Locating Statistical Resources

"A pie chart showing the composition of the 38th Parliament of Canada." Borrowed from Wikimedia Commons.

Pie chart from Wikimedia Commons.

This is the third part in my series on locating historical, political science, and social science research resources.  Like the other two posts, “Locating Great History Resources” and “Locating Great Political Science Resources,” this post is based on a presentation I gave about a year and a half ago.  This list of resources is geared towards not only history and political science research, but also all of the social sciences: sociology, geography, psychology, anthropology, etc. The mentioned resources can also be used for humanities and the hard sciences as well, pending on what information is needed.  With the academic semester off to a new start, this is the perfect time to highlight these resources.

For those of you you may be in government and education, this list is still helpful.  You can learn information about your specific communities and those with demographics similar to yours.  This can then be taken into account when applying for grants and other external funding sources and for creating community-building projects.

All of these resources are freely available.

United States Resources:

  • American Community Survey:
    Screenshot of American FactFinder.

    Screenshot of American FactFinder.

    This is a survey of the American population that began in 2010 and is ongoing.  It replaced the older Census Long Form.

  • American Fact Finder: Provides estimates of housing, social, and economic characteristics for states, cities, counties, and metro areas within the United States each year. In areas with a population smaller than 65,00, the data is gathered every 2-5 years instead.  This is very comprehensive and available in both English and Spanish.
  • Census.Gov: The Census website provides data on demographics; disability; fertility and family; foreign trade; housing; foreign born; income; poverty; and other factors in the United States.
  • Current Population Survey: This is a monthly survey of 50,000 American households.  It covers data including employment, education, income, and more.
  • National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS): This website offers free US Census Bureau aggregate data from the 1790-present.
  • Statistical Abstracts of the United States: Following this link will take you to the website that offers a variety of 1900-2012 US statistical data ranging from population data to economic data and more. Data 2013 and after is instead offered within a subscription database provided by ProQuest.  Print copies were also created and most academic libraries offer both versions.  The older data is still great from a historical standpoint or to compare changes over time for any social science field.

World Resources:

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics: Australia’s version of Census.gov and Statistical Abstracts, but with more limited selections.

    Screenshot of American Fact Finder.

    Screenshot of American Fact Finder.

  • EuroStat: This is the European Union equivalent of Statistical Abstracts and Census.gov. Data had been collected and made available since 1953. The website’s information is available in English, French, and German.
  • Gov.UK Statistics: British statistical data focusing on areas of public policy.  It is divided between policy type and government department.
  • Statistics Canada: Canada’s equivalent of Statistical Abstracts and Census.gov. The site is available in both in English and French.
  • United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistical: This website is Britain’s equivalent of Census.gov and Statistical Abstracts all in one.
  • UN Data: This is the new search interface for United Nations data.  It replaces the list mentioned below to make finding information easier.  This database has data on topics including, but not limited to, education; crime; environment; health; industry; finance, population; trade; tourism; and many more.  Besides providing just data, many United Nations documents are also included in this database.  This interface to be offered in English only (unless it changes based on physical location/IP address).
  • United Nations Database List: This is the master List of all UN database interfaces.
    UN Data Screenshot.

    UN Data Screenshot.

    It is good when one wishes to locate information on one specific category only. These sites are available in multiple languages, pending site.  Most have at least English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese (the UN’s six main languages).

  • World Population: Offers historical and current country and global data on world populations.  This site, like several above, is also ran by the United States Census Bureau.

All of the above resources are broad and general.  There are other websites that offer more specific data.  My graduate university curated two great lists of these places to check.

  • Statistics- Federal GovernmentThis research guide points to places to check for United States data, including every census since 1790 and data specific to different US agencies.
  • Census Data There are many very specific websites created to highlight census data in the United States.  This lists categorizes the data by categories including: agriculture, housing, education, health, manufacturing, economics, business, government, and historical.  If you know exactly what you are looking for and it is no listed in this post, this research guide will lead you to the exact website you should check.

If you have another great resources to recommend, please do so in the comments below and I will see that it is added to the list.


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