If you have not had the (purely wonky) pleasure of playing with Google’s Public Data Explorer, do yourself a favor and direct your browser there now
Born from Hans Rosling’s Gapminder
, Google’s data explorer currently allows the user to choose from 24 different data sets, including information from the World Bank
, U.S. Census Bureau
, and Energy Information Agency
. Users can then customize the dataset’s variables, save their work, and even embed the resulting chart, “unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact-based world view,” as the Gapminder site puts it.
The example dataset above uses development indicators from the World Bank to show areas of the world where high fertility rate and heavy reliance on subsistence agriculture have persisted over time. It’s worth noting that many of the countries in the upper right of the graph are also where we find persistent conflict, and, if one accepts the predictions that Africa will see some of the most profound effects of climate change, they also face real risk of continuing instability as declining crop yields threaten livelihoods and population growth continues.