Health policies and data

Health Statistics


The OECD carries out work on health data and indicators to improve international comparisons and economic analyses of health systems.

OECD Health Statistics 2016

The main OECD Health database includes more than 1200 indicators covering all aspects of health systems for the 35 OECD member countries. Access free data series and the full list of indicators in various languages. The full information on definitions, sources and methods is also available in one single user-friendly document.

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OECD Health Care Quality Indicators

The HCQI project compares the quality of health services in different countries. Access free data on the following topics: Health Promotion, Prevention and Primary Care, Mental Health Care and Cancer Care.

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Health Expenditure: A System of Health Accounts (SHA) 

Access the latest data and main comparative tables and charts on health expenditure.

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Health at a Glance

This series of key statistical publications provides the latest comparable data on different aspects of the performance of health systems in OECD countries.
The latest issues include Health at a Glance 2015: OECD IndicatorsHealth at a Glance: Europe 2014 and Health at a Glance: Asia/ Pacific 2014. Access the PDF versions or web books for those publications, and the full data sets through StatLinks, free of charge.

In addition, the OECD analyses health system performance through policy projects.



logo_new_els July 2016


Number of medical graduates, 2000 to 2014


Number of nursing graduates, 2000 to 2014


Most OECD countries have increased substantially the number of students in medical and nursing education programmes since 2000, in response to concerns about possible shortages arising from the retirement of the “baby-boom” generation of doctors and nurses and greater health care needs of ageing populations. As a result, the number of medical and nursing graduates has grown steadily, so that the overall number of medical graduates across the 35 OECD countries was 32% higher in 2014 than in 2000, while the number of nursing graduates grew even faster by 76% between 2000 and 2014.

In the United States, the number of medical graduates increased by 28% between 2000 and 2014, whereas the number of nursing graduates more than doubled during that period in response to concerns around 2000 that there might be a big shortage of nurses in the years ahead. There has also been strong growth across the 22 EU countries that are OECD members, with the number of medical graduates rising by 37% between 2000 and 2014 and the number of nursing graduates by 48%. The increase has been more modest in Japan and Korea, with a rise of 7% in the number of medical graduates and 35% in the number of nursing graduates in these two Asian countries.

The steady rise in the number of new medical and nursing graduates over the past 15 years, combined with the immigration of foreign-trained doctors and nurses in some countries, has generally exceeded the number of doctors and nurses leaving the profession. This explains why the number of doctors and nurses, both in absolute numbers and on a per capita basis, has increased since 2000 in nearly all OECD countries.

Sources: Data from OECD Health Statistics 2016. Further analysis is available in Chapter 3 in "Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries: Right Jobs, Right Skills, Right Places"(2016).

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