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The Wolfram|Alpha Team

Celebrating the United Nations with Wolfram|Alpha

October 25, 2011 —
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The United Nations (UN) was officially founded 66 years ago this week, bringing together “peace-loving states” (as the Charter of the UN described them) to cooperate on issues of international law, economic and social development, human rights, and other matters of critical importance to global human development. From the time it launched, Wolfram|Alpha has relied on a wide variety of datasets provided by various UN organizations—and as recent blog posts indicate, these agencies remain an important source of information for international data.

For example, you can ask Wolfram|Alpha for the number of men in China who are 65 years old, and it will a display detailed age pyramid with breakdowns for different age groups.

Or you can tap into population projections from the UN Population Division and see what the world may look like in a few decades. Query “India versus China population in 2030”, and you’ll see the approximate point where India is projected to overtake China as the most populous country in the world.

India versus China population in 2030

You can also ask Wolfram|Alpha for information about the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), which measures development by combining health, education, and economic indicators to produce a single relative score—from 0 (lowest) to 1 (highest). By querying “human development index”, you can find where each country ranks. You can also ask for the HDI for a certain country and see the breakdown for each category.

Beyond data on humans, you can use Wolfram|Alpha for livestock and agriculture data. Use Wolfram|Alpha to find the “number of sheep in New Zealand versus the number of sheep in the UK”. Or find the “number of cows in Canada versus the United States”.

Did you know that per capita Canada consumes more coffee than Costa Rica? With agriculture data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), you can also compare wheat production between countries or soybean consumption versus soybean production in the same country.

Wolfram|Alpha also allows you to research international education statistics from the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) too.

As the United Nations begins its 67th year of operation, take a moment to explore these and other important international statistics in Wolfram|Alpha.