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Government Documents: Statistics

Statistical Agencies

Although the U.S. government does not have a centralized statistical reporting agency, there are 13 principal statistical agencies and more than 100 other statistical programs of significant size among executive branch agencies of the U.S. government.* 

The 13 principal statistical agencies are listed here:

Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

The Bureau of Economic Analysis collects information on national and international trade, accounts, industry, and economic indicators. BEA maintains a section of its website titled “The U.S. Economy at a Glance,” which highlights their most influential economic indicators. Information from the BEA is available by region (state and municipality) and internationally.

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

As the United States’ principal source for criminal justice statistics, BJS collects and publishes statistics on all aspects of criminal justice in the United States at the state, federal, and tribal levels. Crimes by type (violent, property, identify theft, hate crime, etc.) or victim, corrections populations and facilities, and court systems are covered as well as noncriminal aspects of the justice system, including law enforcement personnel and behavior statistics.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Established in 1884, the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects information regarding the U.S. civilian labor force. Figures such as the unemployment rate, Consumer Price Index, Payroll Employment Rate, and Import and Export Price Indexes are all available from the BLS homepage. The BLS website contains more than 500 million individual data points. Raw statistical data is accompanied by publications such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Monthly Labor Review.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Organized under the Department of Transportation, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics collects information about all aspects of travel and transportation in and into the United States: personal travel, public transportation, and even freight. Data available covers air, land, and sea transportation and is available by region, mode of travel, and subject.

Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is most known for collecting information about the population of the United States. The Census Bureau is probably most known for the decennial census of population, but like the other principal statistical agencies the Census Bureau produces a much wider variety of information than just its most known titles. Though it has ceased publication at the Census Bureau, back issues of the Statistical Abstract of the United States are available online back to the 1870s. For more current information, the American Community Survey provides annual update information on the American population, and the American FactFinder provides access to the latest decennial census results. The Census Bureau website also provides the Economic Census, information about foreign and domestic trade, and the economy in the United States (the Census Bureau being part of the Commerce Department). Two good places to start investigating census data are the Quick Facts and Easy Stats pages.

Department of Homeland Security

Created in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security has absorbed many federal agencies over the last ten years and now provides information on a variety of topics related to the domestic security of the United States. Statistics on immigration to the United States (most notably the annual Yearbook of Immigration Statistics), statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and maritime information from the U.S. Coast Guard are all provided through DHS.

Economic Research Service (ERS)

The second principal statistical agency operated under the USDA, ERS, like the NASS, collects information on agriculture in the United States. However ERS collects data with an eye more toward the economics of agriculture and related fields. Food safety and prices, commodity markets, the rural economy, and agricultural income are covered among other topics.

Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, coal), nuclear power, and renewable resources make up the energy production portfolio of the United States, and the EIA keeps track of them all from extraction to consumption at the state and national level, as well as international indicators. In addition to sources of energy, EIA tracks energy usage, source stocks, and prices. EIA also provides information on side effects of energy use (emissions and waste) and offers access to industry reporting information.

National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS)

Like other principal statistical reporting agencies, the NASS provides information on every aspect of its area: agriculture. Information about the economics (prices, loans, etc), demographics, commodity stocks and yields, environmental concerns and impacts, land use, and education in agriculture is available in addition to statistics covering crops and livestock. NASS is also responsible for producing the Census of Agriculture every five years.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

The National Center for Education Statistics collects information about all aspects of education in the United States from ability and academic English to writing and youth indicators. Statistics are available at the district, municipality, state, and national level covering all ages from children to adult education. NCES has one of the most useful fast facts pages of any principal statistical agency (https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/).

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

NCHS, run by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hosts a large volume of information covering every aspect of health in the United States. More than just information about diseases is available: mortality and natality, exercise, marriage, injury, and access to health care are included. NCHS fast facts page (www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/) makes beginning research relatively straight forward. Additionally most NCHS and CDC web pages have access to an A to Z topic list at the top of the page. 

National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES)

NCSES provides access to statistical information about science and engineering in the United States. Like other principal statistical agencies, NCSES covers almost every aspect of a very wide topic: education in science and engineering, personnel characteristics, research and development programs, and funding and expenditures. Information is available covering private business and the federal government as well as international statistics.

Social Security Administration Office of Research Evaluation and Statistics (ORES)

The Social Security Administration’s ORES is probably the most focused of all the principal statistical agencies of the U.S. government, focusing almost solely on the topic of the U.S. Social Security programs. If you are looking for information about Social Security, ORES should be your first destination. 

Statistical Programs of the United States of America

Published by the Office of Management and Budget, Statistical Programs of the United States Government is an annual publication listing the 13 principal statistical agency programs of the United States and the nearly 100 smaller programs run as part of various federal agencies. Statistical Programs of the United States provides a topical listing of programs as well as a breakdown of programs by top level federal agencies. With more than 100 programs listed, if a principal statistical agency does not have the information you are looking for, chances are one of the more specialized programs listed here will. While not every federal agency is responsible for a principal statistical agency, just about every federal agency runs some manner of statistical program, and generally more than just one. These bureaus, programs, departments, and agencies generally focus on narrow topics related in some way to the agencies they are a part of.

Statistics of Income (SoI)

The Internal Revenue Service provides SoI related to all aspects of federal taxation in the United States. While the SoI is another agency that is fairly focused in the topic it covers, it does manage to provide information on just about every aspect of taxation. Statistics cover individual and business taxes by type and topic, statistics by tax form, information on income, IRS operations, and tax exemptions. 

World Health Organization Data and Statistics

Primary role is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations' sytem

 

Data Tools

Data tools from the Census Bureau and elsewhere:

  • American FactFinder
    Provides statistics from the Economic Census, the American Community Survey (ACS), and the 2010 Census, among others.
  • Census Explorer
    Make new discoveries about your neighborhood...
  • DATA.gov
    Data, tools, and resources to conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, design data visualizations, and more.
  • DataFerrett
    Create custom tables and data visualizatons, such as graphs and thematic maps.
  • Easy Stats
    Easy access to selected statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau through the American Community Survey (ACS).
  • Economic Indicators
    Provides economic information on gross domestic product, income, employment, production, business activity, prices, money, credit, security markets, Federal finance, and international statistics.
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
    An array of regional and national economic data and reports.
  • Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
    An array of economic data that can be easily loaded into an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Industry Snapshots
    Key statistics from the Economic Census with per capita ratios using data from Population Estimates for a selected industry.
  • My Congressional District
    Selected statistics about each Congressional district.
  • On the Map
    An online mapping & reporting application showing where workers are employed & where they live with companion reports on worker characteristics.
  • Quick Facts
    Provides frequently requested Census Bureau information at the national, state, county, and city level.
  • State Data Center
    The State Data Center (SDC) works in partnership with the Census Bureau to facilitate local access to and education on Census data and products. If you can't find the Census data you want, ask the SDC for help.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
    Published annually from 1878 - 2012, when it was cancelled, the Statistical Abstract offers a unique statistical portrait of the United States. Its publication has been continued by ProQuest.

Data Sources

Data Planet - Choose from an extensive repository of statistical data sources containing more than 90 billion data points from more than 70 source organizations.  Alternatively, use this interface to search for data by topic. Please note: if you plan to use Data-Planet on a Mac use Safari as your browser.

Direction of Trade Statistics - DOTS provides data on the value of merchandise exports and imports between each country and all its trading partners. The database includes: total bilateral and multilateral exports and imports aggregated at national or regional group level; data for the most recent six quarters and the latest year for 169 countries, and ten quarters and five years for the world and area tables.

ICPSR - ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) maintains a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.

Roper Center Polling Data - The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is one of the world's leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from surveys of public opinion. The data held by the Roper Center range from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present. Most of the data are from the United States, but over 50 nations are represented.

Trade Databases

  • Europa World Yearbook
    Select a country and view its profile and data, or select Comparative Statistics and compare countries. Normally lists data for the last 3 years.
  • IMF eLibrary DATA
    Select a country and a topic or data source. Import/export data available from 2004-present. Easy to export to Excel.
  • World Bank - World Integrated Trade Solutions (WITS)
    Select a country and view its profile and data, usually available from 1990s-present. Easy to export to Excel.
  • WTO Statistics Database
    Select the countries and view their trade profile. Easy to export to Excel.

Human Development Reports (UN)

The UN Human Development Reports (HDR) provides access to a library of reports and data, as well as country profiles and individual country reports.