I had a play and found it was easy access to some interesting data. Some time down the track I might do a comparison of this with other sources, the most obvious being the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, to identify relative advantages - there’s a lot of duplication of course. It’s a nice problem to have, too much data that’s too easy to get hold of. I wish we’d had that problem when I studied aid and development last century - I vividly remember re-keying numbers from almanac-like hard copy publications, and pleased we were to have them too!
Here’s a plot showing country-level relationships between the latest data of three indicators - access to contraception, adolescent fertility, and infant mortality - that help track the Millennium Development Goals.
Here are the exploratory plots I made on the way to that. All the code is reproduced at the bottom of the post.
Infant mortality has been increasing steadily since 1990 when these data start, and in fact from decades before too. Sad blip in Haiti from the 2010 earthquake:
The data on adolescent fertility is surprisingly sparse, with only one data point per country and many of them quite old. While Africa is often in a class of its own on development indicators, this graphic might surprise people in showing how much teen pregnancy is such an issue in Africa (note that the inclusion of Sudan and Somalia in “Eastern Mediterranean” region wasn’t done by me):
Data on contraception use is also sparse; mostly one data point per country, but a few have two. There’s not much that stands out here other than the high usage in the wealthier countries of Europe (the blue ones) and low in the poor countries of Africa (red).
Here’s the R code that did that. Hopefully other people will pick up on this - good work from the WHO for their database and API, and Eric Persson for making it easy to access from R.
My day job is Director of the Statistics for Development Division at the Pacific Community, the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, proudly supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 27 country and territory members. This blog is not part of my role there and contains my personal views only.
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