DIY Research: Sources for Statistics

Whether you are writing a research paper or trying to better understand the news headlines, you may find yourself looking for statistical information on the internet. Not to be confused with “data,” statistics are the analysis and interpretation of numerical data. Whether you are looking for data and statistics, it is important to keep in mind that that context is important when looking at information defined in numerical terms.

magnifying glass showing the word research

The federal government has a great deal of statistical information. Depending on what kind of information you are looking for, here are a few sources to consider: 

Census information, accessed through data.census.gov, includes not only the demographic information collected in the 10 –year census, but also economic and social data collected in the yearly American Communities Survey. Small businesses can get census data tailored to support their research and planning through Census Business Builder. Use QuickFacts to find information about your local community. 

Health statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control can be found through the National Center for Health Statistics. Straightforward numbers on popular health topics are readily found through the Fast Stats feature. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is the source for key employment numbers (Employment, wages, union membership, productivity) and also other economic numbers, including the Consumer Price Index. Find statistics by searching by geographic area or by subject

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a print reference available in the library at the Research Desk. Featuring over a thousand tables and charts from a variety of government sources, along with sources for even more detailed data, the Statistical Abstract is a helpful first stop for statistical information, especially if you are unsure where to start looking. 

Some websites compile publicly available data from government and private sources, both domestic and international, and present the information in readily available formats: 

Our World in Data 

USAFacts.org 

City-data.com 

With questions about accessing any of these resources, or for help in finding more sources for statistical information, please contact the Research Desk to request a reference appointment.