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A country-based time-series set of cement consumption data in graphical format

For the preparation of a recent article on the relationship between cement consumption and GDP, on a per capita basis, CEMENT CONSUMPTION vs GDP PER CAPITA we have collected a large enough set of data, which we are now providing to the interested public in graphical format.

The data covers more than 180 countries, and in some cases it goes back to 1900.

While it is a large enough sample, it is not exhaustive, and neither all countries nor all periods are equally covered. The sources include more than 110 technical documents of diverse types, whose quality is also actually uneven.

Despite these limitations we think it provides a representative enough view at national level, and it allows cross-country comparisons. We plan to update it as we gather more information, and the reader is welcome to provide additional input,

The set of data is presented by country, and for each country there are four charts showing:

  • · The evolution of population vs time (from 1950)
  • · The evolution of GDP vs time (from 1950)
  • · The evolution of cement consumption vs time (from 1900)
  • · The relationship between cement consumption and GDP.

(The starting year refers to the older available information for each dataset; unfortunately we do not have such depth of data for all countries).

Some remarks on the data, for a better understanding of the charts:

  • · In the time span covered by this database there have been a number of changes in the international status of countries, mainly the de-colonization and the fall of the Soviet world. This creates some continuity and separation issues, which we have not aimed at solving in detail.
  • · A considerable effort has been devoted to spot data errors, and we believe that the larger ones have been cleared. If the charts show what may seem an outlier, it is likely that we have already double checked and confirmed that the source indicated that figure. In some few cases we have removed data which we thought was clearly wrong, but otherwise we present the information as provided by the sources. However, the database may still contain errors, and we appreciate the reader’s feedback.
  • · We have selected what we think are reliable sources of information, but not even this is free from difficulties:
    • - Population data is from the UN WPP (World Population Program), and we have only used this source.
    • - GDP (always per capita) is presented in two flavours: GDP at constant 2010 USD, and GDP-PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) at constant 2011 USD. The sources for the GDP-PPP are the IMF’s WEO (World Economic Outlook) and the World Bank’ WDI (World Development Indicators); for the conventional GDP we have used the WDI and the UN’s GDP estimates.

We have shown these sets of data along time with bluish colour for the GDP-PPP, and reddish for the conventional GDP, and the reader can spot the considerable differences that occasionally arise among the sources.

For easiness, we have used the average of each group for the comparison with cement consumption. Also for easiness, and because of the longer time-series, we have only presented the cement consumption vs GDP for the conventional GDP (not the GDP-PPP).

Cement consumption has been collected from more than 110 technical sources, either as already a per capita figure, or as a tonnage/year data which has been converted with the country population mentioned above. Some ten sources cover approx. 50% of the data and thus provide the backbone of the database, while the rest of sources provide additional insight for certain countries or periods of time.

The core of the data is (apparent) consumption, not production. However, in some cases the sources do not make it clear whether they refer to consumption or production, and the comparison of data helps to spot the difference.

  • Data whose scope if explicitly production is represented as dark-grey dots, while the other sources are presented in different hues of red, brown and yellow.
  • The reader will easily notice that the consumption data is rather blurry, and this is not only due to the difference between production and consumption, but probably intrinsic to the difficulties of measuring actual cement consumption at a country scale.
  • The obvious consequence is that if measurements of GDP and cement consumption have such uncertainties as clearly shown in the charts, then the actual insight that can be derived from cross-country comparisons should be carefully evaluated.