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WHERE TO START
There are several places to look for statistics and data, and a good place to start is with the federal government's many publications and websites. Our government counts and measures many things as it regulates and monitors business, education, health care, the environment, and so on.
These sources provide good examples of the kinds of information you can get from government sources:
Statistical Abstract of the United States [http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS2878]
provides an overview of the many statistics gathered by the government. Statistics from other sources may also be included. Tables typically include a footnote stating where to get more complete information. The Statistical Abstract is available on the Web; the print edition is available in the reference areas of the Gorgas Library and the Bruno Business Library.
FedStats [http://www.fedstats.gov] is a website that helps you locate statistics gathered by over a hundred federal agencies.
CenStats [ http://censtats.census.gov/] introduces a collection of databases developed by the United States Census Bureau [http://www.census.gov]; also visit the Census Bureau's home page to find other information.
FRED II (Federal Reserve Economic Data) provides almost 3000 economic time series.
Need statistics for other countries? WDI Online is a collection of data gathered by the World Bank that gives economic and social data for hundreds of countries. You can also try locating the website of a country's central government to see what data they collect and publish.
ORGANIZATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS
Many organizations and associations gather statistics in their area of interest and publish it on their websites or in magazines and newspapers.
For example, suppose you would like to know in what city people spend the most money on eating out. The National Restaurant Association website [http://www.restaurant.org] says, "Households in Houston allocated the largest proportion of their total food budget to food away from home (50.4 percent).
Find an association for you area of interest by using the Associations Unlimited [http://libdata.lib.ua.edu:2048/login?url=http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/tusc49521?db=AU] database, and click on the link to their website. Look for sections in the site with names like statistics, facts & figures, or research.
Finally, search for your subject in one of our databases of articles from magazines and newspapers. Combine your search term with the word statistics, e.g., "restaurants and statistics," or look for ways the database provides to limit your search to articles that contain statistics.
These are just a few suggestions about how to find statistics and data. Your reference librarian may be able to suggest other ideas, depending on the subject and type of data you need.