A dataset that allows users to browse, select, visualize and download demographic data and population projections.

The Wittgenstein Centre Human Capital Data Explorer (WCDE) was developed by researchers at the IIASA World Population Program, in partnership with the Austrian Academy of Sciences' Vienna Institute of Demography (VID), under the umbrella of the Wittgenstein Center for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, OeAW, University of Vienna).

About the WCDE

Designed using R+Shiny, the Data Explorer 2.0 provides data, projection assumptions, and results on the population of all world countries (201) and regions by age, sex, and education for alternative scenarios from 2015 to 2100, based on different scenarios (5) of future population and human capital trends. It also includes the reconstruction of population by levels of educational attainment from 1950 to 2015 for 185 countries.

Other indicators relating to fertility, mortality, and migration are also available.

There is the option of consulting the data online or downloading into a file (CSV) that can also be read using the software. In addition, you may download data directly into R using the wcde package.

The WCDE includes graphical representation in the form of dynamic pyramids and maps. Users can access links to country profiles and the relevant meta-data for more details.


The Human Capital Data Explorer contains detailed data by age, sex and educational attainment (6 categories and up to 8 for 60 countries) for a large set of indicators:

  • Population and Human Capital Stocks: Population size, median age, sex ratio, dependency ratio, educational attainment distribution, mean years of schooling, gender gap in education attainment.
  • Demographic Change: Growth rate, natural increase, fertility rate, birth rate, mean age at child bearing, life expectancy, survival ratio, death rate, net migration.
  • New aging indicators: Age when remaining life expectancy is below 15 years, proportion of population with a remaining life expectancy below 15 years.


WCDE Features

The preliminary results of the population projections by levels of educational attainment were published in 2018 in Lutz, Goujon, KC, Stonawski, and Stilianakis (Eds.).

Version 2.0 provides an update of the projections (scope, coverage and quality) also relying on the work presented in Lutz, Butz and KC (Eds.) in 2014 by a large team of researchers at the Wittgenstein Centre and at other institutions. It also includes back projections from 2015 to 1950. More information in Speringer et al. 2019.

The present version (2.0) benefitted from the partnership with the Joint Research Centre in the Centre of Expertise on Population and Migration (CEPAM).

The WCDE allows visualization of population pyramids and population size by education for any country and creation of maps around the available indicators.

All graphics can be downloaded.

On top of the assumptions about future trends in fertility, mortality, and education, the projections study the effect of several migration assumptions applied to the context of the set of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSP) scenarios related to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Further reading on the data from the global population projections by age, sex and education is provided in Lutz, Goujon, KC, Stonawski, and Stilianakis (Eds.) (2018) and in Speringer et al. (2019) for the reconstruction.

Further features about the methodology can be found in Lutz, Butz, and K.C. (2014).

Data_explorer_flyer © IIASA


Lutz W, Butz WP, & KC S (2014). World Population & Human Capital in the Twenty-first Century. UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198703163 

Lutz WGoujon AKC SStonawski M, & Stilianakis N (2018). Demographic and Human Capital Scenarios for the 21st Century: 2018 assessment for 201 countries. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. ISBN 978-92-79-78023-3 DOI:10.2760/41776.

Speringer M, Goujon AKC S, Potančoková M , Reiter C, Jurasszovich S, & Eder J (2019). Global Reconstruction of Educational Attainment, 1950 to 2015: Methodology and Assessment. Vienna Institute of Demography , Vienna, Austria.