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Data and Statistics

Welcome to the Data & Statistics Guide

data and statistics white text on black background with blue and green geometric data visuals in the corners

This guide will help you find data and statistics by sharing useful tools for discovering this type of information.


  • Data is the raw information from which statistics are created.  
    • Data sets are often several sets of files. Usually, one file is the raw data, and one is the codebook that explains how to use the raw data.


  • Statistics provide an interpretation and summary of the data.  
    • Statistical analysis is done on raw data sets in order to create statistics.

Best Practices for Finding Data & Statistics

Advice for Finding Data and Statistics

  • Identify who would have collected the data.
    • Federal governments, state governments, local governments or agencies 
    • A nonprofit or community organization
    • Industry group or private business 
    • Academic researchers 


  • When looking for data, clearly define what data you need. Ask yourself questions about the type of data you are looking for.
    • Qualitative Data: Non-numerical data. 
      • Ex: eye color, socioeconomic status
    • Quantitative Data: Numerical data.
      • Ex: height, shoe size
    • Continuous Data: Continuous data can have an infinite number of values and therefore 0 is not meaningful. 
      • Ex: weight, height
    • Discrete Data: Discrete data has finite values and a meaningful 0. 
      • Ex: number of people living in a household
    • Time-Series: Studying the same variable over time; the instrument is the same but different people will be used.  
    • Longitudinal: Typically are surveys that are taken over time with the same people, but not always the same survey or instrument.

Best Bets for Data

Here are a few databases most likely to have datasets you can use.

Best Bets for Statistics


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