Government Information: U.S. Census and Related Statistics

by David Michalski – December 14, 2021

The purpose of this guide it to point researchers to the American Community Survey (ACS) and the U.S. decennial, economic, and agriculture census publications. In addition, this guide will point researchers to key census data and related statistical products and tools available online.

Also listed in this guide are census and related statistical resources that focus on the state of California.

Should you have questions or need suggestions on where to start your research you can email the UC Davis Library researcher services librarians at

David Michalski

Researcher Services
Researcher Services Librarian

In this Guide:

U.S. Census Poster (GPO, c1940). From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collections

Social Explorer

Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information (1790-2010+). The interface lets users create maps and reports to illustrate, analyze, and understand demography and social change. Datasets include the U.S. Census, American Community Survey,  FBI Uniformed Crime Report, American election results, Religious Congregation Membership Study, and more. Social Explorer is a paid subscription and can be easier to use than the free American FactFinder version (see below).

Data.Census.Gov is the new platform to access data and digital content from the U.S. Census Bureau. The vision for data dissemination through is to improve the customer experience by making data available from one centralized place so that data users spend less time searching for data content and more time using it.  For guidance on using, please see our Resources page at


ICPSR – Census Data 

ICPSR archives and disseminates census data acquired from the United States Census Bureau as well as files prepared by ICPSR and other principal investigators. Both microdata and aggregate data constitute ICPSR’s census holdings. The microdata comprise individual responses to census questions while the aggregate data contain tabulations of the individual responses at various aggregate levels of observation such as states, counties, places, and census tracts.

U.S. Census Fast Facts 

Fast Facts provides a portrait of the United States both statistically and culturally every every ten years 1790- 2010.

Statistical Abstract of the United States

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a one-volume, comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Use the Abstract as a convenient volume for statistical reference, and as a guide to sources of more information both in print and on the Web. The government-published Statistical Abstract of the U.S. was discontinued following publication of the 2012 edition. Great for historical census statistics.

Historic 1878-2012 via the U.S. Census Bureau

Historical Statistics of the United States Colonial Times- 1970 A two-part compendium which includes more than 12,500 time series providing a statistical history of U.S. social, economic, political, & geographic development.

Statistical Abstract of the United States via Proquest 2013-


U.S. Census Bureau’s Business and Industry Homepage

Economic Census 

  • Currently conducted every five years (2002, 2007, 2012, etc.) for every industry.
  • Statistics for U.S., states, metro areas, counties, and cities.
  • Historical- see comparing historical economic census data for helpful information
  • Industry Statistics Portal – This application provides access to the Census Bureau programs that provide economic data for a user-selected industry.

Commodity Flow Survey(CFS) from U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Transportation

CFS produces data on the movement of goods in the United States. It provides information on commodities shipped, their value, weight, and mode of transportation, as well as the origin and destination of shipments of commodities from manufacturing, mining, wholesale, and selected retail and services establishments.

Annual Survey of Manufacturers from the U.S. Census Bureau

The Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) provides sample estimates of statistics for all manufacturing establishments with one or more paid employee.

Historical: For an overview of the manufactures censuses in the 1800s, see Reference Information Paper No. 50, “The Censuses of Manufactures: 1810-1890.”

E-Commerce Statistics (E-Stats)  from the U.S. Census Bureau

This statistics are devoted exclusively to “Measuring the Electronic Economy.” This site features recent and upcoming releases, information on methodology, data (1998-), and background papers.

Also related to the Economic Census are the Bureau of Labor Statistics– see its page on Databases, Tables and Calculators by Subject 

Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.

Farmers! Uncle Sam asks you to get ready for the census taker. Artist: Jerome Rozen. Publisher: U. S. Commerce Department, Bureau of the Census. Poster from the George C. Marshall Foundation Library Poster Collection.

The Census of Agriculture is taken once every five years and includes statistics on land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures. Note: Census of Agriculture is under the purview of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and conducted by the National Agriculture Statistics Service not the U.S. Census.

Census of Agriculture Historical Archive  (1840-2012)

Census of Agriculture- California (1840-2012) 

Examples of Special Topics:

Census of Aquaculture (2005 & 2013)- provides a comprehensive picture of the aquaculture sector at the state and national levels. The aquaculture census collects detailed information relating to production volume and methods, surface water acres and sources, sales, point of first sale outlets, and aquaculture distributed for restoration, conservation, enhancement or recreational purposes.

Aquaculture in the U.S. : A Historical Survey by Robert R. Stickney (1996). This book provides background information on the aquaculture industry.

Organic Survey (2008 & 2014)

Irrigation Survey (2003, 2008, 2013)

National Agriculture Statistics Service(NASS) – The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducts hundreds of surveys every year and prepares reports covering virtually every aspect of U.S. agriculture. Production and supplies of food and fiber, prices paid and received by farmers, farm labor and wages, farm finances, chemical use, and changes in the demographics of U.S. producers are only a few examples.

Quick Stats Database is the most comprehensive tool for accessing agricultural data published by NASS. It allows you to customize your query by commodity, location, or time period.

NASS publications – Discover  NASS publications from this site.

NASS California– Specific NASS publications that focus on California

State Capitol at Sacramento, Cal. (between 1900-20s)

The California Social Science Data guide is a good starting point for finding commonly requested data series from California government agencies and related resources. Listed in this guide are key sources such as the following:

California Open Data Portal: Includes links to numeric and geographic data covering a variety of topics including demography, health statistics, state contracts, traffic records. Statistics and data sets are available from state

Rand State Statistics: California: Rand State Statistics (also known as Rand California) focuses on California and U.S. state level statistics. Various subjects are covered – population & demographics, health & health care, employment, criminal justice, etc.

State of California, Department of Finance Reports: The Department of Finance prepares reports on matters that have a fiscal impact on California — from the demographic make-up of the people of California; to short and long-term financial plans for infrastructure improvements; to financial audits and performance reviews of state agencies, programs, and projects.

For statistics and data related to California agriculture try these sources:

National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), California Specific NASS publications that focus on California

California Agricultural Production Statistics from the California Department of Food and Agriculture

California Agricultural Exports from UC Agricultural Issues Center (1995-2014)

For California Health and Wellness Statistics:

See the Health Statistics Guide- California Section

For California Criminal Justice Statistics:

California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) Reports and Statistics

Publications of the Criminal Justice Statistics Center (CJSC): California crime statistics and reports on topics such as hate crime, drug arrests, and domestic violence.

Bureau of the Census catalog of publications, 1790-1972 by H. Dubester & Library of Congress. (1974). A helpful resource to find historical U.S. Bureau Census publications and reports.

200 years of U.S. census taking : population and housing questions, 17901990 by F. Bohme & United States, Bureau of the Census.(1989). This publication provides the questions appearing on the census questionnaires for each of the decennial censuses with additional background information.

Measuring America : the decennial censuses from 1790 to 2000 by J. Gauthier & United States, Census Bureau (2002).  Provides the questionnaires and instructions, individual histories of the U.S. decennial censuses, census cost, sampling, publicity, availability of population schedules, and more.

Negro population 1790-1915 by J. Cummings & J. Hill and United States, Bureau of the Census  (1918).

Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-born Population of the United States, 1850 to 2000 by C. Gibson, K. Jung, & United States,Bureau of the Census (2006). Also see Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born Population of the United States: 1850-2000 for links to data tables and reports.