economic and social indicators for the last 250 years, serving as an essential reference source for both hard-to-find historical data and the latest figures available, and as an indispensable tool for comparisons between countries and across time.

International Historic Statistics:  Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-2005.  5th edition.  Brian R. Mitchell.  New York, New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Provides key economic and social indicators for the last 250 years, serving as an essential reference source for both hard-to-find historical data and the latest figures available, and as an indispensable tool for comparisons between countries and across time.

International Historic Statistics.  Europe, 1750-2000.  4th edition.  Brian R. Mitchell.  New York, New York:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

Provides key economic and social indicators for European countries over the last 250 years, serving as an essential reference source for both hard-to-find historical data and the latest figures available, and as an indispensable tool for comparisons between countries and across time.

Locating Internation Census Data. (Library of Congress)

Suggestions for locating international census publications at the Library of Congress and other institutions. Included are web sites, guides, Library of Congress call numbers, and location information for identifying census publications in electronic, print, and microfiche formats.

The Reference Guide to Data Sources.  Bauder, Julia.  Chicago, Illinois:  ALA Editions, 2014.

Information about statistical resources both U.S. and international arranged in broad categories. 

Research Guides – Statistical Resource Guide. (United Nations)

Lists of resources with brief descriptions of each available thru the United Nations and its specialized agencies.