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United Nations Research Guide: Statistics

Guide to information created by the UN and the UN Family of Organizations. Grateful acknowledgement to Jim Church, University of California Berkeley Libraries, whose work is the basis for this guide.


The United Nations consolidates and harmonizes statistics from governments around the world.  Some of these are listed below as well as selected statistics from UN affiliated organizations and  agencies. Commercial databases such as ProQuest Statistical Insight and Data Planet also offer UN data.

United Nations Statistics

UN Data. From the United Nations. Wide range of economic, social, cultural, and demographic indicators: population, environment, health, economics, technology, trade, refugees, and more.

UN COMTRADE. Detailed commodity trade data between countries from 1962. This is the world's largest depository of international trade data containing billions of data records. All commodity values are converted from national currency into US dollars. 

DevInfo. Contains  official UN statistics used in monitoring the world’s progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The database is published by the United Nations Statistics Division.

FAOSTAT. Extensive data on agriculture, food supply, food security, prices, commodities, forest products, and fisheries from the FAO.

Food Aid Information System (FAIS).  Comprehensive data on food aid flows from the World Food Programme.

Global Health Observatory.  Repository for Global Health data from the World Health Organization (WHO).  The Global Health infobase is best for international comparisons. 

Millennium Indicators Database. Database of indicators measuring progress towards the Millennium Development goals, adopted by the United Nations Secretariat, IMF, OECD and World Bank.

Human Development Report Statistics. Statistics from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Links to the text of national human development reports from over 250 countries and regions.

Humanitarian Data Exchange.  An open platform for sharing data with the goal to make humanitarian data easy to find and use for analysis. Launched in July 2014, HDX has been accessed by users in over 200 countries and territories.

ILOSTAT. International labor statistics from 1979 to the present on employment, earnings, wages, migration, strikes and more.

International Monetary Fund Data.  National and international financial data from the International Financial Statistics, Government Finance Statistics, Direction of Trade Statistics, Balance of Payments, African Regional Economic Outlook, Exchange Rates, and more. 

UNESCO Institute for Statistics.  Data portal on international statistics for education, science and technology, culture, and communication. 

UNICEF Monitoring and Statistics. Individual country data from the State of the World's Children and customized statistical tables. See also DevInfo

UNICEF Innocenti Research Databases. Several databases addressing child poverty statistics from UNICEF, including the MODA database on child deprivation.

UNCTADStat. From the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development. See also the World Investment Directory, which offers FDI data by country. Includes international commodity price data.

UN Refugees Statistics and Data. Statistics and data on asylum seekers, displaced persons, and persons of concern, and UN operations in the field.  The UNHCR Popstats database presents tabular data in these areas. 

United Nations Service Trade.  Resident to non-resident trade in services broken down by EBOPS category and partner country annually.  Registration required.

Urban Indicators. United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Statistical data on urban indicators, human settlements, and city profiles worldwide.

UNIDO Industrial Statistics. Industrial and mining statistics from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

World Bank Open Data.  World Development Indicators (WDI), Africa Development Indicators (ADI), Gender Statistics, Worldwide Governance Indicators, Global Economic Monitor (GEM), Education Statistics, and more. Most data is available in Arabic, French, Spanish and Chinese in addition to English.

World Income Inequality Database. Information for over 140 countries on income inequalities at both cross-country and time series levels from 1950-98.

World Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS). Statistical software integrating trade data from several international organizations: data on trade in merchandise and commercial services at the world and regional level. Please note the following statement about data availability through WITS:

  • Access to UN Comtrade data is free for users with UN prescribed limits (record downloads limited to 50,000);
  • Access to UNCTAD TRAINS is free and accessible for all users; and
  • All users have free access to WTO IDB and CTS tariff data at the tariff-line level. WTO 6 digit data are generally available. Access to tariffline imports data is restricted to certain users based on WTO guidelines.

Key UN Statistics Sources

UN Voting

Most UN Resolutions are adopted without a vote. Sometimes a summary (the number of yeas and nays) is made while in other cases the resolution is adopted by roll-call which indicates how a country voted.​

UNBIS Voting Records. Voting information from the UN Dag Hammarskjold Library. Data is only available by subject keyword, date and resolution number.

VoteWorld. From the UC Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies, London School of Economics, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Includes data from the European Parliament and US Congress. 

Votes in the UN General Assembly. UN General Assembly votes from 1946-2012, from Eric Voeten, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University. 

Voting Practices in the United Nations. Published annually by the U.S. Dept. of State. Includes tables on political and geographic groups, as well as major votes by country. For back issues see Boalt Library KJ61 .R46. 

Index to Proceedings of the General Assembly. Annual index to the work of the General Assembly. Voting information by resolution is in the back of volume one (subject index).

Index to Proceedings of the Security Council. Annual index to the documents, resolutions of the security council. Voting information (if any) by resolution. 

United Nations Resolutions. Series I, Resolutions adopted by the General Assembly. Main Library Government Information 341.23 U577u. Multi-volume et of UN General Assembly Resolutions, with voting information, from 1946-1985.

United Nations Resolutions. Series II, Resolutions and decisions of the Security Council Main Library Government Information   341.23 U5772u  Multi-volume et of UN Security Resolutions, with voting information, from 1946-1979.