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A dream come true

Anna Rosling Rönnlund


What does the world really look like? How do other people really live? If we could see beyond the drama of the news headlines and the glamour of glossy travel ads, what could we learn about the world’s inhabitants – and about ourselves? At Dollar Street we’ve been curious about this for a long time.

It started as a simple thought: what if we could see statistics? What if, instead of trying to understand the numbers in a table or the figures in a graph, we could get a picture of what was being portrayed? Not all of us are good at statistics. (Let’s face it, almost none of us are.) But I’ve always had a passion for photography and for trying to make sense of people’s everyday lives. I knew I was on to something, and the vision of Dollar Street slowly started taking form.

Together with my husband, Ola Rosling, I started documenting the first homes back in 1999 (at my mother’s house in Ludvika, Sweden and with the Papon family in the Dominican Republic). With a grant from SIDA I could also document homes in Uganda, South Africa and Mozambique. The first interface was created and my idea started taking physical form.

At Gapminder we were at that time working on the bubble graphs that we would later sell to Google, and it took almost all of our time. But the idea of Dollar Street – a visual framework that would help us understand socio-economic differences of the world – didn’t leave me.

At first I wanted to travel the world and photograph every home myself. Yes, maybe a little naive. Today we work with photographers all over the world and Dollar Street is fast becoming what I envisioned all along. Today we feature more than 200 homes in about 50 countries, with a grand total of over 30 000 photos and 10 000 videos from these homes. A generous grant from Swedish Postkod Foundation made it possible to give Dollar Street the time needed, and in three years time we have collected photos and developed a tool free for everyone to use. It’s a dream come true! And hopefully one that you’ll enjoy as much as I do. Now go explore!

Free statistics for democracy

About this video:
In a democracy, decision making is ultimately made by the people, therefore statistics cannot only be the bookkeeping of the state. It must be understood and used by many.

The video was produced by Health Metric Network, and shoot during a talk at the Prince Mahidol Award conference in Bangkok, January 2010.

Human rights & democracy statistics

About this Video

In this video, made for the Oslo freedom Forum 2009, Hans Rosling discuss the difficulty in measuring progress in Human Rights in the form of comparable numerical statistics. He also shows the surprisingly weak correlation between existing estimates for democracy and socio-economic progress.

The reason may be that democracy and human rights measurements are badly done. It may also be that democracy and human rights are dimensions of development that are in themselves difficult to assign numerical values. But it also seems as much improvement in health, economy and education can be achieved with modest degrees of human rights and democracy. Hans Roslings concluding remark is that Human rights and Democracy maybe should be mainly regarded as values in themselves rather than means to achieve something else.

Related content

Democracy and GDP per capita in Gapminder World




Prostate Cancer Statistics

About this Video

In this video, Hans Rosling briefly reviews the risk of getting diagnosed with, and the risk of dying from, prostate cancer in the world.

The data is compiled by IARC ( International Agency for research on Cancer) in Lyon, France. The most striking is the high rate of diagnosis per 100 000 men in USA and some countries in West Europe. In contrast, Japan has a very low rate and the most probable explanation is a genetic predisposition in men of European origin. The data is displayed in bubbles for each country and the color of the bubbles refers to the continent where each country is situated.

Related content

New cases of prostate cancer per 100 000 men (+ size showing number of new cases)

Shanghai, New York, Mumbai

About this Video

See the development of three centers of trade, Shanghai, New York and Mumbai.
Also, a comparison of the capitals: Beijing, Washington, D.C. and New Delhi.
And finally, a note from Professor Rosling on how one can measure the progress of President Obama’s intentions to improve the health system of the US.

Related content

Gaps within China, India, US

Life expectancy at birth updated and expanded

We have made an update of the indicator Life expectancy at birth.  To see this indicator together with Income per capita, follow this link.

The biggest change is that we now show this indicator for 155 countries back to 1800, although in most cases, the early estimates are based on a very rough model. This full dataset is not suitable for statistical analysis. Please consult the documentation for information about sources and data quality. A spreadsheet with detailed source information will be added later.

You can also see some tentative information about data quality in the graph, look for this under “For advanced users” -> “Data quality”, or use this link. Red is “very poor quality data” while blue is “very good quality data”. Read more about our data quality ranking in this previous blogpost.

Continue reading “Life expectancy at birth updated and expanded”

The seemingly impossible is possible

About this talk

This year, 2007, Hans Rosling’s TED-speech focused on making the seemingly impossible possible.

The Trendalyzer software (recently acquired by Google) turns complex global trends into lively animations, making decades of data pop. Asian countries, as colorful bubbles, float across the grid – toward better national health and wealth.

Download movie in high resolution

Video to desktop (Zipped MP4)
Video to iTunes (MP4)

Related Content

Go to the speach from 2006.


Here are some of the awards and nominations of Gapminder Foundation, its softwares and staff.

Year Award Description
2016 The International Integrated Development Prize, NIRAS Gapminder
2016 The Leonardo Award, Crossing Borders category Hans, Anna & Ola Rosling
2012 Årets Svensk i Världen, Svenskar i Världen / Swedes Abroad (SVIV) Hans Rosling
2012 Editor’s Pick Award, Mac.Informer.Com Gapminder Desktop
2012 The 100 Most Influential People in the World Hans Rosling
2011 Grierson Award, Best Science Documentary The Joy of Stats
2011 The Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Awards Hans Rosling
2010 Kjell Hultman-stipendiater, DATAFÖRENINGEN Anna Rosling Rönnlund & Ola Rosling
2010 World Technology Award; Design Gapminder
2009 Foreign Policy Magazine, 100 most important global thinkers Hans Rosling
2009 Top 10 Websites for 2009 Planetizen www.gapminder.org
2009 Georg and Greta Borgstrom Award, Swedish Royal Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Hans Rosling
2008 The Big Debate Award, Dagens Medicine Hans Rosling
2008 Speaker of the Year, Swedish Event Academy Hans Rosling
2007 Knowledge Prize, National Encyclopaedia of Sweden Hans Rosling
2007 Jubilee Prize, Swedish Medical Society Hans Rosling
2007 Statistician of the Year Award, Swedish Association for Statistics Hans Rosling
2007 The Webby Awards, Nominee Gapminder World 2006
2006 Årets folkbildare, Swedish Skeptic Society Hans Rosling
2006 Ångpanneföreningens kunskapspris Hans Rosling
2006 World Technology Award, Nominee Trendalyzer
2005 Årets FN-vän Hans Rosling
2004 Appropriate and Sustainable solution of the month, Engineers Without Borders – International Gapminder
2003 Annual World Panorama Award, Category: Education Dollar Street
2002 European Academic Software Award (EASA) Dollar Street

Our mission

Fighting devastating ignorance with fact-based worldviews everyone can understand.

Gapminder is a non-profit venture – a modern “museum” on the Internet – promoting sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Gapminder was founded in Stockholm by Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Hans Rosling on February 25, 2005. Gapminder is registered as a Foundation at Stockholm County Administration Board (Länstyrelsen i Stockholm) with registration number (organisationsnummer) 802424-7721.

Gapminder does not award any grants. It is an operating foundation that provides sevices as defined by the board, sometimes as collaborative projects with universities, UN organisations, public agencies and non-governmental organisations.

The initial activity was to pursue the development of the Trendalyzer software. Trendalyzer sought to unveil the beauty of statistical time series by converting boring numbers into enjoyable, animated and interactive graphics. The current version of Trendalyzer is available since March 2006 as Gapminder World, a web-service displaying time series of development statistics for all countries.

In March 2007, Google acquired Trendalyzer from the Gapminder Foundation and the team of developers who formerly worked for Gapminder joined Google in California in April 2007. (History of Gapminder)

To fulfill our aim, we at Gapminder are currently working on:

  • Keeping our tools’ statistical content up-to-date and making time series freely available in Gapminder World and Gapminder Countries.
  • Producing videos, Flash presentations and PDF charts showing major global development trends with animated statistics in colorful graphics.

All with the intention of being a “fact tank” that promotes a fact based world view.


Gapminder combines data from multiple sources into unique coherent time-series that can’t be found elsewhere.

Below are links to documentation describing how we have combined the sources in each case. For the sake of transparency, whenever allowed to share the underlying data, we make our complete calculations available for download, often in Excel files. In most of these files the details are not documented, as we haven’t had time to describe every little step in our data process. But our data is constantly being improved by people who help find problems. If you have questions, we will try to answer them in our data-forum. Read more about our data combination methods here »

Each documentation page has a version number and links to the previous versions. Whenever we update the data, or make other significant changes in the documentation, we make a new version.

Data combined by Gapminder

Commonly used indicators
Babies per woman (total fertility rate)
Child Mortality Rate, under age five
GDP per capita in constant PPP dollars
Infant Mortality Rate, under age one
Life Expectancy at Birth

Other indicators
Average age at 1st marriage (girls)
Legal slavery
Maternal mortality

Other documentation
Income Mountains
World Health Chart, data sources

This list only includes data that we have somehow modified or calculated ourselves. The complete list of data we use is here »

Archive of data that we haven’t updated for a while,
GDP per capita by PPP for sub-national units