This guide is meant to provide you with a list of possible resources as you start searching for statistics. It doesn't cover all topics or list all possible statistical sources for topics. For some subjects like health, our book collection offers additional resources. If you are trying to brainstorm where to find statistics or work them into your paper, feel free to visit us in the LBCC library!
|In this guide find information on:||In this guide find statistics on:|
- Statistical Abstract of the United States
For the years 1878-2012, the Statistical Abstract of the United States provides a summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. After 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau no longer produced the Statistical Abstract and ceased putting it online, but ProQuest has a published version. Ask at our reference and information desk for the latest year's Statistical Abstract, REF HA 202.P76 2017.
Type in a zip code to see demographic info from the US Census (age, sex, ethnicity, race, income, household structure, etc.).
Datasets from the federal government for health and safety, agriculture, maritime and ocean, education, climate, energy, finance, consumer, ecosystems, local government, manufacturing, and science and research.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Foster care statistics
These resources provide State and national data on the number of children in the child welfare system, trends in foster care caseloads, and well-being outcomes. Learn about sources of data and statistics on children and families in the child welfare system and considerations for understanding the limitations and potential use of the available data.
- KIDS COUNT Data Center
A project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT provides data on child and family well-being in the United States. Access hundreds of indicators, download data and create reports and graphics. Data comes from national resources, as well as from more than 50 KIDS COUNT state organizations that provide state and local data. The Oregon chapter is Children First for Oregon.
Provides access to the report "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being." The America's Children series makes federal data on children and families available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format in order to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public. The indicators span seven domains: Family and Social Environment, Economic Circumstances, Health Care, Physical Environment and Safety, Behavior, Education, and Health. The Data Sources page provides links to data tools from other agencies.
- ChildTrends DataBank
Provides data and reports on over 120 indicators of children's well-being.
- National Center for Education Statistics
The NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education. It offers a variety of surveys and annual publications. A good place to start is Fast Facts, that offers quick data on education issues.
- FBI Uniform Crime Reporting
These data are collected by the FBI from over 18,000 city, university/college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies. Note that participation is voluntary, so not all agencies report their data to the FBI. If a crime isn't reported to the police, it will not appear in these statistics, so also keep in mind that some crimes are less likely to be reported to law enforcement than are others. The UCR Data Tool is located under General Resources. Also under General Resources is a pdf about proper use of UCR statistics.
- Anti-Violence Project: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and HIV-affected hate violence reports
Statistics compiled by 15 organizations throughout the United States that serve victims of anti-LGBT violence.
- U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics
Information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.
- Oregon State Police: Annual Uniform Crime Reports
Annual crime reports in Oregon going back to 1995. Includes information and data on different types of committed crimes, arrests, law enforcement officers injured or killed, law enforcement officer employment, and domestic violence and bias reporting.
- Criminal Justice Facts
Provided by The Sentencing Project, get basic facts on the U. S. criminal justice system, as well as state-by-state data.
- National Center for Health Statistics
Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NCHS offers reports, statistics, and data on a wide range of health topics. A good place to start is FastStats, which offers statistics by health topic.
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
The AHRQ is a federal agency providing information on the safety and quality of health care services in America, including health care costs. Under the Data tab, start on their "Data Sources Available from AHRQ" page.
- Global Health Observatory
GHO is the World Health Organization's portal for statistics for more than 1000 indicators for its 194 member states. They also offer reports and information on global health research and development activities.
- Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Search for social media fact sheet for a helpful report about social media usage patterns.
- Multnomah County Point-In-Time Reports (homelessness)
The Point-in-Time reports are snapshots of homeless families and individuals in Portland, Gresham, and Multnomah County, developed from data taken over one night.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. It collects, analyzes, and disseminates essential economic information.
- Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)
Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) are produced for school districts, counties, and states. These estimates combine data from administrative records, postcensal population estimates, and the decennial census with direct estimates from the American Community Survey to provide consistent and reliable single-year estimates.
- Data for Local Communities
A gathering place for links to statistical, spatial, and descriptive information about the cities, counties and other civil, economic and natural regions of Oregon and Washington. The LocalData database lets you retrieve web-based information by topic and geography, while Additional Resources provides links to geospatial data and other organizational websites.
- Oregon Data
Provides access to data collected and stored by Oregon state and local agencies.
- Oregon Explorer
Oregon Explorer is a natural resources digital library that integrates and provides access to data from state and federal agencies, local governments, university scientists and citizens to support informed decisions and actions by people concerned with natural resources, environment, and communities in Oregon. For those interested data on communities, try the Communities Reporter tool. From the CRT you can access over 600 demographic, social, economic, and environmental indicators about all of the towns, villages, cities, and counties in Oregon. The CRT links all of these communities to data gathered at the place, census tract, and county levels by over 30 agencies and institutions.
- Oregon Employment Division
Provides information about Oregon's state and local labor markets. Look here for information on employment and wages in Oregon.
- Population Research Center
The mission of PRC is to provide population data, information, research, and analysis for Oregon and its communities. A good resource for demographic data.
- Oregon State Agency Databases
A list of publicly searchable databases produced by agencies of the state of Oregon.
Statistics can add to your paper by providing background and support for your argument, or may lead you to new conclusions about your topic. In order to find relevant statistics, there are several factors to consider that will help narrow down where and how you search:
- Time: Do you need historical or current information, and are you looking at a single point in time or changes over time? Current statistics may be harder to find because it can take a while for the data to be analyzed and released in a statistical format.
- Geography: What boundaries define the group you are looking at? This includes things like political boundaries or other areas like school districts or watersheds.
- Population: Who is the focus of your topic? Consider factors such as age, race and/or ethnicity, and education.
Think about who may be interested in collecting data and publishing statistics relevant to this topic. Would that be a governmental organization, non-profit, industry publication, charity, or other group? For example, if you want statistics on coffee and the economy in the U.S., you can look at the National Coffee Association website and read their "Economic Impact" fact page.
Statistics are misleading if they lead to a false conclusion. There are many ways statistics may be misleading, but they fall into three broad categories:
- inadequate or unrepresentative data
- visualization of results is misleading, such as a bad chart or graph
- inadequate reasoning based on results
For more information, see the chapter on Misuse, Misinterpretation, and Bias in the Statistical Analysis Handbook by Smith.
Avoid misusing statistics by understanding the methodology used to create them. Many of the resources listed in this guide provide documentation on methodology, which describes how the data was collected, compiled, analyzed, and the limitations of findings. If you pull the statistic from a report, the report will often have the methodology section towards the beginning. Once you understand methodology, you can better place the statistic in context.
When using statistics in your writing, use them sparingly and make sure they are relevant to your topic. Describe why the the statistics are significant and what conclusions you have drawn from them.
For more information on reading statistics and using them in writing, read this handout from the UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center.