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December 02, 2005

Expect the unexpected

Everyone thinks Google ( is the no. 1 site on the Web, but the surprise, surprise of Web rankings is that Yahoo! ( is. Yahoo! has really lifted its game, and it offers a lot of good destinations, not least its comparison shopping sites which take the legwork out of consuming. MSN ( is no. 2, and Google a mere third. Alexa ( has rankings. What else is in the top ten? eBay ( is for starters. Amazon ( is only 11. Blogger ( is no. 30, but mySpace ( is 14, way ahead of CNN ( and the BBC ( People obviously value personal news and contacts over hard news. See Alexa's long, long list of who's where at
Posted by belinda at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2005

Crowded house

Another day, another statistic. The Australian Bureau of Statistics ( has published projections of Australia's population as a whole by age and sex from 2004 up to 2101, and projections for states, territories and capital cities up till 2051. The publication, Population Projections, Australia, can be found here. For future reference, it is ABS catalogue number 3222.0.
Posted by belinda at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2005

Across the Tasman

Statisphere is New Zealand's official statistics portal. See it at for all your Kiwi counts.
Posted by belinda at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2005

Some good news

Just out is The State of World's Population 2004 ( It includes both long term and current trends affecting the world's population. According to the summary, ten years after the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, "the quality and reach of family planning programmes have improved, safe motherhood and HIV prevention efforts are being scaled up, and governments embrace the ICPD Programme of Action as an essential blueprint for realizing development goals."

Posted by belinda at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005

Real lives

While we worry about what computer game addiction and childhood obesity are doing to Australian kids, many, many children around the world are struggling simply to stay alive. The three big threats to millions of children are poverty, armed conflict and HIV/AIDS. Same as last year, and then there was the tsunami. The State of the World's Children 2005 ( has the lowdown on the problems and what is being done to deal with them. Answer: not enough. Around 10. 6 million kids died last year before reaching their fifth birthday. The report has a statistical tool, photographs and real life stories, not all of them grim.
Posted by belinda at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005

Numbers game

Colombia has the most murders per capita, with Russia no. 5. Australia isn't in the top 25 - hey, sometimes it's good to be last. We're 19th in the richest list, with the US at no. 2. We're no. 3 in most educated, and the US is a mere 14th - weak stuff. Bangladesh is the most corrupt and South Africa the most trigger happy. Plan your travel accordingly. These stats and more on hundreds of topics are at NationMaster Sources for the figures include the CIA World Factbook, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the World Resources Institute, UNESCO, UNICEF and the OECD. It's comprehensive, graphic and regularly updated. Good stuff.
Posted by belinda at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2004

Big numbers

It's 254 pages long -- probably to accommodate big numbers such as 8.97 billion -- the number of humans expected to be around in 2300. The UN's new World Population to 2300 report ( provides population projections to 2300 for the world, its nations, and its major areas. According to the report: "Three African regions -- Eastern Africa, Middle Africa, and Western Africa -- will grow unusually fast. " The document has lots of tables, figures and projections.
Posted by belinda at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2004

Bottom line

The World Bank's World Development Report 2005 is just out at It's all about making money this year since its subtitle is A better investment climate for everyone. Why the focus on investment? According to the Report, the investment climate is central to growth and poverty reduction, and it urges governments around the world to tackle costs, risks, and barriers to competition. The Report draws on surveys of more than 30,000 firms in 53 developing countries, but also includes country case studies sponsored by the World Bank itself.
Posted by belinda at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2004

How low can they go?

With East Timor joining the group, there are now 50 countries officially termed "least developed" by the United Nations. Countries qualify for the tag if they have "very low per capita incomes, weak human resources and high economic vulnerability to shocks". Only 7 of the world's least developed countries - Angola, Bhutan, Chad, Eritrea, Mozambique, Rwanda and Sudan - achieved the 7% growth target set under the Programme of Action for LDCs for the Decade 2001-2010. Rising debt burdens, plummeting commodity prices, civil conflicts and HIV/AIDS have all taken their toll on such countries. Things may only get worse, unless international trade can work to pull these countries out of poverty. The data comes from the 2004 Least Developed Countries Report published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The full report is available online for download, chapter by chapter. Reports back to 1996 are available for comparison.
Posted by belinda at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2004

The problems with polling

According to a new Research Note by the Federal Parliamentary Library, opinion polls have become 'staples of contemporary political reporting'. Yet, often, too few details are published, which means people get the wrong impression of results. For example, 'The margin of error (or sampling error) is an oft-overlooked part of polling that can have significant effects on the utility of results, especially those that are within a few percentage points of one another.' Why is this so? And why do polls fail to predict election results accurately? For a range of reasons - see the full Note, Interpreting opinion polls: some essential details, for the lowdown. It's at
Posted by belinda at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2004

Local info

ABS ( has released the National Regional Profile for anyone who wants local data on an area. This could be an area as small as a suburb in a city, or a town, or could be Australia as a whole or a state as a whole. The profile consists of a standard set of social and economic data for a place and covers one year only. So if you want to know how many people live in a place, how many are employed or out of a job, how many births occurred, this is the place for it.
Posted by belinda at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2004

How are we doing?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has just released a long statistical document of "Indicators of Australia’s welfare" - which covers not government handouts, but welfare in the broadest sense of healthy living, autonomy and participation, and social cohesion. The report finds that while Australian health is generally good, "Certain population groups experience disadvantage across multiple areas. In particular, compared with other Australians, Indigenous Australians have much poorer health, higher rates of injury-related deaths, are less likely to own their own home and more likely to be homeless. Similar constellations of disadvantage are experienced by Australians of low socioeconomic status." Read the full report at
Posted by belinda at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2004

Number cruncher

Anyone doing surveys should find the Sample Size Calculator handy. You can use it to determine how many people you need to interview in order to get results that reflect your target population to the level of precision you need. You can also calculate the level of precision in any existing samples. You can opt for different confidence levels. It's at and terms such as confidence interval and confidence level are explained in plain English.
Posted by belinda at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2003

New developments

the World Bank's latest World Development Report 2004 is just out and well worth a look for all kinds of statistics on how the poor are faring in the global economy. Not very well, it seems. The report says that poor people need greater access to education, water, sanitation, and electricity. These reports are not just dry accounts of statistics and figures, but are filled with human stories. See for yourself at
Posted by belinda at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2003

OECD figures

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( has recently released the 2003 edition of OECD in Figures: Statistics on the Member Countries. It's at The figures will help you compare how OECD countries are faring against each other. The first section includes statistical tables on economic growth, employment and unemployment, trade, development aid, R&D, science and technology, education and others. The second section has graphs on health spending, road fatalities, life expectancy, and investment flows as well as GDP and carbon dioxide emissions.
Posted by belinda at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2003

Unmediated numbers

If you are interested in American polling, try looking at the Gallup Brain, a searchable database of more than 60 years of public opinion polling in the US. You can click on each decade. It includes answers to more than 125,000 questions, and responses from more than 3.5 million people interviewed for Gallup Polls since 1935. It's at
Posted by belinda at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 02, 2003

Women in universities - equal or not?

"How Far Have We Come? Gender Disparities in the Australian Higher Education System" is a new eBrief, compiled by the Federal Parliamentary Library, that illustrates that significant gender differences remain in higher education, despite recent gains in women's participation in universities. The full Brief is at
Posted by belinda at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2003

One in five Aussies is high

According to Clive Hamilton of the Australia Institute (, one in five Australians use drugs to improve their mental well-being. Not just prescription drugs either - alcohol and illicit drugs are also regularly used as psychological props. Read the full report, Comfortable, relaxed and drugged to the eye-balls, which he compiled from unpublished ABS ( data, at
Posted by belinda at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2003

Comparing countries

Bill D. has alerted me to another useful site today called NationMaster ( The site uses data drawn from the CIA World Factbook 2002 and you can use the data interactively to create comparisons on a range of criteria. The displays are not as attractive as those on the ill-fated your-nation ( but your-nation is no longer being updated (their data is from 1998) so this will have to be the substitute. Anyone wanting the CIA World Factbook directly can see it at
Posted by belinda at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2003

Report card

The IMF has just released its World Economic Outlook, April 2003, at It's had some coverage in the news so get the full story. For our region, there is a section entitled: Asia-Pacific Region: Has Growth Become Less Reliant on Global Developments? . Maybe more importantly, the site also provides access to the Global Financial Stability Report, released in March, at
Posted by journoz at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2003

How would the US rate?

The US State Department has released the 2002 Country Reports on human rights practices. See them at Areas covered include Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Near East and North Africa, South Asia and Western Hemisphere. The US is not covered. However, Human Rights Watch's 2003 World Report is at
Posted by journoz at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2003

European analyses and facts

Europe is getting bigger and bigger all the time. Find out about 28 European countries, including countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and others at Transition Online's Knowledge Network at
Posted by journoz at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)