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Digitization Update - World Social Situation

Thursday 30 May 2019

Topics: Digital Collections

What are the forces of social change and the indicators of progress? How have violent conflicts impacted the development of societies?  What are the consequences of advances in technology?

To address these and other fundamental questions about social and economic progress, the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) has produced the Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) since 1952. 

To promote a deeper understanding of how the world economy and drivers of social progress have evolved over time, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library has digitized 12 historic volumes of the Report published between 1952 to 1993.

Each Report on the World Social Situation evaluates the main indicators of social progress and social and economic inequalities that are affecting societies.  This makes it a valuable tool for policy analysis and international and national discussions.  Important social conditions, such as population growth, poverty, health, education, and housing are examined; as well as factors like ethnic conflicts, consumption patterns, and religious trends.

The Report uses extensive statistical data to substantiate its findings. While recent reports have been written against the backdrop of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Report of the World Social Situation has served as a background paper for policy analysis for over five decades. 

The digital versions of the historical reports are now freely available in the UN Digital Library, giving insight into the past of the world’s most complex socio-economic issues.

Other digitized series include: