UN Statistics

United Nations statistics are among the most highly regarded for their reliability and high standards. The statistics have the advantage of providing comparability across many regions and countries. The United Nations has a link to its Statistical Databases. While the organization continues to evolve in the ways that it makes this valuable data available, some of the more frequently used sources are listed here.

Free UN statistics online

United Nations Statistics Division web page links to free UN statistical databases, some of which are listed or more fully described below. In addition, statistical databases covering disabilities, millenium indicators, national accounts, statistical indicators, census questionnaires on population and housing, vital statistics, statistics on women and men, and other topics are made available via this site.

Replaces the earlier United Nations Common Database (UNCDB). This UNSTATS Database uses a Web browser interface to access hundreds of statistical series for all countries and areas of the world. Major UN databases and those of several international organizations are collected in this single internet source. Statistics topics currently include population, industry, energy, trade and national accounts, while the data base contintues to be expanded. It also includes country profiles.

Demographic Yearbook System includes the electronic Demographic Yearbooks from 2000, special topics, as well as the Demographic Yearbook 1997-Historical Supplement with data back to 1948

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is a UN related organization with significant statistics on tariffs, trade, and development. Its statistical databases are found in UNCTAD' Statistical databases on-line and include:

  • Handbook of Statistics provides analysis of international trade, investment and development, for individual countries and for economic and trade groupings
  • Commodity Price Statistics provides price indices for commodity groups starting January 1960.
  • TRAINS  provides free aggregated tariff statistics directly online. TRAINS/WITS provides full disaggregated tariff data and is available via Harvard subscription and password. Please call Government Documents Librarians for an appointment 617-495-2106.
  • Foreign Direct Investment provides FDI  statistics for  112 countries.
  • Millennium Indicators is a database which lists some 48 indicators as part of the monitoring  for the implementation of the Millennium Declaration.

UN Statistics via subscription (via Harvard E-Resources or password)

United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database  (COMTRADE) (via Harvard's E-Resources)
This Database provides international trade statistics from over 130 countries by commodity and partner country. Comtrade Premium access requires individual account registration with a current Harvard email.

WITS WITS software provides access to international merchandise trade, tariff and non-tariff measures data.  Browse the Country profile section to obtain countries exports, imports and tariff statistics along with relevant development data. Register and login to perform custom analysis.       

Proquest Statistical Insight (via Harvard E-Resources)
Statistical tables from selected United States government publications, state government publications, business and association publications, and international inter-governmental sources. Tables are in PDF and/or comma-separated variable (CSV) format..

MBS-online (Monthly Bulletin of Statistics)
The MBS-online source, like its paper counterpart Location Documents (Lamont) UN 84.579 (Level D), presents current monthly economic statistics for most of the countries and areas of the world. In addition, each month a different selection of special tables is presented showing annual and/or quarterly data on a variety of subjects illustrating important economic long-term trends and developments.