Eurostat is the institution within the European Union that organizes statistics from the 27 EU member states (f.x. from the German Federal Office of Statistics who also maintain a web-access to their data). Their web-site offers a wealth of statistics, reports, documents and visulization tools. It is pretty huge and I still get lost easily on it or discover new things. So this article doesn’t even try to show you around. I’ll just exemplify here one aspect of their site – the statistics database in context of a concrete question. In case you like population statistics thrown on maps you might be interested in the following articles which use data from Eurostat:
The question we’ll investigate
How regularly did people – differentiated in younger than or at least 65 years of age – in recent past die from a cause categorized as “Ill-defined and unknown causes of mortality”? We will be looking at national level (NUTS 0).
Okay, now here is how we answer that question
2) What you see now is a tree structure looking like something that was fancy 10 years ago. It consists of five main sections of which I almost exclusively use the first one – “Database by themes”. This section gathers as far as I know all the available data in its most versatile organisation.
3) The way we take you can see on the screenshot. What you can also see is a cryptical character sequence in brackets – “hlth_cd_ysdr1” – that’s the name of the table we are interested in. It means something like “health – causes of death – yearly standardized death rates” (I guess). So to make a long story short we type that into the input field above the tree and just search for it. We follow the little yellow arrows and click it.
4) A new window pops open displaying the table according to the default settings – a different death cause – regions down to NUTS 2. Not what we want. So we have to apply some adjustments. For that purpose we click on the tab labelled “Select Data”.
5) Within the different categories we select the attributes we care about (and after we are done with one category we click the link labelled “Update”):
6) We’re done with settings so we go back to the table via “View Table”.
7) Now we have the table showing the countries row wise and the time in the columns. But we want the age groups in the columns instead. So what we do is we drag the lightblue cross next to “AGE” on the “TIME” label in the table. That’s it.
Why this statistic?
Now you might be wondering why I chose this data set. Just like rates of children born dead this death rate can be considered as an indicator for the quality of the medical infrastructure of a country or region. I mean think about it – what does it say about the medical system f.x. in Greece* when more than three times as many old people die of unknown (uncared?) causes compared to Switzerland. If doctors don’t know what somebody died of then this might be because they didn’t have the time to examine a patients health when she or he was still alive in the first place.
Then again some observations are indicating that the interpretation is not as simple – Norway ranking pretty high is known for very high living conditions while Romania rather isn’t.
*: Make sure you read Isabel’s very insightful comment on how to use Metadata provided by Eurostat – specifically with respect to Greece!
(original article published on www.joyofdata.de)