New R package to access World Bank data

Staying on top of new CRAN packages is quite a challenge nowadays. However, thanks to Dirk’s CRANberries service I occasionally spot a new gem, such as wbstats, which appeared on CRAN last week.

Similarly to the WDI package, wbstats offers an interface to the World Bank database.

With the functions of wbstats the World Bank data can be searched and data for several indicators requested. Unlike WDI, the data is returned in a ‘long’ table with one column for all values and a separate column for the indicators. Additionally, the function wb allows me to specify how many most recent values (mrv) I am interested.

Thus, to recreate the famous Gapminder chart by Hans Rosling, showing the correlation between fertility, i.e. number of children per woman, and life expectancy over time by country and region, I can write (note, a Flash player is required): If you’d like to learn more about how to create interactive charts with googleVis, then check out the free tutorial on DataCamp.

Session Info

R version 3.2.4 (2016-03-10)
Platform: x86_64-apple-darwin13.4.0 (64-bit)
Running under: OS X 10.11.4 (El Capitan)

[1] en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8/C/en_GB.UTF-8/en_GB.UTF-8

attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets 
[6] methods   base     

other attached packages:
[1] googleVis_0.5.10 data.table_1.9.6 wbstats_0.1     

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] httr_1.1.0        R6_2.1.2          rsconnect_0.4.2.1
[4] tools_3.2.4       curl_0.9.7        RJSONIO_1.3-0    
[7] jsonlite_0.9.19   chron_2.3-47 


For attribution, please cite this work as:

Markus Gesmann (Apr 26, 2016) New R package to access World Bank data. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation:

@misc{ 2016-new-r-package-to-access-world-bank-data,
 author = { Markus Gesmann },
 title = { New R package to access World Bank data },
 url = { },
 year = { 2016 }
 updated = { Apr 26, 2016 }