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Learning to find and use statistics can be tough. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
National and even regional statistics on things like demographics are often going to be old. The census is only taken once every ten years, and smaller surveys may appear every three or five years. You'll find the most recent statistics in articles.
Statistics are typically gathered from government sources, from companies like news agencies, or by academic researchers. Keep in mind who is garthering statistics and why when you consider using them. What biases might be involved?
Many statistic sites will allow you to download tables and then manipulate them using software like excel. This can make it easy to find percentages and do other math. Can't figure out how? Ask a librarian!
One of the best ways to get general information about a topic is to find a news article on it! Use the following resources to find newspaper and magazine articles on a variety of subjects. For specific tips about each resource, click the button.
Full text for regional U.S. newspapers, international newspapers, newswires, and newspaper columns.
Provides full text for 185 national (U.S.) and international newspapers, including Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Times (London), Toronto Star, etc. The database also contains selective full text for 392 regional (U.S.) newspapers. In addition, full-text television & radio news transcripts are provided from CBS News, CNN, CNN International, FOX News, NPR, etc.
PDF file indexing 1970 – Spring 1992; 2000; Fall 2002 – Spring 2007. The printed index covering 19191969
is shelved in Reference.
In addition to these resources, keep in mind that you can often find statistics on more specific topics in academic articles and other studies, as well as in news articles and online.
Tip: If you find a reference to useful statistics or studies in a news article or on a webpage, look for a source, then see if you can track down the original numbers. Try googling the study name or the department responsible for the study. It is always better to use the original, primary source.
Website from the US Census Bureau which allows for easier access to data from the census and American Community Surveys, 2000-present. Locate aggregated statistical information on people, housing, and businesses.
Created by the University of Michigan, allows you to view demographic trends based on 2000 Census data. The site uses colorful maps and charts to depict nationwide and state based statistical information.
Annual data on criminal victimization. populations under correctional supervision, federal criminal offenders and case processing, as well as periodic data on other aspects of crime and justice, provided by the Office of Justice.