Research Support Services
Subject Specialist Librarian
This guide lists key social science data sources.
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.
Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the world’s largest archive of digital social science data. ICPSR acquires, preserves, and distributes original research data. This site links to training and curricular material, and a database which provides access to publications based on ICPSR data holdings.
Related: Database of publications based on ICPSR data holdings
More information on ICPSR and other social science data are available from the Social Science Data Service
The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) consists of sixty high-precision samples of the American population drawn from fifteen federal censuses, from the American Community Surveys of 2000-2011, and from the Puerto Rican Community Surveys of 2005-2011. The IPUMS assigns uniform codes across all the samples and brings relevant documentation into a coherent form to facilitate analysis of social and economic change.
The General Social Survey contains a standard ‘core’ of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have remain unchanged since 1972 to facilitate time-trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings. It has tracked the opinions of Americans over the last four decades. The 1972-2006 GSS has 5,084 variables, time-trends for 1,643 variables, and 269 trends having 20+ data points.The GSS is part of the National Data Program for the Sciences at the University of Chicago.
The Henry A. Murray Research Archive is Harvard’s endowed repository for quantitative and qualitative research data at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science. Our collection comprises over 100 terabytes of data, audio, and video. We provide long-term preservation of all types of data of interest to the research community, including numerical, video, audio, interview notes, and other data.
The Harvard Dataverse Network, housed at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard, hosts the world’s largest collection of social science research.
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.
Annual statistical compendia from the Census Bureau through 2012. Continued by the commercially published (Proquest) Statistical Abstract of the U.S. Census has the Statistical Abstract in pdf online back to 1878.
ProQuest Statistical Insight combines Index and abstract records previously available from print indexes: American Statistics Index (ASI) from 1973, and Index to International Statistics (IIS)from 1980. ProQuest Statistical Insight enables searching indexes and tables for statistics produced by the U.S. government and major international organizations. The database includes some statistical tables as well as abstracts, or summaries, of statistical publications. The Library has many of the publications indexed in print or electronic format.
Data from more than 100 different government and non-government sources. Collection of more than 6,000 current and historical data series on on high-interest research topics dating back more than 20 years. Discover, view, and export key information measures for State Stats and Local Stats. Topics including: Agriculture, Crime and Law Enforcement, Defense, Economy,Education, Education and Culture, Employment and Labor, Geography, Government Finances: Federal, Government Finances: State And Local, Health, Households And Housing, Immigration, Population, Population And Politics, Religion, Social Welfare, and Transportation.
PolicyMap is a fully web-based online data and mapping application that gives you access to over 15,000 indicators related to demographics, housing, crime, mortgages, health, jobs and more. Data is available at all common geographies (address, block group, census tract, zip code, county, city, state, MSA) as well as unique geographies like school districts and political boundaries. Data comes from both public and proprietary sources
The United States Census Bureau is responsible for the Census of Population and Housing. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data. As part of the United States Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau serves as a leading source of data about America’s people and economy.
Billed as “the world’s largest bibliographic database on population, family planning, and related health issues. POPLINE provides citations with abstracts for over 275,000 records representing published and unpublished literature in the field.” Maintained by the Population Information Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health and is funded primarily by the United States Agency for International Development.
China Data Online is the primary data source for China studies. It includes (1) China Statistical Databases; and (2) China Census Databases; It provides easy access to the various statistical yearbooks published by the National Bureau of Statistics of China, comprehensive statistics, and Census data of economy and population at national, provincial, city, county, and even township levels.
“Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.”
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, etc. More than 200 databases covering all 50 states are included.
This resource aggregates the statistical abstracts of more than 50 countries and makes the content available through a single-search interface. These statistical abstracts are generally issued by the national statistical offices of foreign governments and contain country-level data not easily found elsewhere.
Also includes data from the United Nations Demographic Yearbook, World Development Indicators, and Key Figures on Europe.
IPUMS-International is an effort to inventory, preserve, harmonize, and disseminate census microdata from around the world. The project has collected the world’s largest archive of publicly available census samples. The data are coded and documented consistently across countries and over time to facillitate comparative research. IPUMS-International makes these data available to qualified researchers free of charge through a web dissemination system.
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.
re3data.org is a global registry of research data repositories that covers research data repositories from different academic disciplines. It presents repositories for the permanent storage and access of data sets to researchers, funding bodies, publishers and scholarly institutions. re3data.org promotes a culture of sharing, increased access and better visibility of research data. The registry went live in autumn 2012 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).