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A number of government agencies, research institutes, and universities make their data available to the public on-line. This page is designed to expose you to the available avenues for accessing on-line data for economic research and social science research more broadly.
Searching for Data on a Specific Topic
If you Google your topic with the term "statistics" or "data," Google is unlikely to produce results that offer you good data. However, within your results, you may find articles that cite original data sets from institutions like universities, research centers, government agencies, or non-partisan think tanks.
To increase your odds of finding useful citations, try searching for your topic and "statistics" or "data" using Google Scholar and Google News. In your results, take note of which institutions collect the data that interest you. Find those institutions on-line via Google and explore the data pages of their websites.
Key Economic Data Sets
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, timely, accurate, and relevant.
FRED Economic Research
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Download, graph, and track 672,000 US and international time series from 89 sources
International Financial Statistics
Query International Financial Statistics from the IMF by country, topic, or data source. View charts in your browser and download raw data. Note: This is the open version -- limited data available without subscription.
Visualize economic opportunity in the United States through an interactive map
The World Bank provides free and open access to a comprehensive set of data about development in countries around the globe, together with other datasets cited in the data catalog. Broader access to these data allow policymakers and advocacy groups to make better-informed decisions and measure improvements more accurately. They are also valuable tools to support research by journalists, academia and others, broadening understanding of global issues.
Explore Data Visualization
Journalists and social commentators are increasingly using infographs and data visualization to express trends, relationships, and to make sense of the abundance of available data. Infographics are familiar visual representations and illustrations of single variables measured across time or location. Data visualizations often express more complex relationships within larger data sets. Some of the best data visualizations allow users to interact with the visualization in order to ask their own questions of the data.
The list of links below directs you to some of the best infographs and data visualizations on the web. Explore these to generate ideas for your research.