Helen Jackson

Analytic and Research Support

Millennium Development Goals and economic growth

Background: The Millennium Development Goals were established by the UN in 2000 to focus and stimulate development efforts. They set a series of poverty-reduction, health and other targets to be met by 2015.


Please note: as this is an exercise mostly in data visualisation, the following comments are based on visual inspection of the data rather than statistical analysis. Any apparent link between economic growth and progress in an indicator is described as an association rather than a causal relationship. Statistical analysis and exploration of a range of political, social and cultural factors would need to be examined to fully explain any result.

About the data: Data is shown only for non-OECD countries. Millennium Development Goal indicators are taken from the UN's official MDG data website. There are 171 MDG indicators in all, narrowed down by selecting one per target.

Data gaps: The raw data contains many gaps, with as few as only one or two data points for some countries and series. This is dealt with by: (a) countries/dots appearing only when data is first available; (b) estimating intermediate data points through interpolation; (c) clarifying when actual data is over five years old by making dots empty.

Outliers: Equatorial Guinea has been excluded from the charts, due to its exceptional economic growth distorting the y-axis scale (GDP increased by 25 times over the period).

GDP data is from the World Bank and is measured in $US at constant (2005) prices.