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C. Alan Joyce

Exploring International Education Statistics

September 7, 2011 —
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We’ve highlighted data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) database in previous blog posts about employment and business statistics. As many of our users head back to school, it seems like the right time to show off some additional World Bank statistics about education. Wolfram|Alpha can now answer a broad range of simple questions about student and teacher populations in various countries, such as:

You can also ask questions about student performance and progression in a given country or between multiple countries:

Note that for many properties, you can also query for and compare statistics by gender:

Or try asking Wolfram|Alpha about the fraction of female high school students in sovereign countries; while most countries have a reasonable gender balance, the map reveals a clear band across central Africa where girls generally account for less than 40% of high school students.

You can explore some top-level statistics about public education spending in most countries:

Norway vs. US education spending per high school student

Or ask about education spending as a fraction of GDP in Cuba, the US, UK, and France; it’s interesting to see here how the latter three converge on roughly the same level of spending, while Cuba’s educational spending fraction nearly doubles over the same period.

As we noted before, the WDI doesn’t always have data for every combination of country, property, and date—but there’s enough here to get a good general sense of the state of education in most countries and regions. We’d love to know if anyone uses Wolfram|Alpha to uncover any particularly interesting trends or comparisons, so please post links in the comments.


So how would I compute the percentage of the Chinese population that has completed the 10th grade?

Posted by Mark September 14, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Thanks for the comment. As of right now, that data is not available to us.

    Posted by The Wolfram|Alpha Team September 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Is there a measure yet for efficiency / efficacy of educational spending?

Posted by Sue September 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Ms. Manley claims that the amount of time that the students study is less than 15 hours a week. She takes a random sample of 40 students from her statistic class and finds the mean to be 4 hours a week with a standard deviation of 4.2 hours. Test the claim at the 0.05 significance level.

Posted by Livia M. Aragonl September 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm