Facts and figures are the key ingredients of any project story. There are three prerequisites for reliable data – completeness, credibility, and availability. Knowing the sources of reliable data (internal or external) helps you to deliver projects faster and to win the client’s trust. There are multiple data sources – major ones are internal (proprietary), and external (subscribed data and free public data). We also know that finding the right data source can be a challenge. Starting from scratch is cumbersome. A simple search on the Internet may provide some of the data sources. However, their credibility must be ascertained before you use them in your projects. At AskBrian, we always search for the best data available – paid or free and integrate them continuously into Brian. To make your search easier, here we are sharing the results of our research on public, free data sources from reputable organizations around the world. Additionally, we have organized these sources by category. We hope it will be useful as a quick reference guide for your future projects.
Economic and Financial Data Sources
World Bank Open Data: Indicators and statistics on a range of topics like agriculture, economy, external debt, energy, financial sector, infrastructure, public/private sector, and international trade, etc.
International Monetary Fund (IMF): IMF publishes global financial stability reports, regional economic reports, international trade reports, and more. This free data source also maintains the time series data of global financial and economic statistics like inflation, the balance of payments, international trade, exchange rates, commodities’ prices, government finances, and public debt.
World Trade Organisation (WTO): WTO provides historical statistics on international trade (merchandise and services), tariffs, non-tariff measures, value chains, and many more on over 200 economies. It also publishes the World Trade Report annually.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): The OECD tracks statistics/indicators and prepares studies on multiple topics/sectors like agriculture, employment, FDI, energy, freight transport, Internet penetration, corporate debt to equity, consumer confidence index, economy, household debt/savings, trade, inflation, income inequality, interest rate, taxes, etc. The OECD mainly focuses on 37 OECD members (developed countries) and offers a free selection for some of the data points and paid options for complete access.
The Atlas of Economic Complexity: Harvard Growth Lab’s research and data visualization tool can be used to understand the economic dynamics of every country worldwide. It provides an analysis of a country’s growth opportunities, projection, economic structure, market dynamics and trade flows, etc., with data visualizations.
Google Finance: It provides real-time stock quotes and charts, world and local markets stock exchanges, financial news, currency rates, and information on tracked portfolios, etc.
Yahoo Finance: This free data source also offers information on stocks, world and local markets, stock exchanges, financial news, currency rates, and commodity prices, etc.
Qlik DataMarket: A place to check out data related to economics, healthcare, food, agriculture, and the automotive industry.
Government-related Issues Data
Google Public Data Explorer: It provides global, regional, and country-specific data sources of economy, development, employment, indicators, trade, business, labor, education, climate, demography, and many more.
The CIA World Factbook: The CIA World Factbook covers facts on every country with a focus on history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. This is extremely helpful for a quick study of a country’s profile.
The World Bank’s World Development Indicators: A large collection of data on hundreds of development indicators on every country. The indicators/topics/statistics covered are agriculture and food security, climate change, economic growth, education, energy and extractives, environment and natural resources, financial sector development, gender, health, nutrition and population, macroeconomic vulnerability and debt, poverty, private sector development, public sector management, social development, social protection and labor, trade, urban development.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index and Report: The annual index maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators which broadly covers institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, the financial system, market size, business dynamism, and innovation capability. The report provides a detailed commentary on the competitiveness of these economies.
World Bank Doing Business Database: World Bank’s Doing Business ranking of countries is an extremely useful source of information that evaluates business environment indicators.
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM): GEM is a global research source that collects data on entrepreneurship in association with 300+ academic and research institutions in 100+ economies. GEM offers a summary of the annual GEM Report on a free basis and a detailed report on a paid basis which has key statistics as well.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP): UNDP annual Human Development Index ranks countries based on human development progress. UNDP maintains rich data on demography (median age, population, sex ratio, etc), health, income, employment, and inequality. etc.
UNICEF: UNICEF tracks key indicators/statistics and prepares studies related to the situation and development of children and women around the world.
European Data Portal: The portal covers data on multiple topics/sectors, including agriculture, finance, economy, education, energy, government & public sector, health, population, transport, etc., pulled from European Union’s institutions.
Eurostat: Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union and maintains large databases on economy and finance, industry, international trade, agriculture, energy, environment, demography, transport, and more.
World Health Organization: WHO tracks statistics/indicators and prepares studies concerning health globally.
Corporates, Startups, and M&A Database
OpenCorporates: OpenCorporates is one of the largest open databases of companies in the world covering basic info (current status, company type, incorporation date, registered country, aliases, previous names, and key officer) on 186 mn companies from 130 countries.
Crunchbase: Crunchbase is the leading subscription-based platform to discover innovative companies, investors, and funding data showing also multiple insights free of charge. This data source also provides profiles on private companies/startups covering information like the type of business, founders, funding, financials, etc.
Enigma: Enigma provides reliable data and insights on the identity and activity of businesses. The user can find contact, website, corporate structure, founded, registration, industry, aliases, associated people on a number of companies.
Climate Change and More: Free Data Sources
CAIT International Emissions: The CAIT Climate Data Explorer provides a comprehensive and comparable database of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, emissions projections, and other climate-relevant indicators with visualizations.
IFPI: IFPI provides statistics about the global recording industry. The key statistics covered are leading music markets, growth and revenue by segment in the global recording industry, growth and revenue by regions, streaming revenues, streaming subscribers, and more.
Statista: Statistics and facts about the video game industry, ranging from global gaming software expenditure to U.S. brand equity of Nintendo Wii. Statistics and facts about the film industry, from the number of movie tickets sold in the U.S. and Canada to the number of 3D cinema screens worldwide. Statistics and facts about the music industry, ranging from concert revenue to record company market share.
Additionally, here is a blog post on 100 plus free data sources from reputable organizations around the world, by Jake Kilroy.
Would you like to propose some additional free data sources you believe every consultant should know? Please contact us, we are happy to develop our list further.