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International Relations *: International Statistics

A guide to databases and scholarly web sites in support of research in international relations and comparative politics..

Where to Start

  • Cross-National Times-Series Data Archive -- originally published by Arthur S. Banks at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1968, this is a longitudinal set of 194 variables with data for over 200 county units for the period 1815-2008 (excluding the two modern wartime periods, 1914-1918 and 1940-1945) organized in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. Data cover economic, political, population, and demographic variables with an emphasis on political regime and systems data. Includes a weighted conflict index and domestic conflict indicators.
  • Data Planet -- an interactive database that allows users to create tables, maps, and figures from a variety data sources covering banking, criminal justice, education,energy, food and agriculture, government, health, housing and construction,industry and commerce, labor and employment, natural resources and environment, income, cost of living, stocks, transportation, and more. There are also very useful guides to individual country data.
  • EuroStat--the statistical office of the European Union and provides statistics at European level that enable comparisons between countries and regions.
  • Gapminder -- a non-profit venture promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The site includes moving graphics that display development trends by the countries, time periods, and indicators you choose.
  • ICPSR -- Social science data archive with hdings that include a range of subject areas including population, economics, education, health, social and political behavior, crime, aging, and substance abuse. USC users will need to create an account from on-campus to download data.
  • International Human Development Indicators -- human development data utilized in the preparation of the Human Development Index (HDI) and other composite indices featured in the Human Development Report are provided by a variety of public international sources.
  • International Data Base (IDB) -- maintained by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, this database provides demographic data for selected indicators, countries and user-selected regions, and years, population statistics, and summary data, population pyramids and access to more data for a single country.
  • International Historical Statistics -- provides access to 490 tables, covering data on 211 countries and territories collected between 1750-2010. Includes data on the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania as well as on countries whose borders have changed and are now difficult to source (e.g. Czechoslovakia and Zaire). Within each region are chapters on population and vital statistics, labor force, agriculture, industry, external trade, transport and communications, finance, prices, education, and national accounts.
  • International Monetary Fund [IMF] eLibrary -- includes access to the following statistical databases:
  • MacroDataGuide -- this is a compilation of data sources that include general databases containing social and economic data, large, general datasets with a number of political variables, indicators and indices produced by non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, and datasets compiled by independent researchers. The information provided in this site is collected from the various institutions’ and research projects’ websites. Excellent place to begin looking for international social science data.
  • The Monthly Bulletin of Statistics -- presents current economic and social statistics gathered by the United Nations for more than 200 countries and territories of the world, comprising over 100 indicators, of monthly, quarterly and annual data on a variety of subjects illustrating important economic trends and developments.
  • Nation Master --  designed by a web publishing company in Australia, this site gathers statistics from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, United Nations, and OECD and presents them in an easy-to-use and interesting graphical formats. Links to ads are present but are generally unobtrusive. This is a good place to get basic data on countries.
  • OECDiLibrary -- this is the full-text publications portal of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and includes comparable statistics and economic and social data. The OECD monitors trends, analyzes and forecasts economic developments and researches social changes or evolving patterns in trade, environment, agriculture, technology, taxation and more.
  • UNdata -- database facilitates searching and downloading of official statistics produced by countries and compiled by United Nations data system, including estimates and projection, and a variety of statistical resources from the UN system. The domains covered are agriculture, crime, education, energy, industry, labour, national accounts, population and tourism.
  • World Development Indicators [WDI] -- contains statistical data for over 550 development indicators and time series data from 1960 to the present for over 200 countries and 18 country groups.
  • Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) -- reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for 212 countries and territories over the period 1996–2006, for six dimensions of governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law , and Control of Corruption.
  • Zanran Numerical Data Search -- a comprehensive search engine devoted to finding semi-structured numerical data that has been presented as graphs and tables and charts in, for example, a PDF report, or a table in an Excel spreadsheet, or a barchart shown as an image in an HTML page. Excellent place to search for statistics on very specific topics.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Some Specialized Data Sources

  • AidData -- a research and innovation lab making information on development finance more accessible and actionable through a searchable data portal which now includes over one million past and present development finance activities from the 1940s to present made available by more than ninety domestic and international funding agencies. AidData also produces geospatial datasets that provide sub-national information about development finance projects.
  • China Data Online -- provides access to data from yearly China macro-economic statistics (1949-), monthly macro-economic statistics, monthly economic reports, city statistics (1996-), county statistics (1997-), industrial statistics, and most statistical yearbooks from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Produced by the China Data Center at the University of Michigan.
  • Correlates of War Project -- founded in 1963 by J. David Singer, University of Michigan, the goal of the project is to systematically accumulate quantitative knowledge about war. The fundamental goal of data gathering and analysis not just to measure temporal and spatial variation in war but to identify factors that would systematically explain this variation.
  • GeoHive -- a site with geopolitical data, statistics on the human population, Earth, and more. The main kind of data you can find here is population statistics of regions, countries, provinces and cities.
  • Integrated Network for Societal Conflict Research -- coordinates and integrates a variety of information resources produced and used by the Center for Systemic Peace. The INSCR data resources cover all independent countries with a total population of 500,000 persons in the most recent year (167 countries in 2013). Most of the CSP data resources are updated and revised on an annual cycle and re-examined whenever new sources of information become available.
  • Luxembourg Income Study -- a cross-national Data Archive and a  Research Institute that contains two primary databases. The  LIS Database includes income microdata from a large number of countries at multiple points in time. The newer  LWS Database includes wealth microdata from a smaller selection of countries. Both databases include labor market and demographic data as well. Registered users may access the microdata for social scientific research using a remote-access system. All visitors to the website may download the  LIS Key Figures, which provide country-level poverty and inequality indicators.
  • Minorities at Risk (MAR) Project -- a research project that monitors and analyzes the status and conflicts of politically-active communal groups in all countries with a current population of at least 500,000. The project currently maintains data on 283 politically active ethnic groups. The centerpiece of the project is a dataset that tracks groups on political, economic, and cultural dimensions.
  • Peace Research Institute Oslo -- provides datasets on governance, armed conflict, geographical and resources, mapping arms data, and economic and socio-demographic data derived from various projects and program sponsored by the institute. The site also includes a searchable  bibliography of more than 1250 references to books, book chapters, articles and reports dealing with various conflict-related issues.
  • Penn World Table -- a database used to compare living standards across countries and explaining differences in cross-country growth, with information on relative levels of income, output, inputs and productivity, with country and period coverage depending on the release.
  • Political Terror Scale -- developed by Mark Gibney, Reed Wood, and a group of human rights volunteers, this resource measures levels of political violence and terror that a country experiences in a particular year based on a 5-level “terror scale” originally developed by Freedom House. The data used in compiling this index comes from two different sources: the yearly country reports of Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
  • Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries, BASEIND Statistics Database -- database provides data on 256 socio-economic variables under 17  categories for the 57 OIC member countries dating back to 1970. The content of this database is regularly updated.
  • Statistics of the Human Development Report--the UN Human Development publishes global, regional and national human development reports along with related statistics. This webpage provides access to these reports from the most recent back to the mid 1990's.
  • Suicide Attack Database -- a searchable database on all suicide attacks from 1981 to 2007 with additional years to be added. The database includes information about the location of attacks, the target type, the weapon used, and systematic information on the demographic and general biographical characteristics of suicide attackers. The database uses native language sources (e.g., Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Tamil) that are likely to have the most extensive relevant information.
  • Terrorism and Preparedness Data Resource Center -- TPDRC archives and distributes data collected by government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and researchers about the nature of intra-domestic and international terrorism incidents, organizations, perpetrators, and victims; governmental and nongovernmental responses to terror, including primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions; and citizen's attitudes towards terrorism, terror incidents, and the response to terror.
  • Transparency International -- a comparative listing of corruption worldwide produced by a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in more than 100 countries. The site also provides educational information on corruption, news, information on specific geographic regions, surveys, and publications.
  • UN Economic Commission for Europe Statistical Database -- provides multi-dimensional tables by country, by various socio-economic classifications related to the context, and by time period. Data is currently presented under three subject areas, gender statistics, transport statistics, and forestry statistics, as well as general macroeconomic statistics.
  • Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) -- a project to collect information on a large number of aspects of armed violence since 1946. Since 2004, the UCDP operates and continuously updates an online database (UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia) on armed conflicts and organized violence, in which several aspects of armed conflict such as conflict dynamics and conflict resolution are available.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Citing Data

You must properly cite data and statistics for the same reasons that you cite any other types of publications in your research papers: to defend yourself against allegations of plagiarism, to acknowledge the original author or creator of the datasets or statistics, and to help your readers locate the original source of information. Listed below are websites that can help you create a citation to information presented numerically.

Need Help Using Statistics?

For more detailed information on locating statistical sources go here:

Statistics & Data Research Guide