Producers of Data

The more specialized your interest, and the more interested you are in obtaining the most recent data, the more likely it is that you will want to go to the producer of the data, whether that is an individual researcher, an academic institution, a governmental agency, or an international organization.

SURVEY RESEARCH PROJECTS: Many long-running survey research projects have their own websites (even some that also distribute data through the ICPSR). Examples include the American National Election Study (ANES), General Social Survey (GSS), National Longitudinal Survey (NLS), Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), World Values Survey, Eurobarometer Survey, European Social Survey (ESS), Afrobarometer Survey, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). Much closer to home, researchers can find more than 50 waves of data from the State of the State Survey (SOSS), which MSU’s Institute for Public Policy & Social Research has conducted since 1994.

In addition, the non-survey based Polity IV Project provides data on political regimes and transitions in the world. The Correlates of War (COW) Project compiles events data on interstate conflict since 1815.

FEDSTATS: A useful general starting point or portal if one is looking for official statistics and statistical agencies for the United States is FedStats.gov. Within the U.S government, many agencies distribute special series of statistics online. In addition to the U.S. Census Bureau, other U.S. federal agencies that provide extensive data series include the Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Statistics, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency’s (NOAA’s) National Climatic Data Center. This is far from an exhaustive list. And buried within it are some long series of data, including the U.S. Census, which has been conducted every ten years since 1790, and the National Health Interview Survey, which has been conducted for more than 50 years.

The U.S. Census Bureau also supports a number of specialized statistical databases on such varied topics as U.S. international trade, U.S. counties, and building permits. It also makes available online the data from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS).

NON-U.S. NATIONAL STATISTICAL AGENCIES: The national statistical offices in many other countries provide data online, as do some multi-country agencies such as Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

One can also obtain social and economic data from numerous countries through agencies such as the World Bank; International Monetary Fund; and the United Nations, including the United Nations Statistics Division, which reports data from UN programs, organizations, and agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), among others. The UN also produces statistical collections for its major world regional commissions, including Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Asia, and Asia and the Pacific.

Some international agencies distribute data from country-specific surveys on special topics, such as the Family and Fertility Surveys sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

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