World Statistics Day Competition



John Wiley & Sons Ltd celebrates World Statistics Day 2015 (20th October 2015)

Statistics Views and Wiley were proud to be the organizers of a Best Data Visualization Competition in recognition of World Statistics Day 2015.


WINNER - Denise Peaslee for her entry 'If the World Cannot Afford to Help 53 million refugees, what will it do when there are 192 million refugees?'.

Judges' comments: 'A comprehensive and effective dynamic multivariate representation of UNHCR data from 1951-2014. Denise’s visualisation makes good use of the facilities of Tableau Public and its interactivity to communicate the nature and scale of the refugee issue worldwide. As well as giving a clear view of the global picture, it allows one to drill down to some extent to see what is happening in individual countries.

About the winner: I am an independent consultant and owner of DP Consulting, LLC. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and graduated with departmental honors from the University of Kentucky. That combined with a concentration in finance and computer science disciplines has enabled me to focus my career on the implementation and design of financial systems, primarily investment trading and accounting systems. In August 2015, I enrolled in the Masters of Business Informatics program at Northern Kentucky University in an effort to broaden my skill set, reenergize my career and increase the offering I can make to my clients. Statistics and data analytics is an exciting and dynamic field. I have spent my career helping clients to design and implement complex database systems and am passionate about finding ways for them to derive meaning from the data and to make more effective data driven decisions. The tools available today (i.e., Tableau) make this type of analysis accessible to business users with varying levels of technical and statistical expertise. In a world of misinformation and soundbites, I am personally passionate about how data can be used for good to drive public and social policy. This allows non-statisticians to dig under the hood and understand complex data, hold their political leaders accountable to a higher standard of excellence and perhaps make more grounded decisions on the leaders they elect. I am very interested in how statistics and data analytics can be made accessible to the public to form a more knowledgeable and engaged electorate.

RUNNERS -UP - Deborah Brown and Iain Bryson for their entry 'Millennium Development Goals 2015'

Judges' comments'An innovative visualization using advanced technology and packs in a lot of information about the extent to which the Millennium Development Goals have been achieved. It presents the key data in appropriate and compelling ways, pointing out clearly what great achievements there have been and also how much remains to be done.'

About the runners-up: We choose the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report for a number of reasons. It is such an important project that directly affects the entire planet and everyone on it. We could not think of any statistics more appropriate on World Statistics Day than the MDM report. We each chose goals that surprised or intrigued us personally. We wanted to then get the goals, achievements and challenges into a format that people could relate to. So we decided that a video would be the best way to convey the detailed and often complex results contained within the 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report. It is common knowledge that people respond well to audio/visual methods of learning; indeed the technology to create and view videos is common place, cross platform, cross cultural and most importantly transnational. The video deals with the goals in a manner that we hope anyone can understand irrespective of their background, their level of understanding of statistics or indeed their own educational attainment. We attempted to relate the numbers involved to recognisable items (such as the population of a country). By pitching the video at 13 years olds this would allow a general understanding by anyone. We are both STEM ambassadors and go out to local secondary level schools to talk about the importance of maths and statistics and to encourage a greater uptake of STEM subjects. Being a STEM ambassador enables us to evaluate learning techniques in the classroom and from extensive research we have found that visual with a soundtrack captures imagination and generates discussion and debate more than any other medium. So that was our motivation behind the video.

About Deborah: (  Deborah is a statistician working in NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) for 20 years and has a wide knowledge of a number of different government departments. She has a degree in Transport Engineering and a doctorate in Expert Systems (IT). Deborah’s experience is in handling large datasets and her expertise lies in research. She was involved in the creation of NINIS which is a free to use repository for geographically referenced statistics []]. She is passionate about making statistics easy to understand and getting the statistical story out to as wide an audience as possible by using visual aids, such as video. Deborah is a keen lifelong learner and is always looking for new ways to exercise her mind. Professionally, she has set a target to learn R and Synthpop for Synthetic Data creation, and at home she has just finished an outdoor mosaic and is about to start a 20’ by 6’ mosaic on the garage wall.

About Iain: ( Iain is a Deputy Principal Statistician in the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). He has a master’s degree in applied psychology and spent a number of years working in social research. For the past 15 years Iain has worked in Central Survey Unit (a branch in NISRA) managing a number of large scale government and social research projects. His role encompasses all aspects of survey work, from sample design to questionnaire design, to data analysis and reporting. Iain has always had an interest in how people interpret information – in particular data and statistics and is always looking for new and innovate ways to get important messages across in a way that people can easily understand.

SPECIAL COMMENDATION - Ella Shepherd for her entry 'Literacy Around The World'

Judges' comments: 'An innovative representation of data combining physical elements and iconic data representation. This is so much more than just a histogram – the physical representation of the countries by books makes it much more compelling, and the clear link between the physical objects (books) and the quantity being represented (literacy rate) makes the picture stick in the memory.'

About our second runner-up: This visualization contest was a great opportunity for me to research a topic I was interested in and put it in a format that made it easier for other people to view and understand it. I loved reading, but knew almost nothing about literacy rates in different countries. I was really surprised at the difference in numbers of countries with 90-100% literacy and countries with 20-30% literacy, and my histogram helped me to explain my data to my parents and grandparents.

OUR FINALISTS (Please click on their name to view visualization)

Matthew Berry                                                                                                 

Edward Brown                                                            

Marie Carroll                                                               

Sophie Hennings and Aditi Pilani                           

Joseph Morphonios                                                              


Ben Pollitt                                                                              

Anusha Rayapati                                                        

Patrick Rhodes                                                          

Daniel Rothenstein                                                   

Gautam Roy                                                         


Zack Windham                                                                        

Joyce Zhong

The theme of World Statistics Day was official statistics. The data visualization needed to relate to international data provided by a national statistics office, such as the US Census Bureau or the UK's Office for National Statistics, across one or more of the 7 continents.

Entries were judged by a panel of esteemed members from statistical societies including the American Statistical Association, the Royal Statistical Society and the European Network of Industrial and Business Statistics.

The winning data visualization was announced on World Statistics Day (20th October 2015).

All you need to know about the competition Terms and conditions 


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Published features on are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.