Finding Social Science Data for Research : Multi-Topic
U.S. Census Bureau
Things to know about the Census Bureau:
1) Makes its data available for free; its data is not covered by copyright.
- Census Bureau data are often the foundation of other, for-fee data products as well as third-party apps
- Census Bureau products are not supposed to compete with the private sector
2) Dependent on Congress for funding
- In the past, Congress has cut and/or not increased funding for the Census Bureau, putting Census publications and data collection in jeopardy.
3) Collects information for the federal government, to help with government work
- Not collected or published for scholarly or business needs
- With the Census of Population and Housing, for example, Congress gets to approve each item on survey; the items must be tied to a government program.
- Uses government definitions for race/ethnicity and government geographic units.
4) Collects more that just demographic and housing data.
- Click "Browse by Topic" in the top left of the Census Bureau home page.
5) Conducts a census of population and housing every 10 years, but conducts other surveys as well each year. many of which are at the national level.
How to extract data from Census.gov:
1) Click "Data" at the top of a Census Bureau page.
2) Click "Data Tools and Apps"
3) Click "Data Tools and Apps Main"
- Some things that the Census Bureau calls "data retrieval tools" are really tools to retrieve statistics.
For more information, see the UW- Madison Libraries Research Guide: U.S. Census of Population and Housing Basics
ICPSR Thematic Data Collections
These thematic data collections, which focus on specific topics, have been created by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research in collaboration with various funding entities to promote data discovery and use. Topics include: Aging, Arts & Culture, Race, Health/Mental Health, Civic Engagement, and many more.