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last updated: 6/14/2013

Data Pathfinders: World Health Statistics

Basic Print Sources | Electronic Resources Online




Basic Print Sources

There are a number of different ways to measure a person's or a people's health. Not all countries or organizations measure health in the same way, which presents a minor problem. So be prepared for the data comparability issues. One must also keep in mind that the government of a country whose people suffer from poor health is not necessarily going to be very determined to adequately report health statistics. That's why it's best to stick with information provided by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) whenever possible.

Note: Some locations of print materials may have changed. Consult IUCAT for current locations.

  • The Progress of Nations. UNICEF. 1997-present.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 407. A1 P76].
    The latest issue is on reserve. Comes out yearly. This is a terrific resource. The focus changes each year. Statistical profiles (per country) in the back of the book remain constant, however; these statistics are: total population, population under 18 years old, # births, # under-5 deaths, GNP per capita, % of under-5 children underweight, primary school enrollment, total fertility rate, maternal mortality rate. A very politically motivated publication; it seeks to expose "intolerable disparities."

  • World Health Statistics Quarterly. World Health Organization (WHO). 1947-present.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 651 .W65].
    This is a good way to get an idea about what the hot topics in world health are.

  • Better Health in Africa: Experience and Lessons Learned. World Bank, 1994.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 545. B48].
    Contains some tables within the text and some extensive country-by-country statistics in the back of the book on the following topics: health and development indicators; population projections; mortality; fertility; income and poverty; women's health nutrition; access to health care; immunization; health care personnel, facilities, and expenditures. Worth a look.

  • Sixth Report on the World Health Situation. WHO, 1980. 2 parts.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 441 .S59 v. 1 & v. 2].
    The statistics are outdated (1973-77) but maybe someone who already has current statistics and wants to compare them to statistics from 25-30 years ago would find this resource to be quite helpful. Discusses each country's birth rate, death rate, infant mortality, natural increase rate, general fertility rate, main causes of death, most common diseases, and health care services information. Some countries obviously do a better job of acquiring this information than others! Other tables are included here as well.

  • Global Health Situations and Projections: Estimates. WHO, 1992.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 441. G57 1992].
    It's interesting to be able to look at projections from ten or so years ago, isn't it? This resource does a nice job of covering (and explaining) all the basic issues and topics in world health.
  • Health Care in Asia: A Comparative Study of Cost and Financing. Charles Griffin. World Bank, 1992.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 410.55 A78 G75 1992].
    There are lots of tables and graphs in the text and especially in the index. Contains not just health care statistics but also basic economic and general health indicators.

  • Health Care Reform: The Will to Change. OECD, 1996.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 410. H433 No. 8].
    Contains a few worthwhile tables pertaining to health care in OECD countries.

  • Health Statistics in the Nordic Countries 1990.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 407.5. S34 H4 1990].
    A little outdated, and maybe a little too specific, but it contains an amazing number of very nice graphs and tables.

  • On the State of the Public Health. The Stationery Office. 1964, 1972, 1981-83, 1985-87, 1990-97.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 241. B132].
    Health statistics for Great Britain.

  • Proposed Programme Budget. WHO, 1982-95.
    [ET2, Stacks -- RA 8 .A2].
    The WHO annual budget outlined in great detail. Somewhat difficult to make much sense of the statistics contained here, though.

  • Confronting AIDS: Public Priorities in a Global Epidemic. World Bank, 1999.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- RA 644. A25 C6339 1999].
    Lots of great statistics in the appendices in the back on AIDS. Plenty of interesting tables throughout the text, as well.

  • The State of Health in the European Community. European Commision, 1996.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- RA 483. R468 1996].
    Lots of colorful graphs throughout the text on health-related statistics for Europe.

  • Health at a Glance. OECD, 2001.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- RA 407.5 .035 H43 2001].
    What a great resource (for OECD countries only, though): up-to-date, TONS of useful graphs and tables and statistics. If you are interested in OECD countries' health information, look here first.

  • The World Health Report 2001. Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope. WHO, 2001.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- RA 8 .A265].
    The mental health statistics throughout are nice, but what makes this resource really noteworthy is Annex Table 2: Deaths by cause, sex, and mortality stratum in WHO regions. There are other decent annex tables in the back besides this one. The WHO has 191 member states, by the way.

  • The State of the World's Children 2001. UNICEF, 2001.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- HQ 792.2 .S73].
    Table in the back gives countries an "under-5 mortality rank," which is really enlightening. Contains very up-to-date information.

  • State of Food and Agriculture 2000. United Nations, 2000.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- HD 9000.5 .F676].
    Contains quite a few tables on food production.

  • Footprints and Milestones: Population and Environmental Change. UN Population Fund, 2001.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- HB 848 .S73].
    In the "Monitoring ICPD Goals--Selected Indicators" section in the back, statistics are given per country on "Births per 1000 women aged 15-19," "Contraceptive prevalence," and "HIV prevalence rate (%) (15-24) M/F"--these are really unique categories.

  • World Development Indicators 2001. World Bank 2001.
    [ET2, Reference Desk -- HC 59.69 .W68].
    Contains a lot of information, including some chapters and statistics on world health.

Electronic Resources Online



last updated: 6/14/2013