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Statistical Data and Information: Finding Statistics

Who Collects Statistics?

Statistics are published on the web and in print publications.  Publishers include the federal government, state governments, foreign governments, international agencies, private entities, and membership organizations.  Recording of statistics is sometimes mandated by law, but in other instances, it is entirely voluntary.  Even required government statistics often change over the years.  Statistics are not always published and raw data and data sets are not always accessible.  Finally, there may be hefty fees for some statistics!  

The best strategy for finding statistics is to identify the stakeholders (governments, companies, organizations) and do a thorough search of their publications and Internet pages.  The resources below are good places to start you statistical research.  

U.S. Government Agencies

Most statistics are published by national or state government agencies. This information is essential for government planning and policy making. You will find links to key government statistical sources in this guide. In addition, you may wish to explore these Research Guides:

Illinois Statistics

International Organizations

International organisations such as the United Nations (UN), regularly publish statistics on a number of topics such as health and economics for most countries of the world. Many countries, including Australia, contribute their statistics to international organisations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD).  Consulting the websites of these international organisations is very useful when you have to compare conditions in different countries.  Some of them are listed here:

Professional Organizations

Professional associations or organizations may also collect statistics.  For example, the American Library Association is a good source of data on libraries and library use.  Professional organizations have been formed for most every professtion.  Search the Internet for the names and links of particular professional organizations.

Special Interest Groups

Statistics can be collected by special interest groups and researchers. For example the American Heart Association pubishes statistics on heart disease and strokes.  The NRA (National Rifle Association) will provide you with statistics on gun use and ownership. 

Organisations and individuals can publish statistics in single reports, conference papers, journal articles or on their Web sites. A student may publish survey results in their thesis.


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