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The what and why of statistics
Statistics can help provide concrete examples of a larger trend, give the basis for an important chart or graph, or make theoretical arguments tangible.
There are two main branches of statistics:
- Descriptive--concerns the numerical or quantitative data alone, and can help draw conclusions about a sample, rather than a population.
- Inferential--concerns the conclusions drawn about an entire population which are infered through the results of a random sampling of a population
Be aware of bias in statistics! Numbers can be manipulated, and charts and graphs can be arranged to give a certain impression. Always double-check your facts!
Looking for statistics abroad? Start with the list below.
- United Nations Statistics Division
An excellent source for global statistics regarding such areas as social conditions, population and demographics, economic factors, the environment, industry, trade, etc. Also features an extensive page of links to other official statistical resources, both domestic and international.
- Human Development Reports
Ranks and compares countries on a wide variety of statistics; let's you build custom tables comparing a wide variety of statistics between countries.
- CIA World Factbook
Lists population, government, military, and economic information for nations recognized by the United States.
- World Development Indicators
Provides economic, social, demographic, and environmental data by region and country.
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics
The United Nation's educational, scientific, and cultural organization's list of education, literacy, science and technology, culture and communication statistics.
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
The organization that determines international trade provides statistics on international trade and the international community.
- World Bank
Comprised of five institutions, the World Bank provides statistics on international trade and economics.