UCB Libraries

How Do I... Find Data and Statistics?

  • Getting
  • Data/Statistics
    By Subject
  • Data versus
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This guide links up with the major statistical sources. On this first tab you will find some of the most popular general sources for statistics and datasets. Additional databases and guides are provided on the second tab, along with a discussion of the difference between data and statistics.

+ Tips for Finding data
  1. Who else is interested in your data?
    If you are having trouble finding data that you are looking for think about who else might be interested in this information. For example, imagine you want information on the average weekly earnings of Boulder residents working in private industry. The United States Department of Labor may be interested in this information and if you go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (part of the Department of Labor), you will find the State and Metro Area Employment, Hours and Earnings.
  2. Is the data I want too recent?
    While information is released faster and faster, statistics still take a while to compile. This means that for the majority of resources, data from the current year or even last year may not be available when you want them. For example, the US Department of Justice's Uniform Crime Reports (the number of crimes committed) routinely takes almost 2 years to be released.
  3. Have you checked for the data in non-internet sources?
    More and more data is available online every day, but for some areas the data may still only be available in another format, such as a CD or book. One of the major databases for finding these sources is Statistical Insight. This database contains many of the tables it indexes, but we have copies of all the materials in hard copy (print or microfiche) in the Government Information Library.
  4. Ask for help
    If you still are having trouble, contact the Library by email or phone (303-492-7521) for assistance.

Top Statistical Sources

Data Planet
Local, national, and international statistics.  Quick and Datasets interfaces. CU

Statistical Insight
Important source for local, national, and international reports containing statistics. CU

Statistical Abstract of the United States
Quick access to overview statistics on a variety of topics for the United States. CU

Social Explorer
Source for Census data 1790 to the present and religion data from 1990 to the present. CU

American Factfinder
Current data collected on the population and economy of the United States. 

Comparative data by country from the United Nations and affiliate organizations on many topics.

World Bank Data
Comparative data by country for population, economy and other topics. 
Top Dataset Sources

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
ICPSR is a collection of social sciences data sets, covering politics, society, and much more.

This is the best source for datasets from the US government.

National Map
You can download the national map data sets here, providing comprehensive mapping of the United States.

Education Data Analysis Tool (EDAT)
EDAT allows you to download the datasets from the National Center for Education Statistics.

There are numerous research data repositories available on the web, Databib provides a catalog of these repositories to enable easier discovery.

Dataverse Network
Dataverse is a web application working to share, cite and preserve research data.

What is the difference between Data and Statistics?

People often use the terms data and statistics interchangeably. However, researchers realize there is an important distinction between data and statistics.  Put in the reverse, statistics provide an interpretation and/or summary of data.

Data is the raw information from which statistics are created.  Raw data is the direct result of research that was conducted as part of a study or survey. It is a primary source. Data can be analyzed and interpreted using statistical procedures to answer the questions “why” or “how.” Data is used to create new information and knowledge. Data usually comes in the form of a digital dataset or machine-readable file that can be analyzed using software such as Excel, SPSS, SAS, and so on.

A dataset may look like this:
Example: Raw Data



Statistics are the results of data analysis.  Statistics can be reported as numbers or percentages and often come in the form of a summary table or chart.  Statistics will answer the questions “how much” or “how many” so they are what you look for when you need a quick number.

Statistics may look like this:
Example: Statistics

Thanks to the MSU libraries for the inspiration for this tab, learn more on their guide.

Need data management assistance?
Check out Research Data Services.


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