Four types of data resource we use most often
1 / Government agencies and NGOs
The UK’s Office for National Statistics shares data on all aspects of British life – a common first port of call for projects in Britain.
Equivalents elsewhere include the US Data.gov portal and the EU Open Data portal — you can find a full (and very exhaustive) list here. And NGOs and think-tanks like the Pew Research Center in the US host a variety of useful data.
2 / Tech companies platforms
3 / Global organisations
Taking a more global view, a variety of organisations with a stake in global development track and share useful indicators and demographics from around the world including the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank and, somewhat surprisingly the CIA.
To put a more human face to this kind of data, try Gapminder which specialises in bringing the lives of people around the world to life in visual ways with a heavy emphasis on ethnography and photography in things like their Dollar Street data set.
4 / Subscription-based statistics platforms
Finally, not a free platform but a very helpful one all the same is Statista which aggregates insights and facts across industries and countries and makes them available on a subscription basis.