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Government Information Guide: Finding Government Statitics and Census Information

Since we are not a government repository, it makes the most sense to create a guide to open government information and tools that can be used by Ottawa University students.

Why do you need Census Data and Statistics?


The government and social agencies use Census data to plan for plan and provision for the social needs of communities. Census and statistical data is also used by students and researchers when writing arguments in academic papers, to explain how social changes have occurred, how social conditions can be improved and changed and to understand specific trends that are occurring or phenomenon that have had an effect on education or on society e.g. poverty, illiteracy etc.

Finding Government Statistics Online

Find popular facts (population, income, etc.) and frequently requested data about your community.

#1 source for current population data (American Factfinder), economic indicators, business patterns, industry data, quickfacts about people, business, geography and more.

Older census publications and sets. This website is slowly transitioning documents to

The "showcase" and "agencies" tabs are the most helpful.

The U.S. Census Bureau terminated the collection of data for the Statistical Compendia program effective October 1, 2011. The Statistical Compendia program is comprised of the Statistical Abstract of the United States and its supplemental products—the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book and the County and City Data Book. To access the most current data, please refer to the organizations cited in the source notes for each table of the Statistical Abstract.

Census information, statistics from government agencies, state and local statistical resources, and mapped statistics.

The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, a World Oceans map, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.

OU Statistics Databases with Government Information


The Gangwish Library Databases that work best for finding government statistics are:

  • ProQuest Statistical Abstract
  • Sage Stats

Census Information

Census documents do not always have the same title from one census to the next and the online access to census documents is inconsistent between years and collections, pieces located on different websites, most of them archives. When searching these websites, it helps if you know:

  • if the census data had been collected and published in the first place
  • the year, location, and type of data needed
  • the title of the census publication that contains the information
  • where to find census data (generally)
  • how to use search tools to refine your search in a database

Equipped with this information, your search should be easier. This page is intended to help you in your search to find census data and publications.


The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has compiled a list of resources by census year between 1790-1940.

American FactFinder provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. The data in American FactFinder come from several censuses and surveys.

The ACS provides data tables including Comparison and Selected Population Profiles, and Subject, Detailed, Ranking, and Geographic Comparison Tables.

Use the AHS Table Creator to create a table that shows the data you want to compare.

Filter publications by census, survey, or program on the left side.

Best Bets: Look at the top navigation bar.
"Topics" will allow you to view data relevant to a topic.
"Library" includes publications or infographics & visualizations.
"Data" contains Data Tools & Apps.
"Surveys/Programs" contain several resources, including the American Community Survey and American Housing Survey.

HeritageQuest includes census records from 1790-1940. You can search all records, search a particular census, city directory, and special "schedules." Access is provided by the State Library of Kansas, so you may only be able to access it from a Kansas IP address.

Census Briefs

The Census 2000 Brief series provides the first analysis of Census 2000 population and housing topics. The briefs focus on discussing the most important aspects of the topics, as well as exploring the geographic distribution of the subject matter. The Census 2000 Brief series is a basic analytic tool that is useful for introducing the public to Census 2000 population and housing data.

Links to other data from the 2010 census are also available.

Primarily for economic censuses of 1992, 1997, and 2002. Some data available for 1977, 1982, 1987, and 2007. For more data from 2007, see American Fact Finder. For more data from 1977, 1982, and 1987, search Hathitrust for "economic censuses of outlying areas" and the year.

Population and Housing

Characteristics of Housing Units Housing Characteristics in US States, Cities, and Counties

The United States Department of Commerce's Characteristics of Housing Units publications can be found online, by decade, in the following ways: 

Census of Population and Housing > 1960  Census of Housing

Census of Population and Housing > 1970  Census of Housing

Use the search entry "1980 census of housing. Volume 1. Characteristics of housing units. Chapter A. General housing characteristics." to search by state or volume on Hathitrust

Census of Population and Housing > 1990  Census of Housing


United States Census of Housing: Metropolitan Housing

Census of Population and Housing, 1960 > 1960 Census of Housing > Metropolitan Housing


  • 1980 Census of Housing: Metropolitan Housing

Use the search entry "1980 census of housing metropolitan housing characteristics" to search by state or volume on



Includes International Population Reports, International Briefs, Population Trends, Aging Trends, Women in Development, Misc. Reports, Statistical Briefs, Economic Profiles, International Publications Prior to 1990, and unpublished reports.

Search "country demographic profiles" and look for individual profiles on countries: Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Panama, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Honduras, Kenya, Republic of China, Chile, Mexico, Thailand, India, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, Columbia, Mepal, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Botswana, and Liberia. (Published in or around 1977.)