Have you seen Google’s Public Data Explorer? It’s an interactive interface to some gigantic sets of data gathered from around the world (sorry, requires Flash). I found it when I searched for “population growth” on Google. If you click the chart at the top of the list of results, you can graph the change in population growth rates for any country from 1960 to present. The chart graphs the US population rate by default but you can turn on any combination of countries as well as the world population growth rate for comparison.
After playing with it for a few minutes, I wondered about Iran and Iraq, two countries that we all probably wish we knew less about:
Remember the Iran/Iraq war? You can see it right there in the data. Can you tell who “won” and who lost that war?
Now let’s throw Kuwait into the mix:
You can see the first Gulf War in that downward spike, but why did it take so long for Kuwait to get back to a “normal” growth rate? My conclusion: Saddam Hussein’s scorched earth policy reaked so much havoc that people continued to leave the country for the next five years.
I can’t wait to waste hours on this data!