[Pophealth] Comparative International Statistics
sabez at u.washington.edu
Mon Dec 18 07:45:30 PST 2006
Many of you may have seen newspaper reports on the publication of the The
2007 Statistical Abstract: The National Data Book by the US Census Bureau
and learned that in the US we now drink more bottled water than beer, for
Section 30 of the compendium is titled Comparative International
Statistics and has over 70 tables of useful information. The comparisons
reflect world-wide standards in the same way that global standards exist
for length, mass and time. Without comparing to the standard, we don't
know how we are doing. What is someone's height? Without a standard for
the meter or the inch, we could only say tall or short or so so. Our
health and other outcomes should be compared to the standard in the world
at this time in the same way.
The portal is
You can get to the pdf's through it and can download Section 30 there. The
actual tables are also variously available as excel spreadsheets allowing
for tabulation and ranking on various parameters.
Table 1310 for example has Vital Statistics by Country for 2005 and not so
useful 2010 projections. There you can rank countries with populations of
12 million or more by life expectancy, infant mortality and total
fertility. The US performance is disgraceful as you know.
Getting to the spreadsheets takes some effort as they are there in the
left BROWSE SECTIONS of the website. Under Comparative International
Statistics a few appear to be available this way. If you go under that
section to Vital Statistics, Health, Education, you can download 1310
there. By searching you can find others.
For those tables in the pdf that aren't available as spreadsheets, if you
want to manipulate their data, you have to copy from the pdfs which
involves more work. Note that most statistics are rates, meaning per
person or otherwise standardized.
Some other tables I've found interesting include:
Table 1312. Marriage and Divorce Rates by Country: 1980 to 2003, where we
win the gold medal for both marriages and divorces (among those countries)
Table 1313. Single-Parent Households: 1980 to 2005, where again we win the
Table 1317. Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Consumption of Fossil Fuels by
Country: 1990 to 2004, where again we are the leader.
Table 1318. Health Expenditures as Percent of GDP by Country: 1980 to
2003, where of course we lead in total health (care) expenditures but not
in public health expenditures.
Table 1319. Medical Doctors and Inpatient Care--Selected Countries: 1990
to 2003, shows that we don't lead in medical doctors per 1000 despite
spending the most money, nor do we have the most hospital beds or the
longest hospital stay.
Table 1321. Percentage of the Adult Population Considered to be Obese,
shows we are the biggest, no surprise.
Table 1322. Educational Performance: 2002 and 2003, demonstrates that many
countries do better than we do
Table 1333. Percent Distribution of Tax Receipts by Country: 1990 to 2003,
where we win the gold in 2003 for the lowest taxes in goods and services.
Table 1373. Net Flow of Financial Resources to Developing Countries and
Multilateral Organizations: 1995 to 2004, lists amount of aid in dollars
as well as by percent of Gross National Income where the US looks more
miserly over time as expected.
Some tables are only for sale, including Table 1372. International Tourism
Arrivals, Expenditures, and Receipts--Leading Countries: 1990 to 2004,
which is indicative of what some call the world's leading industry.
All this material gives us many ways to engage people on how well nations
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