FRED is all about economic time series. But FRED also embraces data that at first glance may not look economic. Consider the graph above: It shows the adoption of mobile devices in various countries. (The data come from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators release, which includes all sorts of exciting data.) Mobile devices have been adopted very quickly by a large portion of the world’s population, even in developing economies. That has economic ramifications. For example, use of mobile technology has allowed developing countries to overcome infrastructure problems with land lines and allowed people better access to services such as mobile banking. Mobile phones are now routinely used as payment devices in many countries.
How this graph was created: Start by searching “mobile cellular in China” and add that series to the graph. Then use the “Add Data Series” field to search for Chad, then the United States, and then Peru to add those new series to the graph. To see the full list of countries, you may search for “world bank” under “Tags” and select that collection of series; then search for “mobile” and select that collection of series. The list of available countries can be sorted in various ways, including by popularity and alphabetically by title.
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann