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Social Science Data Resources: United States

by David Michalski – November 13, 2017

This guide is a starting point for finding commonly requested data series on the U.S.  primarily from government agencies and commercial resources.

David Michalski

Researcher Services
Researcher Services Librarian

michalski@ucdavis.edu

916-392-2189

In this Guide:

Data.gov provides public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. Data.gov has descriptions of the Federal datasets (metadata), information about how to access the datasets, and tools that leverage government datasets. The data catalogs will continue to grow as datasets are added. Federal, Executive Branch data are included in the first version of Data.gov.

Tags: Government

FedStats is a gateway to statistics from over 100 United States Federal government agencies. Link directly to statistical data from agencies, for example, the Census Bureau, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Access statistics by topics or subjects like crime, education, etc. Search across Federal government agencies using words or phrases to find agencies with statistics. Data sets vary by agency and format.

Historical Statistics of the United States (HSUS) is the long-awaited 4th edition of the landmark government reference tool, last published in 1975. This expanded digital edition (available also as a five-volume print edition) updates and expands the original tables and introduces dozens of new topics. HSUS was culled from more than 1,000 sources to produce nearly 2,000 tables containing some 37,000 time series covering virtually every quantifiable dimension of American history: agriculture, population, the economy, government, welfare and work. Some data from the 1975 edition have been extensively revised, and data determined to be unreliable or inaccurate have not been included. Each series is fully documented and placed in historical context by a scholar in the field. Tables can be downloaded and viewed, as well as graphed and merged into custom tables.

The 5-volume print edition of Historical Statistics of the United States is available in Shields Library Gov Info Reference and H/SS Reference (HA202 .H57) and the Agricultural and Resource Economics Library (HA202 .H57 2006)

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.

U.S. Political Stats contains over 225,000 data series–or data measures over time about people, places, and policies–across 10 distinct political science data categories, aligned with a typical political science curriculum. The data series span as far back as 1982, and are updated on a timely basis in accordance with the collection and publication schedules of original sources. Detailed source information, with links where applicable, is provided for every data series.

Database decommissioned
Coverage: Data sets are current and include 2000 Census and some 1990 Census data and American Community Survey data.
Tags: Census, Economics, Social Science, United States Of America
Related links: American FactFinder: How do I find all the Census Tracts in a Place?

This site allows users to examine, manipulate and map data from the U.S. Censuses from 1790-1960. It is a powerful and easy-to-use resource produced by the Geospatial and Statistical Data Center at the University of Virginia Library.

Historical Statistics of the United States (HSUS) is the long-awaited 4th edition of the landmark government reference tool, last published in 1975. This expanded digital edition (available also as a five-volume print edition) updates and expands the original tables and introduces dozens of new topics. HSUS was culled from more than 1,000 sources to produce nearly 2,000 tables containing some 37,000 time series covering virtually every quantifiable dimension of American history: agriculture, population, the economy, government, welfare and work. Some data from the 1975 edition have been extensively revised, and data determined to be unreliable or inaccurate have not been included. Each series is fully documented and placed in historical context by a scholar in the field. Tables can be downloaded and viewed, as well as graphed and merged into custom tables.

The 5-volume print edition of Historical Statistics of the United States is available in Shields Library Gov Info Reference and H/SS Reference (HA202 .H57) and the Agricultural and Resource Economics Library (HA202 .H57 2006)

Neighborhood Change Database (NCDB) gives users instant access to US Census data from 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010 at the census tract level. The All years normalized to 2010 selection allows you to compare data for various years. The data for years 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 are recalculated and normalized, and the report uses the 2010 tract ID (FIPS code). This allows you to compare data for various years within the exact same boundary definitions. By selecting “All years normalized to 2010” you can do actual apples-to-apples comparisons of historic data in 2010 tract definitions.

Coverage: 1970-2010
Tags: Census, Government

The National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) is a project to create and freely disseminate a database incorporating all available aggregate census information for the United States between 1790 and 2000. Census Tract Shapefiles are available for select areas for the 1940 – 1990 census.The NHGIS consists of three major components: 1)Collect and enrich historical and contemporary U.S. Census summary data; 2)Incorporate these data into a Geographic Information Systems framework; 3) Create a web-based system for access to both census data and the metadata. Free access, but requires you to register and login to use.

Coverage: United States; 1790 - 2011
Tags: Census, Geography, History, Medicine

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.

USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service “Quick Stats” statistics database. Select U.S., state, or county data for crops, livestock and other agricultural commodities. Query database by geographic area, search by commodity, or view data in charts or maps. Data sets include Census of Agriculture.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, an agency withing the U.S. Department of Commerce produces economic statistics about major functions of the U.S. economy. National Income and Product accounts, GDP, personal income and outlays, and regional economic indicators are the major data sets produced by BEA.

Provides access to statistics for a variety of U.S. Department of Justice reports and documents as well as some international statistics on crime and criminal justice. Link to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports and download data series. Includes surveys of DNA Crime Laboratories.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data access point. Labor statistics include prices, inflation, employment, consumer price indices data and tables.

Tags: Economics

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wonder provides a single pont of access to a wide variety of reports and numeric public health data. Drill down by topic, browse a-z list, or search by keyword to find statistics and data.

Scanned images of historical economic statistical publications, releases, and documents. A project of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Related: For additional more current economic time series data. see FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data).

Tags: Economics

Official energy statistics from the U.S. government. The EIA, within the Department of Energy, provides data on all energy resources and related topics – petroleum, natural gas, electricity, coal, nuclear, renewable and alternative fuels. EIA also compiles information on international energy resources, provides forecasts and analyses, state and U.S. historical data, energy uses, greenhouse gases, and more energy-related data. Gasoline and diesel fuel prices are tracked weekly.

Statistical data from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, profiles on legal permanent residents, and on naturalized citizens, mapping information available in pdf as well as downloadable data formats. Statistics include numbers of immigratants, status, country of origin, etc. Data available from 2000, with archived information from the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics back to 1996.

A website for transportation researchers and analysts, aimed at providing a broad collection of intermodal transportation data collected by various agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation or by other federal agencies.

Uniform Crime Reports is the FBI site providing Crime in the U.S. annual statistical reports,and additional reports including Hate Crime Statistics; Terrorism Statistics, and more data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System.

Related: Bureau of Justice Statistics releases statistical reports on corrections, courts and criminal justice. They also publish special topical reports.

Tags: Crime, Government

Access current and cumulative U.S. export and import data for over 9,000 export commodities and 17,000 import commodities. USA Trade Online provides trade statistics using the Harmonized System (HS) up to the 10-digit level and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) commodity classification codes up to the 6-digit level. Data for many series goes back to 1992.

Search the USDA Nutrient Database and other data sets on food composition prepared by USDA-ARS’s Nutrient Data Laboratory.

Access current and cumulative U.S. export and import data for over 9,000 export commodities and 17,000 import commodities. USA Trade Online provides trade statistics using the Harmonized System (HS) up to the 10-digit level and the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) commodity classification codes up to the 6-digit level. Data for many series goes back to 1992.