Databases of the week: mining the government statistical universe!

November 22, 2019
Mr. James R. (Librarian) Jacobs
US Statistics and Data

The US government produces a LOT of statistics in the course of its daily work. There are 13 official "federal statistical agencies" that provide essential statistical information for use by governments, businesses, researchers, and the public:

And agencies from NASA to EPA to Interior have public data portals and also provide their data within the federal data portal.

But today I'd like to highlight a few of our 131(!) subscription statistical databases that aggregate data from many government agencies at the federal, state, local, and international levels. These databases are invaluable in finding, using, extracting, and visualizing data and statistics. So check them out!


  • Proquest Statistical Abstract: Published since 1878, the Statistical Abstract of the United States is the google of US Federal statistics. You may not find every data point needed, but the StatAb includes valuable citations to discern which agency produces what data and should therefore be the first place to look for federal statistics. We have the StatAb in paper form in the Jonsson Social Sciences Reading Room Atrium (near the public book scanner!) but it's also available online via Proquest back to 1878.


  • Data Planet : Provides access to statistical information produced by U.S. Federal agencies, States, private organizations, and major intergovernmental organizations. Data Planet datasets can be visualized as various charts and maps and both data and visualizations include permanent URLS/DOIs and can be exported. A great tool for adding some bling to a research paper or presentation.


  • Enigma : Enigma pulls together a broad collection of public data from the environment to business and economics, demographics to immigration and energy. Data can be exported as a csv, access the data via API or save the dataset to your account in a personal collection. All data is free for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons licensing.


  • Proquest Statistical Insight : Provides statistical data from U.S. government publications from 1973, state and private sources from 1980, and international organizations from 1983. Insight is particularly handy because it indexes the historical microfiche statistical collections IIS, AIS and SRI.


  • Statista : Provides access to statistics and studies gathered by market researchers, trade organizations, scientific publications, and government sources on over 600 industries, 80,000 topics from more than 22,500 sources and 50+ countries. statistics reports outlooks and tools. And if you're searching online for statistics, statista results will show up in Google’s featured snippets.  


  • Historical Statistics of the United States : Long the standard source for quantitative indicators of American history, this database provides a comprehensive compendium of statistics from over 1,000 sources, recording every aspect of the history of the United States. Users will be able to graph individual tables or to combine data from different tables into 'custom tables' and to download tables for use in spreadsheets and other applications.