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Finding Statistics: Government

The what and why of statistics

Statistics can help provide concrete examples of a larger trend, give the basis for an important chart or graph, or make theoretical arguments tangible.

There are two main branches of statistics:

  • Descriptive--concerns the numerical or quantitative data alone, and can help draw conclusions about a sample, rather than a population.
  • Inferential--concerns the conclusions drawn about an entire population which are infered through the results of a random sampling of a population

Be aware of bias in statistics! Numbers can be manipulated, and charts and graphs can be arranged to give a certain impression. Always double-check your facts!

Governmental Statistics

Government

If you're looking for data about the US government, these are the best places to start.

  • FedStats 
    Provides easy access to both state and federal agencies that produce statistics. Allows you to search by agency or subject area.
  • White House Federal Government Statistics 
    Official White House site organized into themed "briefing rooms" that will link you to other official resources.
  • American FactFinder
    Provides popular statistics and frequently asked questions about local communities.
  • US Census
    Provides a multitude of information about the United States at both a micro and macro level.
  • Data.gov
    A part of the Open Government Initiative. Provides open access to governmental datasets for the United States.
  • USA.gov
    Provides micro and macro data about the United States.