Downloading World Bank Data

World Bank Tutorials: The Bank has developed an online tutorial and Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ) page which deals with the basics of using their web sites. To find both the tutorial and FAQs go to This brings you to the main World DataBank page. There are links in the top paragraph to both the tutorial and the FAQs. The tutorial is video on using the World Development Indicators data base-- the video demonstrates use of the site with a few written comments in English but no commentary. The FAQs for which there is a link in the same paragraph clarify many of the points demonstrated in the tutorial. The tutorial may be confusing to users not used to data bases. One solution would be to watch the tutorial and read the FAQs, the go to the data base (Click World Development Indicators in the section Explore Databases and try to create downloads, tables, etc. The review both the tutorial and the FAQs. The data base seems daunting at first, but quickly becomes routine once you use it.

Spreadsheet Download: The Bank has also prepared a download of all country data from the WDI which can be downloaded in either Excel format or CSV format (both in zipped files).. The Excel table is 72MB while the CSV table is 39MB. These downloads are available from the Resources sidebar (right side) at . The Excel file expands to about 83MB and includes all 1287 indicators for each of the countries in the data base. The spreadsheet also includes worksheets with information on the data and the data definitions.Since 2013 the Bank has made a number of additional tables which can be downloaded in Excel format at

Downloading Data: The databases allow data to be downloaded in four formats Excel (which downloads data in XLS format), CSV (comma separated values), Tabbed (fields are separated by tabs) and SDMXC (Statistical Data and Meta Data Exchange). The first three can normally be handled by spreadsheets. The downloading process creates a small window which allows the user to determine how to process the download either saving it or opening it in software the user can select--normally this will be a spreadsheet like Excel or LibreCalc after which it can be save normally. If the download is saved in Windows it will automatically go into the download directory in the User directory. If the data is saved using Ubuntu the window will be opened and the user will be able to assign a name and a directory to which the file will be saved.

Copyright 1998/2015 GRI    Updated 3 May 2015