I always thought statistics were boring, until I started working on the Central library Reference Desk and learned how often people need statistical information. Our patrons request statistics for such varied reasons as backing up business plans for small business loans, assessing community needs for grant applications, and protesting environmental racism in specific Kalamazoo neighborhoods.
Some of the helpful resources I’ve discovered include the:
Statistical Abstract of the United States, published annually and detailing nationwide statistics on a wide variety of topics, such as “Out-of-pocket Net prices of Attendance for Undergraduates,” “Number of emergency and transitional beds in homeless assistance systems nationwide,” and “Carbon dioxide emissions;”
County and City Data Book: A Statistical Abstract Supplement, which is useful for identifying local data, and
American FactFinder, an electronic portal to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau.
We can thank the U.S. Census Bureau for the availability of many of the stats we provide at the Reference Desk. Read more about what data the Census collects and how it is used, then learn how data will be collected in the 2010 Census.
Statistical Abstract of the United States