Google Public Data Explorer

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One of the main issues that we as human beings have is that we don’t have a gestalt understanding of social data, and its change over time. Among biologists one of the major recurring problems is the gloominess which is a consequence of the Malthusian mindset (which is understandable because of their professional bias) which has a hard time understanding that the human species is far healthier and wealthier today than it was in 1960. Below the fold is something I cobbled together in 30 seconds with Google’s public data explorer. On the y-axis is the log-transformed total fertility rate, and the x-axis the life expectancy. I’ve highlighted a few polities to show different trajectories since 1960.


  1. The West Bank / Gaza stands out as a place where they having a a very high birth rate relative to their life expectancy

  2. Though Israel is similar.

    Generally speaking this is Google trying to do Wolfram Alpha better than Wolfram Alpha, right?

  3. i gave up on wolfram alpha. it only seems to be able to give me answers to stuff i could find in wikipedia pretty easily anyway.

    re: west bank. the general explanation i hear about this is that west bank & gaza are REALLY underdeveloped socioeconomically, but international AID gives them a better health infrastructure.

  4. The fact that West Bank and Gaza are listed together complicates things more than a bit. The societies are rather different from each other, and they quite clearly develop in different trajectories.

    For example, while the TFR in West Bank sinks rapidly, Gaza is much higher. The difference is already more than 1 child per woman, so if the “common” dot was split into two, they would be quite far from each other.

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