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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!
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.
Census Data This link opens in a new window
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.
Statistical Abstract of the United States This link opens in a new window
Summarized statistics on the American population, economy, and political environments from 1879 to 2012.
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.
State & County Quick Facts
Quick basic demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau. Select a state from the US map to view a statistical overview and use the drop down boxes to narrow by county or city.
Statista This link opens in a new window
A statistics portal that integrates data on over 60,000 topics from over 18,000 sources. Categorized into 21 market sectors, this resource offers access to quantitative data on media, business, finance, politics, and a wide variety of other areas of interest or markets.
Consumer Behavior & Opinions
Consumer Expenditure Survey
Information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.
Pew Reports This link opens in a new window
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.
American Time Use Survey
The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, and socializing.