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Thursday, June 20, 2024

From Cost of Living to Education: NationMaster’s Mission to Bring Statistical Literacy to a Broader Audience Around the Globe

Nationmaster Brings Statistical Literacy To A Broader Audience
Jon McDonald

Written by: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald brings more than 15 years of journalism expertise to Informing financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry, Jon is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use; he strives to bring that experience to readers worldwide. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In a Nutshell: Since its creation in 2003, NationMaster has been educating a global audience through statistical comparisons and engaging visuals on country-specific data such as cost of living, economy, and energy. In fact, there is a good chance you have seen statistics from NationMaster without even knowing it. That is because news outlets, including the BBC, CNN, and The Guardian, have used NationMaster for the last decade to provide context in their stories. But everyone from entrepreneurs eyeing expansion to future homeowners can use the website to make more informed decisions based on comprehensive statistics from 305 countries. NationMaster lets users explore the world according to their unique interests and needs, making the data more personal and meaningful.//

As people throughout the world wake up each day, they often check the news for the latest updates on politics, the economy, and society. Most people have a favorite medium — whether it’s a printed paper, email newsletter, or website — and many have strong opinions about their news source. Regardless of what outlet they trust, chances are they have seen data from NationMaster in the course of their news consumption.

NationMaster logo

The site, run by self-described “passionate stat geeks,” filters a massive database of statistics, allowing users to compare countries side-by-side and puts those data points into context in the form of maps and graphics. The site is a resource reporters trust for information to bring stories to life and provide readers with dynamic experiences.

NationMaster users have access to customized graphs, charts, and maps on almost any subject — from cost of living to economic health. That information can be used in countless ways, from helping the Huffington Post assess the state of Cuba’s economy without Fidel Castro to allowing a Kenyan newspaper to compare its cost of living to that of Germany.

That unique value makes NationMaster a go-to resource for news publications. But the site is also dedicated to educating audiences around the world on highly specific topics. NationMaster is a resource for anyone who wants quantitative data to help them make smarter decisions and grow their contextual understanding of the world.

Founded to Highlight the Importance of Interpreting Stats

In 2002, NationMaster founder Luke Metcalfe realized — as much as he loved combing through the massive CIA World Factbook — the data collection experience came up lacking. He wanted more than just the numbers — he wanted context.

Photo of NationMaster Founder Luke Metcalfe

NationMaster Founder Luke Metcalfe wanted to provide statistical education to the world.

Luke, an Australian-based entrepreneur with a degree in computer technology, loved statistics and wanted a way to visualize why data — about everything from geopolitics to economics to culture — mattered on a global scale.

Beyond improving the stories data could tell, Luke felt the world needed a service that would contribute to statistical literacy everywhere. That meant building an accessible, easy-to-use site that would appeal to news agencies and college students alike. NationMaster began with the belief that everyone should be statistically literate. The founding team felt if statistics are left to someone else to interpret, a person’s worldview — and future — could be at risk.

For Luke, the value of information comes from what it means to the average user. Providing an entrepreneur with data on the best country to open a business in or giving a clear picture of what we’re breathing in the world’s most polluted cities are meaningful uses of that data.

A Research Tool For Economic and Cost-of-Living Data

NationMaster provides information that is used to make important decisions — like moving a family. Users can explore global conditions and compare country-by-country stats to see the big picture, especially about an economy or cost of living. Financial statistics can be a crucial factor in deciding whether a move will be cost-effective.

Screenshot of NationMaster cost of living data

Cost of living in another country can be a major factor in the decision to relocate a business or family.

But Luke wanted to provide even more accurate data to users, so he helped build NationMaster’s sister site Microburbs to accomplish that. Currently only available in Australia, Microburbs can filter data down to areas as small as 200 to 800 people. That precise picture of small areas puts it at the forefront of local research.

Having that data means users can focus on the quantifiable. Instead of Australian homebuyers relying on a real estate agent to tell them about a neighborhood, they can make side-by-side comparisons with truly objective data. That real information can lead to more informed decisions.

Whether you’re taking a vacation, thinking about relocating, or possibly moving a business to another country, NationMaster can provide all of the information you need — or just satisfy your curiosity.

Providing Comprehensive Reporting on 305 Countries

The NationMaster team understands globalization and the digital age mean people are making decisions on larger scales. That is why data sets on the website are so comprehensive. People are considering whether to pursue business relationships or property ownership internationally rather than at home.

Screenshot of NationMaster population map

NationMaster allows users to visualize data with interactive maps in a wide range of categories.

Some are wondering about the employment rates in other countries because they’re hiring contractors there. Others need to know how much internet access they’ll have in Botswana or Cambodia before traveling for work or vacation.

That’s why NationMaster covers 305 countries through its vast network of sources. By doing so, the site provides a wealth of data on topics from unemployment to education quality to obesity in a vast amount of countries.

Helping People Expand Worldviews Through Information

To get the best possible picture of the world, NationMaster starts by bringing together data from individual countries and unique cultures. The insights gleaned from that information often ends up in a wide variety of news reports, adding statistical context to stories.

Likewise, for individuals considering making a move, success can depend on how thoroughly they research their destination. They need to know what challenges will meet them in any new venture or adventure.

Since its creation, NationMaster has understood global perspectives don’t have to be vague or impersonal — and neither does data. Combining information from reputable sources and producing visuals to tell stories about diverse societies, NationMaster gives the world a clear picture to help shape our views. And its mission of statistical education through context is being accomplished — one informed user at a time.

Advertiser Disclosure is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across (including, for example, the order in which they appear). does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.