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Good Starting Points for Statistics

This guide is intended to help users find basic numbers, data and statistics to support research in the humanities and social sciences.

Step 1 -- Identify the variables you need.
Before you can begin finding statistics, you need to know what you are looking for. Identify variables you will search for.
How many boys and girls were enrolled in each grade level from 1960 to 1999?
Variables: school enrollment ; sex; grade level ; date.
How many children are living with AIDS in Philadelphia?
Variables: AIDS ; age ; city
How many married women work fulltime now as compared to 1970?
Variables: marital status ; sex ; labor force participation (work) ; date
If you don't find any results with the first variable, try using a broader term. (for instance, diseases instead of cancer).
Step 2 -- Check the major statistical sources
Provided by Lexis-Nexis, Statistical Universe indexes statistical data published in federal, state, and selected privately published titles, at the table level. In some cases the fulltext of the document is also available. As with Statistical Abstracts, sources are listed for all tables, with more information available from the source.
Statistical Abstract of the United States
This publication is released every year, and brings together numbers and statistics from various U.S. government agencies. To use, look up the variables in the index and refer to the table numbers in the rest of the book. (In earlier years the numbers refer to page numbers.) Each table lists its source. Consult the source if you need additional information.
Location:Current Year Shelved at the Van Pelt Reference Desk.
Last 10 years shelved Van Pelt Reference Stacks HA 202.
Earlier years (back to 1878) at Van Pelt HA 202.
Link:Available online from 1995-2002 at Statistical Abstract --
The United States Census
The United States Census provides data about people and places in the United States. The Decennial Census has been taken every 10 years since 1790. The census includes social, economic, housing, immigration and migration, and other data for the United States.
Location: See the Guide to US Census Documents -
Step 3 -- For more information on...

United States Statistics

The United States Government produces statistics on many topics. Below are links to the Government Documents Research Guide with links to online sources provided by the U.S. Government on statistics by subject. Major Statistical Sites | Agriculture | Crime | Defense | Economics | Education | Environment | Health | Housing | Immigration | Population | Transportation | Weather

Business and Financial Statistics

A Guide to US Economic Statistics and other guides can be found by using the resources of the Lippincott Library. Try searching the Business FAQ.

International Statistics

Historical Statistics

Opinion Polls

Data Sets and Statistics in your area of interest

Try the E-Resource Locator to identify Data Sets and Statistical Sources by area of interest, or by title.In some cases, the use of data may require a familiarity with Statistical Analysis tools. If you are not comfortable with SAS or SPSS, please ask a librarian for help. Data can also be found by exploring the Quantitative and Geospatial Data Location. Many research guides also include information on finding statistics.
Step 4 -- Consult a librarian

Reference Librarians are available to help you find the information you need. Please do not hesitate to contact a librarian for more assistance finding the sources you need.