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WORLD BANK: World Development Indicators 2012 Released

(World Bank) The 2012 edition of World Development Indicators (WDI), released today, includes updated data on global development, the quality of people’s lives, the environment, the economy, the functioning of states and markets, and global links – how actions in one part o f the world affect people elsewhere.

Alongside the WDI and the latest update to the on-line WDI database, major improvements to the data access, analysis and visualization tools are also now available. These make it easier than ever to use and analyze the full range of datasets available in the Bank’s data catalog – all freely available as part of the Open Data Initiative launched two years ago.

These new tools and mobile applications take us closer to our vision of getting data into the hands of people everywhere, so that they can be used to inform the decisions of both the policy maker and the individual citizen“, said Shaida Badiee, Director, Development Data Group.

WDI 2012 includes data for the first ten years of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), providing an important data resource for the Global Monitoring Report (GMR), being released tomorrow. Measured against 1990 benchmarks, progress accelerated in the past decade, lifting millions out of poverty, enrolling millions of children in school, and sharply reducing the loss of life due to preventable causes.

“The World Development Indicators laid the path for the Bank’s expansion into the frontiers of open development and are highly valued as a definitive reference for measuring development progress,” said Justin Yifu Lin, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President.

The WDI provides relevant and high-quality data on a wide range of development issues. New data in this year’s WDI include more recent data on poverty at international poverty lines, for more countries, including global and regional estimates; measures of malnutrition disaggregated by sex; health indicators disaggregated by income quintile; carbon dioxide emissions by economic sector, and data on climate variability, exposure to impact, and resilience. This year’s WDI illustrates that:

  • Fewer people live in extreme poverty, though poverty and hunger persist. The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 43.1 percent in 1990 to 22.2 percent in 2008. And preliminary estimates for 2010 indicate that the extreme poverty rate fell further, reaching the global target of halving world poverty five years early.
  • The proportion of people in developing countries with access to an improved water source increased from 71 percent in 1990 to 86 percent in 2008, which means that the MDG target of halving proportion of the population without access has already been met.
  • Some goals still remain out of reach. Only one region, Latin America and the Caribbean, will reduce child mortality by two-thirds. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only two countries (Madagascar and Malawi) are on track to reach the target in 2015. And while primary school enrollment rates have reached 87 percent, that leaves 64 million children out of school, mostly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Women in the Middle East and North Africa have made impressive gains in health and education. The total fertility rate fell from 4.9 births per woman in 1990 to 2.7 in 2010, women’s secondary enrollment rate increased from 46 percent to 69 percent between 1991 and 2009, and tertiary enrollment rate tripled from 9 to 27 percent. But women’s labor force participation remains at about 20 percent – by far the lowest among all regions.
  • Africa is urbanizing rapidly. In 2010, only 37 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population lived in urban areas, but between 1990 and 2010 the urban growth rate of 4 percent per year was the highest among developing regions.
  • The East Asia and the Pacific region spends more on Research and Development than other regions. And China leads the developing economies of the region, spending about 1.75 percent of GDP in 2010 on R&D.
  • People in the developing countries of Europe and Central Asia have greater access to commercial bank branches and automated teller machines than people in other developing regions—about 18 commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults and 45 ATMs per 100,000 adults. The region also ranks highly on access to commercial deposit and loan accounts.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean has the greatest share of protected land and marine areas among developing regions, with 20 percent of the land area and 13 percent of the territorial water area designated as protected areas. Even so, Latin America and Caribbean, which has about one quarter of the earth’s forest resources, has lost some 93 million hectares — about 9 percent of its forest area — between 1990 and 2010.
  • High-income economies use nearly four times as much energy per capita as middle-income economies, and more than 13 times as much as low-income economies. Per capita energy use in South Asia remains the lowest among all developing regions even after an increase of 51 percent between 1990 and 2000 – from 340 to 514 kilograms of oil equivalent.

New and improved tools to access, explore, and interact with the WDI 2012 and other datasets include:

  • New open data “mash-ups” for over 200 economies, with development indicators, household surveys, data on the World Bank’s finances and projects, and data on climate change presented in a single snapshot, available at http://data.worldbank.org/country
  • Free, upgraded mobile applications (“DataFinder 3.0”) for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry mobile devices, to access and explore indicators in English, French, Spanish and Chinese.
  • A new version of the popular “DataBank” interface to the World Bank’s time-series databases: create, save, and share tables, charts and maps – and embed them in blog posts and websites.
  • In-depth data portals on poverty, jobs, climate change, and financial inclusion.


WDI and Regional Highlights: http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/world-development-indicators

DataFinder 3.0 app: http://data.worldbank.org/products/applications

New DataBank: http://databank.worldbank.org/data/home.aspx

Poverty data portal: http://povertydata.worldbank.org/poverty/home/

Jobs data portal: http://datatopics.worldbank.org/jobs/

Financial inclusion data portal: http://datatopics.worldbank.org/financialinclusion/

Data website: data.worldbank.org

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