World Bank data now available through APIs

By way of David Stephenson I’ve learned that the World Bank now offers an API for several of its data sets on development, governance, and business conditions, plus a collection of photos.

Here are the indicators you can explore, for many countries, going back to about 1960 (though the data are sparse in some cases):

Agricultural land (% of land area)
Forest area (% of land area)
Surface area (sq. km)
Foreign direct investment, net inflows (BoP, current US$)
Workers’ remittances and compensation of employees, received (US$)
Control of Corruption
Market capitalization of listed companies (% of GDP)
Cost (% of estate) [Closing a Business]
Recovery rate (cents on the dollar) [Closing a Business]
Rank [Closing a Business]
Time (years) [Closing a Business]
Cost (% of income per capita) [Dealing with Licenses]
Procedures (number) [Dealing with Licenses]
Rank [Dealing with Licenses]
Time (days) [Dealing with Licenses]
Cost (% of debt) [Enforcing Contracts]
Procedures (number) [Enforcing Contracts]
Rank [Enforcing Contracts]
Time (days) [Enforcing Contracts]
Difficulty of Firing Index [Employing Workers]
Difficulty of Hiring Index [Employing Workers]
Firing costs (weeks of wages) [Employing Workers]
Nonwage labor cost (% of salary) [Employing Workers]
Rigidity of Employment Index [Employing Workers]
Rigidity of Hours Index [Employing Workers]
Rank [Employing Workers]
Credit Information Index [Getting Credit]
Legal Rights Index [Getting Credit]
Private bureau coverage (% adults) [Getting Credit]
Public registry coverage (% adults) [Getting Credit]
Rank [Getting Credit]
Disclosure Index [Protecting Investors]
Director Liability Index [Protecting Investors]
Investor Protection Index [Protecting Investors]
Rank [Protecting Investors]
Shareholder Suits Index [Protecting Investors]
Labor tax and contributions (%) [Paying Taxes]
Other taxes (%) [Paying Taxes]
Payments (number) [Paying Taxes]
Profit tax (%) [Paying Taxes]
Rank [Paying Taxes]
Time (hours) [Paying Taxes]
Total tax rate (% profit) [Paying Taxes]
Ease of Doing Business Rank
Cost (% of property value) [Registering Property]
Procedures (number) [Registering Property]
Rank [Registering Property]
Time (days) [Registering Property]
Cost (% of income per capita) [Starting a Business]
Min. capital (% of income per capita) [Starting a Business]
Procedures (number) [Starting a Business]
Rank [Starting a Business]
Time (days) [Starting a Business]
Cost to export (US$ per container) [Trading Across Borders]
Cost to import (US$ per container) [Trading Across Borders]
Documents for export (number) [Trading Across Borders]
Documents for import (number) [Trading Across Borders]
Rank [Trading Across Borders]
Time for export (days) [Trading Across Borders]
Time for import (days) [Trading Across Borders]
External debt total (DOD current US$)
Short-term debt outstanding (DOD current US$)
Official development assistance and official aid (current US$)
Total debt service (% of exports of goods, services and income)
Electric power consumption (kWh per capita)
Energy use (kg of oil equivalent per capita)
CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita)
Annual freshwater withdrawals total (% of internal resources)
Cash surplus/deficit (% of GDP)
Revenue, excluding grants (current LCU)
Government Effectiveness
Time required to start a business (days)
Roads, paved (% of total roads)
Internet users (per 100 people)
Internet users (per 1,000 people)
Fixed line and mobile phone subscribers (per 100 people)
Fixed line and mobile phone subscribers (per 1,000 people)
Military expenditure (% of GDP)
Exports of goods and services (% of GDP)
Gross capital formation (% of GDP)
Imports of goods and services (% of GDP)
Agriculture, value added (% of GDP)
Industry, value added (% of GDP)
Services, etc., value added (% of GDP)
Inflation, GDP deflator (annual %)
GDP (current US$)
GDP growth (annual %)
GNI, Atlas method (current US$)
GNI PPP (current international $)
GNI per capita, Atlas method (current US$)
GNI per capita PPP (current international $)
Political Stability and Absence of Violence
Rule of Law
Regulatory Quality
Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education (%)
Primary completion rate, total (% of relevant age group)
Prevalence of HIV, total (% of population ages 15-49)
Mortality rate, under-5 (per 1,000)
Improved water source (% of population with access)
Immunization, measles (% of children ages 12-23 months)
Improved sanitation facilities, urban (% of urban population with access)
Births attended by skilled health staff (% of total)
Malnutrition prevalence, weight for age (% of children under 5)
Income share held by lowest 20%
Poverty headcount ratio at national poverty line (% of population)
Adolescent fertility rate (births per 1000 women ages 15-19)
Contraceptive prevalence (% of women ages 15-49)
Life expectancy at birth, total (years)
Fertility rate, total (births per woman)
Population growth (annual %)
Population, total
Merchandise trade (% of GDP)
Net barter terms of trade (2000 = 100)
High-technology exports (% of manufactured exports)
Voice and Accountability

So, for example, you might wonder about electric power consumption (kWh per capita) for the US, India, and China. According to these data:

US India China
1975 8522 116 196
1985 10414 194 353
1995 12659 365 770
2005 13647 480 1780

Thanks, World Bank! That sure beats digging the answers out of PDF files.

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6 thoughts on “World Bank data now available through APIs

  1. Jon,

    And I assume you see the value in making this available as structured linked data such that all the constituent entities of domain become directly referencable via URIs?

    Once the above is in place, anyone can mix, match, mesh (not mash), and share their insights via the Web (i.e. pages that are transparent re. access to entities from this data space).

    The API is basically a CLI, and the process of turning this into Linked Daa is akin to implementing an ODBC / JDBC Driver (which is how we are converting exising Web content into Linked Data on the fly via RDFization Cartridges).

    Will ping you once this is available ;-)


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