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United Nations Indicators

The United Nations collects and publishes a variety of social and administrative indicators that can be accessed via the web. These indicators cover a wide range of subject areas and are compiled by the Statistics Division, and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources. The indicators cover areas such as population size, growth and distribution, health, life expectancy and mortality rates, education and literacy rates, income levels, poverty and employment, and so on. Some of these data sets are updated regularly and can be a useful tool for researchers, serving as a starting point to develop a baseline and context for further research.

The Sustainable Development Goals will be monitored using 232 indicators. Many efforts are underway to track progress against these indicators; watch the SDG Knowledge Hub for the latest information. The World Bank has created dashboards for its indicators associated with the SDGs.

As UN data is often drawn from a range of national statistics offices, these may use different methodologies or may be fraught with different types of bias. Some data, like the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys survey, use the same methodology year over year and are more directly comparable.