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Research Statistics

How and where to find statistics on a variety of topics.


Statistics can help provide concrete examples of a larger trend, give the basis for an important chart or graph, or make theoretical arguments tangible.

There are two main branches of statistics:

  • Descriptive--concerns the numerical or quantitative data alone, and can help draw conclusions about a sample, rather than a population.
  • Inferential--concerns the conclusions drawn about an entire population which are inferred through the results of a random sampling of a population

Be aware of bias in statistics. Numbers can be manipulated, and charts and graphs can be arranged to give a certain impression. Always double-check your facts!

University of Illinois Library LIbGuide


Decorative images: various statistics and charts.

Image Credit: Pixabay

1. Think about who might collect the data.

  • Could it have been collected by a government agency?
  • A nonprofit/nongovernmental organization?
  • A private business or industry group?
  • Academic researchers?

2. Look for publications that cite the dataset

  • e.g. scholarly articles or government reports.

3. Once you know that what you want exists, it's time to hunt it down.

  • Is it freely available on the web? Check Google—you never know!
  • Or part of a package to which the library already subscribes?
  • Is it something we can buy? (And is it within the library's budget and can the purchase be made quickly enough to fit your timeframe?)
  • Can it be requested directly from the researcher? There’s a reason articles usually include author contact information.

USC San Diego Library LibGuide: Finding Data & Statistics

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*Explore the CultureGrams database or other library databases.


eBooks + Books

*Explore all eBook collections or find print books/materials by exploring the catalog for each library campus: 



Suggested Websites

United States Bureau of Economic Analysis

Promotes a better understanding of the U.S. economy by providing the most timely, relevant, and accurate economic accounts data in an objective and cost-effective manner.

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Measures labor market activity, working conditions, price changes, and productivity in the U.S. economy to support public and private decision making.

United States Bureau of Transportation

Browse databases, surveys, reports and other statistical products created by BTS.  Use BTS tools and apps to build your own statistical tables, graphics and maps. 

United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service

The primary source of economic information and research in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

World Trade Organization Statistics

The latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services.



Crime Data Explorer (UCR)

The dynamic solution to presenting crime data in a more immediate venue that reflects the constant change in the nation’s crime circumstance.

Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR)

A nationwide, cooperative, statistical effort of more than 17,000 city, county, and state law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting data on crimes brought to their attention.

United States Bureau of Justice Statistics

Collects, analyzes, publishes, and disseminates information on crime, criminal offenders, crime victims, and criminal justice operations.

USA Facts: Crime & Justice

Dig into this data for a picture of American security and the criminal justice system, including federal district court cases and metrics on jails and prisons.

Child & Family Data Archive

The place to discover, access, and analyze data on young children, their families and communities, and the programs that serve them. 

IPUMS Higher Education

IPUMS Higher Ed disseminates data from the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT), the leading surveys for studying the science and engineering (STEM) workforce in the United States. Data from the National Surveys of College Graduates (NSCG), Recent College Graduates (NSRCG) and Doctorate Recipients (SDR) are integrated from 1993 to the present.

National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES)

The statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education. We are independent and non-partisan. Our mission is to provide scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

National Center for Educational Statistics/Fast Facts

Provides scientific evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and to share this information in formats that are useful and accessible to educators, parents, policymakers, researchers, and the public.

The Nation's Report Card

The largest ongoing assessment of what U.S. students know and can do.

United States Census Bureau/Education

The Census Bureau provides information on a variety of educational topics, from educational attainment and school enrollment, to school costs and financing. We collect information from individuals regarding their school experiences, and directly from schools or the government agencies that help manage them. The Census Bureau is also helping educate the public about our census and survey programs, and providing materials to educators who teach statistics.

United States Department of Education/Data & Statistics

The primary functions of the Department of Education are to establish policy for, administer and coordinate most federal assistance to education, collect data on US schools, and to enforce federal educational laws regarding privacy and civil rights.

National Centers for Environmental Information 

Responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation's treasure of geophysical data and information.

Natural Resources Conservation Service

NRCS collects and shares information on the nation's soil, water, air, plants, animals, and insects.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Official energy statistics from the  U.S. Government..

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Provides statistics and facts about a variety of environmental issues.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Provides data pertaining to the management of fish wildlife and natural habitats including protecting endangered species.

United States Geological Survey

We provide science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods; the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on; the health of our ecosystems and environment; and the impacts of climate and land-use change. Our scientists develop new methods and tools to supply timely, relevant, and useful information about the Earth and its processes.



Provides public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The site is a repository for federal, state, local, and tribal government information.


 A social network for data. People who sign up can search for, copy, analyze, and download data sets.

Google Dataset Search

A search engine for datasets. Using a simple keyword search, users can discover datasets hosted in thousands of repositories across the Web.


Collects, preserves and harmonizes U.S. census microdata and provides easy access to this data with enhanced documentation.

Kids Count Data Center

 A premier source of data on children and families


Statista provides access to statistics and studies gathered by market researchers, trade organizations, scientific publications, and government sources on over 600 industries.

U.S. Census Bureau

The nation’s leading provider of quality data about its people and economy.

U.S. Census Bureau/Facts for Features

Collections of statistics from the Census Bureau's demographic and economic subject areas pertaining to holidays, anniversaries, observances or topics in the news.

Find data about the U.S., such as demographic and economic data, population, and maps. 

American Cancer Society: Facts and Statistics

Current cancer incidence, mortality and survival statistics; Information on cancer symptoms, risk factors, early detection, and treatment. 

CDC: Data & Statistics

Data and statistical resources related various diseases and conditions.

Kaiser Family State Health Facts

Provides free, up-to-date, and easy-to-use health data for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States. 

Medline Plus: Health Statistics

Statistics about various diseases, conditions, and wellness issues.

National Institute of Mental Health

Includes statistics on the prevalence, treatment, and costs of mental illness for the population of the United States.

World Health Organization Statistics

Health statistics include both empirical data and estimates related to health issues around the world such as mortality, morbidity, risk factors, health service coverage, and health systems.

CIA World Factbook

Provides a two- to three-page summary of the demographics, geography, communications, government,  economy, and military of each of 267 international entities including U.S.-recognized countries, dependencies, and other areas in the world.


Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union situated in Luxembourg. Its provides economic and demographic statistics for Europe.

IPUMS International

Dedicated to collecting and distributing census microdata from around the world. 

KNOEMA World Data Atlas

World and regional statistics, national data, maps, rankings.


Delivers statistical facts about every country in the world. For example, you can look up population data, crime rate, agriculture, economics, and more. 

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

 Includes data and metadata under many themes for OECD countries.

UK Data Service

The largest collection of UK and international social, economic and population data.

United Nations Statistics Division

A number of U.N. statistical databases can be accessed for free on this site. Often data can be downloaded. Free sources include data from the Demographic Yearbook System, Joint Oil Data Inititiative, Millennium Indicators Database, National Accounts Main Aggregates Database, Social Indicators, population databases, and more. Note additional links to statistical information in the left margin.

World Bank Data Catalog

Development data, climate change data, GDP data, World Bank finance data, and more.

World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, and the United States. Offers a wide range of statistical, graphical, and analytical information related to environmental, social and economic trends.

World Trade Statistical Review 2020

The latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services.


Nebraska Bluebook

Nebraska's official reference manual, with information about the state's government, geography, economy, history and culture. 

Nebraska Department of Economic Development: Economic Data & Research

Data, economic trends, research reports, statistics, profiles and demographics…you can find them all here.

Nebraska Department of Education

A one-stop location for Nebraska education data.

Nebraska Department of Revenue: Tax Research

Spreadsheets and compilations of statistics generated by the Department.


Free access to a variety of Nebraska geospatial datasets

U.S. Census Bureau/Quick Facts: Nebraska

QuickFacts provides statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more.



Welcome to Crash Course Statistics! In this series we're going to take a look at the important role statistics play in our everyday lives, because statistics are everywhere! Statistics help us better understand the world and make decisions from what you'll wear tomorrow to government policy. But in the wrong hands, statistics can be used to misinform. So we're going to try to do two things in this series. Help show you the usefulness of statistics, but also help you become a more informed consumer of statistics. From probabilities, paradoxes, and p-values there's a lot to cover in this series, and there will be some math, but we promise only when it's most important. But first, we should talk about what statistics actually are, and what we can do with them. Statistics are tools, but they can't give us all the answers.