History: Statistics

Historical Statistics of the United States

The Historical Statistics of the United States is the premier source for historical statistical information about the U.S.  While it began as a government publication, it now is produced by an academic consortium and published by Cambridge University Press online and in print.

Find Statistical Publications

To find statistical publications about any place--country, city, region--follow these instructions.

1.  Go to the Advanced Keyword Screen below this box.  Turn the first two search windows to Subject by clicking on the dropdown arrow to the right of Any Field.

2,  Enter Statistics in the first search window.

3.  Enter the name of the place in the second search window.

4.  Click on Submit.

MARQCAT Advanced Keyword Search

Please fill in the form, select limits, and click Search

Statistical Abstract of the United States

The Statistical Abstract of the United States has been published annually since 1878.  Each annual volume is an extraordinarily rich source for a variety of statistics about all aspects of American life.  It also functions as a bibliography of statistical publications; just look at the sources for its tables.  Marquette Libraries has the annual volume in print since 1926.  Beginning in 2013 the volume is available through ProQuest.

OECD Library

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), an international non-governmental organization that studies and helps to formulate economic and social policy.  It is particularly strong on Europe.

United States Census

The United States Census has been published since 1790. Finding the volumes for a particular census year can be problematical, given changing titles and various names for the agencies producing the census.  In our library it is most convenient to do a Subject search in MarqCat using this formula: united states census 1850.  Pick the year you want. 

The census holdings of the Milwaukee Public Library, Central Adult Division, are more extensive than ours.  The population statistics by state and county are available online through the Historical Census Browser, and the Bureau of the Census publishes statistics from the late 20th century to the present.

Bibliographies of Census Publications by Henry J. Dubester, Hero of Census Researchers

Henry J. Dubester has published bibliographies of census publications that are indispensable to researchers.  He guides you not only through each census but also through the many specialized publications by the Census Bureau that utilize census information.  He will also introduce you to censuses by American states and European governments.

Federal Agencies that Produce Statistics

These agencies regularly publish statistics as part of their normal operations.  Although they may emphasize statistics about current trends, their publications also typically have historical import. 

This information was taken from Jeffrey Hartsell-Gundy, "Finding Government Statistics on the Internet: A Compendium of Major Sources," College & Research Libraries News 75:3 (March 2014): 148-52.

More Reference Books about Government Statistics

Databases for Country Data

    The databases below offer country profiles that are regularly updated, mostly annually.  In addition, there are country profiles from various vendors in several of our article databases.  Below this box there are links to some of these reports (organized by vendor name), and where useful and possible, a couple of RSS feeds that show some of the latest reports in those databases.