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Data Resources for Sociologists: International Data Sources

This guide is a collection of links to commonly-used data resources favored by Sociologists.

Census Data, Demographics, and Population Surveys

Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)
The DHS is a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development to promote better gathering of survey data on health issues pertaining to family life and reproductive health in developing countries. Aggregated data from DHS surveys are readily accessible via the STATcompiler interface that allows for on-line visualization and for download in tabular form. Microdata files from the surveys are also available upon registration and application for access. The University of Minnesota's IPUMS project has also produced the IPUMS DHS collection of harmonized extracts of data from DHS surveys.

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) International
The IPUMS International project at the University of Minnesota provides access to samples from population censuses in various countries, with the data harmonized and standardized for easier cross-national comparisons. The list of available samples is located at

International Household Survey Network (IHSN)
The IHSN is devoted to improving "the availability, accessibility, and quality of survey data within developing countries, and to encourage the analysis and use of this data by national and international development decision makers, the research community, and other stakeholders." As part of this mission, the IHSN has developed a very useful catalog of household surveys that covers both national and international surveys. The catalog allows users to filter by country, date range, and availability, and to search through variable descriptions and question texts.

Comparative Political Economy/International Political Economy

International Labour Organization
The ILO is the main international labor-rights advocacy group in the world and has brought together a variety of information about labor rights and working conditions internationally. You can access their databases directly at The topics covered range from macroeconomic labour-market indicators (e.g. employment, unemployment, wages) to more specific topics such as trade-union membership and employment-protection legislation.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Macroeconomic and Financial Data
The IMF's data library covers topics such as investment flows, monetary aggregates, economic output, commodity prices, exchange rates, public finances, financial institutions and markets, and both public and private debt. The available databases include the Balance of Payments Statistics, the Direction of Trade Statistics, the Government Finance Statistics, and the International Financial Statistics.

LIS Cross-National Data Center
The LIS Cross-National Data Center "acquires datasets with income, wealth, employment, and demographic data from a large number of countries, harmonises them to enable cross-national comparisons, and makes them available for public use by providing registered users with remote access." Its microdata collections include both the Luxembourg Income Studies and the Luxembourg Wealth Studies. The Center also hosts a collection of cross-national country-level datasets on topics such as social spending, fiscal redistribution, family policies (e.g. family leave), and income distribution.

OECD iLibrary (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)
The OECD iLibrary is an online interface that provides full-text access to OECD studies, periodicals, and dozens of statistical databases. The topical range of the iLibrary is considerable and covers areas such as agricultural policies, environmental indicators, social expenditures, labour markets, national accounts, foreign trade and FDI, and various industry-level data. While its focus is on wealthier developed countries, the iLibrary also includes OECD reports and publications on selected non-member countries such as the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. This resource is also available via Databases at Emory.

World Development Indicators (World Bank)
The World Development Indicators provide convenient access to hundreds indicators on over 200 countries and territories. Data are available annually from 1960 forward, with variation across countries and indicators. The database is part of the Bank's Data Catalog of statistical databases and other data collections. The WDI is also accessible via Databases at Emory and on CD-ROM in the Data Center.

Public Opinion and Survey Data

The Afrobarometers are an ongoing series of surveys conducted amongst countries in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on topics such as civil society, government, and state-society relations. Data from the Afrobarometers are available from the project site and also via the ICPSR.

International Social Survey Programme (ISSP)
The ISSP is an ongoing series of cross-national surveys focusing on social attitudes towards issues such as gender roles, national identity, and the role of government. The GESIS Data Archive is the primary data archive for ISSP data, including a search engine for ISSP codebooks and questionnaires.

Latinobarómetro Data
The Latinobarómetro is an annual survey conducted amongst 18 countries in Latin America. The survey, which has been conducted since 1995, asks respondents about topics such as globalization, democratic governance and political institutions, "social capital," the environment, and gender issues.

World Values Surveys Series
The WVS is a widely-cited series of international surveys conducted in a wide range of countries in which respondents are asked about their attitudes on various social, economic, and political topics such as trust in various institutions, views on ideal forms of government, and notions of identity and equality.

Social Indicators - Education, Health, and Religion

Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)
While its primary focus is on the United States, ARDA also has much comparative/international data on religion, including single-nation studies on topics such as spirituality and health, cross-national surveys on topics such as the role of religion in political life, and cross-national data on matters such as religious populations and measures of religious freedom.

Education Policy and Data Center
The Education Policy and Data Center provides access to education measures and indicators from a range of sources such as administrative records, household surveys, and assessment tests. Users can search for data by country, topic, or level of education.

Gender Equality Data and Statistics
The World Bank's collection of gender-equality data is " a one-stop shop for gender information, catering to a wide range of users and providing data from a variety of sources." Amongst the resources here are collections of macro- and micro-level data on topics such as control of economic assets and financial inclusion and an extensive set of gender-themed indicators that can be downloaded in bulk or queried by country, year, and indicator.

Health, Nutrition and Population Data and Statistics
HealthStats is "the World Bank’s comprehensive database of Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) statistics," covering topics such as reproductive health, population growth, communicable and non-communicable diseases, and health facilities. The data are accessible through various means, such as via an interface that allows for both queries and bulk downloads and via tools to break health data down by household wealth.

World Bank Poverty and Equity Data
The World Bank has brought together a variety of datasets pertaining to the study of poverty, income inequality, and income distribution, along with other resources relevant for international development and economics. The many potentially-useful resources listed within this site include the World Income Inequality Database and PovcalNet. The site is part of the Bank's broader collection of poverty indicators. Other data resources are available via the Bank's "Poverty and Inequality" research program. Be warned - the World Bank tends to change addresses for websites without warning.

Data Services

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