Statistical sources: Online resources for education and social science librarians

Monique Andrews; Adis Beesting; Marija Freeland; Wendy Mann; Geoff Morse; Pam Werre

There are myriad statistical sources available on the Internet, however, it can be difficult to quickly locate the resources a researcher needs. To help make sense of this plethora of data, the EBSS Reference Sources and Services committee compiled a bibliography of online statistical resources in the subject areas of education, social work, gerontology, counseling psychology, and the general social sciences in January 2006. This bibliography became a wiki that is available at

Below are a selection of these core resources that will prove helpful to librarians assisting researchers in need of statistical data. Most resources are starting points and include specialized reports and tools. Numerous people have been involved in the compilation of these sources over the past several years, including Kate Silfen (who as chair of the committee instigated this project in 2006), Jim Jonas, Cheryl Ghosh, Scott Collard, Susan Ariew, and Adina Mulliken.


  • Eurydice: The Information Network on Education in Europe. An information network developed by the European Commission and member states, Eurydice gathers information and produces reports on education within Europe. This resource provides descriptions of individual countries’ education systems, data on education in Europe, and comparative studies of education in Europe. The user can browse publications by year of publication, title, topic, type, and language. Numerous statistical figures are included within the reports on this site. This site includes material in 11 languages. Access:

  • International Archive of Education Data (IAED). IAED, maintained by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan, provides data files from a wide variety of international sources, including national, state, provincial or local, and private organizations. Some of the features of this site include accompanying links to related literature when available and links to numerous other sites. Only member institutions of ICPSR have access to the data. The data is available as ASCII data files, for which users need to have access to a statistics package, like SPS or SPSS. Access:
  • National Education Association. Provides both current and projected statistics for public K–12 schools on a local, state, and national level in its annual “Rankings and Estimates: Rankings of the States and Estimates of School Statistics” report. Enrollment, attendance, salaries, per student outlay, and other statistics are provided at a state level. The “Status of the American Public School Teacher” report, published every five years, includes statistics about public school teachers in the United States including educational background, teaching experience, political leanings, etc. Access:
  • Open Doors Online. Produced by the Institute of International Education, the “Open Doors Report” contains data on both foreign students studying in the United States and U.S. students studying abroad. The “Open Doors Report” has been produced since 1948 and is available online dating back to 2001. Included are enrollment numbers, place of origin of International Students, Source of Funds for International Students, Visa Status, Sex, and Primary Function, Major Fields of Specialization, and Fields of Study by State among many others. The “Open Doors Report” also includes data on U.S. students studying abroad, including Leading Destinations, Leading Institutions by Duration of Study Abroad and Carnegie Type, and U.S. Study Abroad Student Profile. Access:
  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). A federal entity within the Department of Education, NCES is charged by Congress to collect, analyze, and report on statistics describing the condition of education in the United States and in other countries. Among the many useful resources, four compilations of statistics are available: The Condition of Education (current conditions and trends in education), The Digest of Education Statistics (often the best place to start a search for a statistic on American education), Indicators of School Crime and Safety, and Projections of Education Statistics (ten-year projections of education statistics). Specialized Demographics and School Populations resources included in NCES are described separately in this article. Access:

Demographics and school populations

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS is a primary resource for postsecondary education statistics. Data available include admissions, tuition rates, enrollment numbers, race/ethnicity of students, graduation rates, and amount of student financial aid. The Data Center provides detailed information on individual institutions and allows comparison between universities. The Tables Library section allows the user to view and download aggregated data on the state and national level. The Publications tab contains data products, reports, and working papers and is a rich source of demographic data for postsecondary education. Access:
  • School District Demographics System (SDDS). This user-friendly site provides detailed demographic data on school districts throughout the United States as compiled from Census data and the American Community data survey. Featured tools on this site are Snapshot Reports, Map Viewer, and School District Profile Comparisons. The Snapshot Reports are detailed reports for geographic areas with populations over 65,000 and include demographic data on school population, English language learners, IEP students, teachers, schools in the district, and high school graduates. Race, income, occupation, and employment data are included in the profiles as well as financial data for school districts including revenue and expenditures. The Map Viewer provides school district maps for states and individual school districts. The School District Profile Comparison tool allows users to compare school districts over a span of years. Access:
  • Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). SASS surveys personnel in public, private and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to track school trends on a national basis. Key demographic reports include data on the numbers of students, principals, school media centers, and teachers in public, private, and BIE elementary and secondary schools. Access:
  • State Education Data Profiles. Users may compare up to four states on key educational data, including demographics, finances, enrollment, public libraries, and postsecondary education. The state data profiles generated in the comparison include data on the number of schools, students, teachers, pupil/teacher ratio, revenues, expenditures, and National Assessment of Educational Progress scores. Access:
  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). Self-described as “the first stop for education data from around the world,” UIS is the premier place to locate international education statistics. The Data Centre includes country comparison tables and supports the functionality to create customized country tables. Key educational demographic data is included in the country tables and in many of the reports and publications available on this site. Access:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: School Enrollment. This site contains national school enrollment data as collected by the Census Bureau annually in the Current Population Survey (CPS). National school enrollment data includes statistics on school population, race/ethnicity, graduation rates, educational attainment, and college enrollment. Current and historical data are included. Access:


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental Health Work Group: Data and Statistics. Reports data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which can be used to build tables to review nationwide or state trends from 1993 to 2007; on health-related quality of life; and from the annually conducted National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which has data on mental health and psychological stress measures. Many of the data from these special reports are around ten years old. Access:
  • Compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, this site serves as a portal to an assortment of data on children and families reported by 22 different government agencies. “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being” is an annual online publication of the Forum. Users can view the full report or scan through its highlights. In addition to demographic statistics, data are available on topics such as emotional and behavioral difficulties, health care, family and social environment, and more. Access:
  • National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) FastStats: Mental Health. This easy-to-use Web site provides simple access to basic mental health statistics. The More Data section includes statistical surveys and publications like Depression in the United States Household Population; access to the mental health trend tables from Health, United States; and more. Data sets are available for downloading and searching. Access:

  • National Institutes for Mental Health: Statistics. This site is useful for the researcher who needs to perform a quick look up. Science News about Statistics features press releases that contain statistics on mental illness from government sources and periodical articles. Publications about Statistics highlights online publications on mental health statistics such as “The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America.” This site contains good summary information and fact sheets. Access:
  • SAMHDA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive. Hosted by the Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research (ICPSR), SAMHDA contains raw data-sets from SAMHSA, codebooks, survey instruments, and tutorials. Popular data sets are listed on the top page, and users can also search across SAMHDA and ICPSR data sets for more. Information on the SAMHDA site is publicly available, but some ICPSR data requires membership. If printed reports are needed, use SAMHSA’s OAS site, or most of the other resources mentioned in this section. Access:
  • SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information Center (NMHIC): Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS): Mental Health Statistics. Includes Mental Health United States for 2000–2004 and statistics on mental health services offered in the United States. Also available are output tables of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Uniform Reporting System, Characteristics of State Mental Health Agency Data Systems and Projections of National Expenditures for Mental Health Services and Substance Abuse Treatment, 2004–2014. Related Links takes you to a directory listing of mental health statistics from other programs and organizations. Access:
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Office of Applied Studies: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Statistics. SAMHSA collects and reports the majority of mental health statistics for the United States, and its Office of Applied Statistics site includes data on tobacco, alcohol, and drug use in addition to mental health statistics. Includes reports on the population suffering from psychological distress as well as data on mental health treatment. Short reports created from surveys, such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and complete access to data sets from the OAS Data Systems are included. Access:
  • World Health Organization (WHO): Mental Health Atlas. WHO collects and reports statistics on well-being, mental health and neurological disorders from around the world. Global and regional reports, country profiles, and data on mental health law, policy, mental health care professionals and resources by country are available. Availability of mental health disorder statistics will vary from country to country. The atlas provides information on where to get more detailed data for nations which collect mental health statistics. Access:


  • AARP Research Center. Surveys and Statistics includes the results from AARP’s own polls on aging topics and reports compiled from data from national and state agencies making the data available as briefs. Access:
  • Administration on Aging (AOA). Using federal statistical sources such as U.S. Bureau of the Census, the National Center on Health Statistics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, AOA compiles several “aging statistics.” Included are the Profile of Older Americans, Aging Integrated Database (AGID), Census Data and Population Estimates, Projected Future Growth of Older Population, Minority Aging, and Key Indicators of Well-Being. Access:

  • Aging Integrated Database (AGID). Provides tables and geographic characteristics that detail expenditures on services to older Americans as required by the Older Americans Act. Statistical information on caregivers, senior centers, abuse prevention, and more are available. Access:
  • Provided by a forum of federal agencies, this resource includes Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well Being, health care and health risks for older Americans data, and access to reports on Retirement Resources, focusing on economic resources of the U.S. population nearing age 65. Access:

Social work

  • Administration for Children and Families. An agency within the Department of Human Services, ACF includes policy and planning links to several statistical reports including statistics on adoption/foster care, Head Start programs, and child abuse. Access:
  • Sponsored by UNICEF, this site includes basic international statistics on issues such as HIV/AIDS, education levels, and infant mortality. UNICEF’s online publications “The State of the World’s Children” and “Progress for Children” are also available. Access:
  • Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). Provides reports, charts, studies, and more in the topic areas of child poverty, child health, and education. Much of the data retrieved is found in the online report from CDF, “The State of America’s Children.” Access:
  • National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect. Maintained by Cornell University, data archived on child welfare and maltreatment allows for secondary analysis. Nearly all data sets are free. Access:
  • National Juvenile Court Data Archive. Part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, data sets are provided for analysis and include the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement as well as online publications giving summaries through the Statistical Briefing Book. Access:
Copyright © 2010 Monique Andrews, Adis Beesting, Marija Freeland, Wendy Mann, Geoff Morse, Pam Werre

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