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Social Statistics and Data

Do You Need Numbers or Data Sets?

When searching for statistics, this is one of the first questions you should answer. Do you need some numbers to cite in your paper? Or do you need a data set which you plan to analyze with statistical or database software?

The sources listed on this first page are geared toward "looking up numbers" types of questions. If you need a data set, you may want to skip past these to the more detailed sources on other pages. Of course there's no hard and fast line between these two categories. The numbers you need may only be found by querying a large database. And even the simplest groupings of numbers can be put into a spreadsheeet to do further calculations and produce tables or charts which may enhance your data presentation.

Statistical Compilations: the First Place to Look for Numbers

In these tabs are some of the major statistical summaries and compilations that cover general social and economic data. For most simple statistical questions, these compilations will contain the numbers you need. They're also good sources to use to get an idea of the kinds of statistics available.

Hint: In addition to presenting statistics, most of these sources will also tell you where the numbers came from. This can be extremely useful. If the compilation has the types of data you need but you need more detail, you can go back to the original source which may include what you need.

Most nations publish an annual statistical compilation similar to the US Statistical Abstract, as do most state and provincial governments. Titles vary, but are usually something like "statistical abstract," "statistical yearbook," or "statistical handbook" (or equivalent titles in the local language). To find these in the Library (including links to any online editions), search the UCLA Library Catalog for "[name] statistics periodicals" as "Subject List (start of)." Some examples:


Statistics Specialists

For in-depth assistance in finding and using statistical data, UCLA researchers can contact the following specialists who are available by appointment: