Sondre Ulvund Solstad


I am The Economist’s Senior Data Journalist. I write data-driven articles, as well as models, algorithms and simulations.

Since starting at the paper in February 2020, my journalistic work has been cited in over 100 academic publications, by BBC World News, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the New York Times, Wired, Foreign Policy, New York Magazine, Politico, Nature, The BMJ, National Geographic, New York Magazine, CNN, the UN, WHO, World Bank, in the annual lecture of the Royal Medical Society in the UK, and many others, and been made the subject of a documentary short by Vox.

For my work uncovering the pandemic true death toll, I won the inaugural Future of Media Awards in the fall of 2022. This work was also shortlisted for “Innovation of the Year” at the 2021 British Journalism Awards, and in 2022 received a commendation in the investigative journalism category at the annual awards of the Royal Statistical Society. My covid-19 estimator of death and hospitalisation risk based on age, sex and comorbidities, built in early 2021, has been used as the basis for several peer-reviewed academic studies, and was later validated as predictive by NYU Langone researchers.

At the 2022 Sigma Awards, highlighting the best data journalism worldwide, I was shortlisted for both best project and best portfolio, and in 2020 I was shortlisted for “Data Journalist of the Year” by the Society of Editors.

Upon invitation, I have given talks to the World Health Organisation, the United Nations General Secretary’s Office, the University of Illinois, the Pulitzer Center at Columbia University, Aftenposten, DataSkup and I have also, upon invitation, advised the World Health Organization and United Nations on how to best model the pandemic, and the United Nations on how to model political unrest.

Since September 2022, I have been an affiliate at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, which is dedicated to solving society’s greatest challenges through bold and collaborative social science.

My academic research centers on technology, innovation, and the role of money and other resources in political competition. But I am interested in almost everything: if you have and idea, analysis or data you think should be covered, let me know. I am especially interested in information which can inspire action.

I received my doctorate from Princeton University in 2019 for the dissertation “The Political Causes and Consequences of New Technology” (committee chair: Helen V. Milner). In this work, I considered the ways new technology change countries’ international relations, domestic politics, and economic fortunes. For this and other work, I was in 2018 and again in 2019 awarded the Fellowship of Woodrow Wilson Scholars, for outstanding research in the public interest among PhD students at Princeton University. As preceptor at the university, I assisted in instruction of Statistics, Bayesian Machine Learning (both PhD level), and International Relations (B.A.).

I studied International Relations (B.A.) at New York University, Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Mandarin Chinese at Peking University. In the Fall of 2013, I was the inaugural intern of GiveDirectly, a US-based non-profit. Prior to my studies, I served as a conscript in the North Brigade of the Norwegian Army.

In my spare time, I continue my academic research, and write opinion pieces for other publications.

In addition to understanding things, I enjoy jazz, watching pro MOBA and chess, coffee, reading philosophy, the detective show “Day and Night”, and travel.

I live in London, UK.

I can be reached at: