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OECD Health Data Resource

Health expenditures and health quality across OECD countries

Over the past decades, health care costs have risen faster than GDP growth in many industrialized countries. Moreover, the health care systems in such countries have not always succeeded in converting higher costs into commensurate population health gains. For instance, the United States had the highest health care expenditures per capita of all OECD countries in 2009, but ranked 27 in life expectancy at birth (Health at a Glance 2011).

To design effective and inclusive solutions to current population health and budget challenges, we need comprehensive data on health costs, determinants and outcomes. The HSI Health Data Resource, by hosting the OECD Health Data 2013, aims to make comprehensive health data available to students, researchers, policymakers and the general public.

The OECD Health Data: what does it include?

The OECD Health Data 2013 is currently the most comprehensive compendium of comparable national health statistics for OECD countries. It contains data on a wide variety of topics related to health and health care provision:

  • Data is organized in 8 chapters for public users
  • Datasets contain statistics for the 34 OECD countries, 1 accession country (Russian Federation), and 5 key partner countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa)
  • Data is presented in a country-year panel format for the 1960-2013 period
  • Most variables are presented as gender-specific standardized rates for cross-country comparison
  • Datasets permit users to analyze and compare countries on health care characteristics over time

Who can use the OECD Health Data?

The OCED Health Data can be used by students, researchers and policymakers to answer questions relevant to their domains:


  • Can determine how health outcomes in other countries compare to those in their own
  • Learn how risky health behaviours (smoking and alcohol consumption) differ across countries
  • Identify countries with higher levels of self-rated health

Health policy researchers, epidemiologists, and health economists:

  • Can benefit from detailed data on incidence rates of communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • Have access to health expenditures data, broken down by financing agent and health care provider
  • Identify trends in health care resources, such as physician density and hospital beds available

Policy-makers, media representatives and public users:

  • Can use data to understand relevant causes of mortality and morbidity that demand public action
  • Examine differences in health professionals’ employment and remuneration across countries to inform cost containment policies and strategies

What is HSI’s OECD Health Data Resource?

The OECD Health Data Resource provides the public with access to the OECD Health Data 2013 public files. Features of the resource include:

  • Easily downloadable, ready-to-analyze Excel and STATA data files
  • A data dictionary to help users readily identify and select variables of interest
  • A STATA program with instructions, allowing users to produce customized datasets for a variety of purposes