A news story mentioned a statistic from the UN. How can I find the original source of the data?
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2014
Statistics from the United Nations and its programmes, funds and agencies are often cited in both scholarly resources and in news reports. It can be challenging to find the source if it is not cited in the article, here are some ways to get started:
- Check UNdata which includes data from a variety of UN sources.
- What was the statistic about?
- Children --> check UNICEF
- Development --> check the MDG Indicators
- Economics --> check DESA WESS and WESP
- Health --> check WHO
- Peacekeeping --> check DPKO
- Refugees --> check UNHCR
- List of UN bodies and related organizations
- Has there been a "flagship report" issued by a UN body recently?
- Flagships are the main information product of a UN agency, usually issued once a year.
- News organizations often highlight the findings of a flagship report, sometimes without citation.
- Flagships have become web-based publications, sometimes with downloadable statistical annexes.
- Check our list of other UN statistical resources.
- If the data was about a particular country, check the website of the UN country or regional office (often led by UNDP).
- For statistics on current peace adn security situations, check for a recent report of the Secretary-General (how-to).
- Check additional secondary sources: often the same statistic is highlighted in several news reports, one of the others may have given citation to the source.
Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.