The U.S. government collects and distributes massive amounts of data to operate its programs. However, academics, the business community, the news media, politicians, and social activists (among many others) also use the information to promote their own interests.
So What's the Problem? The government gathers so much data it is often difficult to locate what it is you really want. This guide is an introduction to just some of the many places to look.
Places to Look
The Starting Points
- USA.gov: If in doubt, start here!
- Federal Agency Index.
- Federal Register. The daily record of government activity.
- FedStats. Collects statistics from a variety of federal agencies and organizes them by topic, geography, agency, and more.
- Regulations.gov. Portal for proposed and final regulations.
- THOMAS. Trace a bill through Congress.
Business and Economics
- Business.gov. "The official business link to the U.S. Government."
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. Includes the Monthly Labor Review, Regional Economic Patterns in the United States, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Occupational Outlook Handbook, and Career Guide to Industries.
- Business and Industry (U.S. Census Bureau). Statistical analyses of business sectors. government spending, and foreign trade.
- Economic Indicators. Timely access to key economic indicators from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the US Census Bureau provide critical data to those in the business, finance and policy decision making areas.
- Federal Reserve Economic Data. Fed Reserve data on interest rates, GDP, exchange rates, and many more. ALFRED provides Federal Reserve historical economic data back to 1927.
- Small Business Administration.
- Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool. Number of incidents reported at colleges and universities across the nation.
- FBI's Resources for Researchers.
- Federal Prisons, Inmates, and Sex Offender Lists.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy.
- Top Ten Most Wanted.
- Uniform Crime Reports.
- ElectionGuide. Provides election results and overviews of the electoral systems for the world.
- Washington Post US Congress Votes Database.Documents every vote and member of the House and Senate since 1991. Data is pulled from several sources, including the House clerk, the U.S. Senate and the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress. For the 112th Congress, users can analyze members and votes by various metrics, including caucus affiliations, 2010 margin of victory, and members endorsed by Tea Party Express or Freedom Works during the 2010 campaign.
- CenStats. Census databases. County business patterns, international trade data, building permits statistics, census tract street locator, annual survey of manufacturing, occupational statistics, and ZIP code business patterns.
- National Center for Health Statistics.
- Historic Census Browser. Dating back to the first US Census (1790) all the way to 1960, allows you to view organized data on a wealth of census topics
- Minnesota Population Center Data (IPUMS). Harmonized data of US and international censuses from the 1960s to the present.
- Social Explorer (Free Edition). Use the Maps and Reports tabs to access the free mapping tools.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States. Collates statistical information on very broad categories from the US census dating back to 1878.
Science and Technology
- National Agricultural Library Digital Repository.
- National Atlas. Government maps of all kinds
- National Climactic Data Center.
- National Technical Information Service.
- Science.gov. Science information provided by U.S. government agencies, including research and development results.
- Transportation Research Information Services.