Building a Fact-based Worldview Together

Gapminder is promoting a fact-based worldview. This is the fact-base.

What is Open Numbers?

It’s a community for data-crunchers who harmonize statistics to make them more useful for a fact-based worldview. Gapminder moderates the process to make sure people participating know what they are doing.

  1. We fetch data from recognized reliable sources. Any statistical data about global and local developments across any subject matter, including Societal, Environmental and Economical developments.
  2. We transform the data into our Data Description Format (DDF) csv format. Data transformations are often done through scripts in python, node.js or Excel, and sometimes manually. The transformation process should be transparent and possible to replicate later by someone else, when data-sources are updated.
  3. Most of the DDF-datasets fetched by Gapminder are then combined into larger datasets, to enable comparisons of developments across different subject matters, and to combine local and global statistics. The end product from Gapminder’s perspective is our largest dataset called: Systema Globalis. Which is used in Gapminder’s tools.

Gapminder’s goal with this project is to make our data-process completely transparent, and enable local and global comparisons that have never been done before. The datasets are all available under Creative Common Attribution License 4 and source code under BSD Open Source license.

:) Ola Rosling, Director of the Gapminder Foundation


More and more public statistics are becoming freely available to in all kinds of files and APIs. This is great, but data is always more useful when it’s standardized. Cleaning up statistical dataset to a standard format is not trivial, especially because no universally widely adopted standard exists which is useful to both humans and machines. For ten years Gapminder has been combining lots of stats from hundreds of sources, to provide for free, the longest most consistent time series in the world, covering social, environmental and economic development. We have been combining data from historians, public agencies and commercial companies, into a single tabular format. These tables have been freely available for many years at, and they have been downloaded millions of times.

Gapminder’s collection of data has been integrated into tons of visualization tools and used for school exercises across the world. Over all these years we have received thousands of requests to broaden and deepen our data, to include more topics and more local numbers. This would require a lot of work, and often we didn’t find resources or time to make it happen. We have also been missing a solid infrastructure for crowd-sourcing public statistics through the help of a global community of number crunchers. With Open Numbers on GitHub we hope this will finally be possible. We want you to join this large open data-harmonization project, which is moderated by Gapminder and available for anyone! We believe in free information.

About Gapminder

Gapminder’s is an independent Swedish educational foundation building a fact-based worldview which everyone can understand. Read more…