Hans Rosling is a professor of global health at Swedens Karolinska Institute. He has one of the most amazing presentations on the TED conference video list. He analyzes global health data, but uses a tool to adds the dimension of time which illuminates trends and relationships that are harder to grasp as static charts. He also cautions against lumping regions together, and shows that each region embodies a whole range of conditions.
What’s more you can play around with the tool he presents, called Gapminder. Pretty cool stuff.