Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Smaller Families, Longer Lives – An Open Data Portrait

by November 5th, 2014

This open data tool from The World Bank – via the free service Google Public Data Explorer – shows the association between life expectancies and fertility rates in dozens of nations from 1960 through 2012. Generally, as fertility rates – or average number of births per woman – have declined, average life expectancies have increased. Although the data represent only an association, not causation – and other factors clearly have bearing on longevity – the relationship is nonetheless strong over the period measured. The data are from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, a widely-utilized resource that was updated last month. World Bank began to park dozens of WDIs in Google Public Data Explorer in 2010.

TO USE: Move the slider from right to left and back to see dramatic changes in fertility rates and life expectancies, nation by nation, over the 52 years. Nations are color-coded by continent for added insight. Hover over any charted circle for more data on a nation. Click on “Explore Data” at lower right to review in Public Data Explorer dozens of WDIs across major categories such as economy, education, environment and health, and to create your own data visualizations. Tip: once you’ve got a table, chart or other viz ready, the link icon (upper right) yields embeddable code for online publishing. Pixel width and height can be manually tweaked. (Note: Make sure you change the http:// portion of the embed code to https:// so the viz will preview and display in the Firefox and Chrome browsers.)


This article originally created by Matt Rosenberg was first published at The Open Standard on 11/5/14 under a Creative Commons license allowing full free re-use for non-commercial purposes.

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