We regularly receive requests for federal statistics and knowing where to look can often be a daunting task! With so many agencies producing numbers you might ask: Where do I begin? Can I get them over a period of time? Whether it is population numbers for Livermore, CA for a business plan, or employment numbers for the VA/MD/DC Metro area, we can help!
I recently attended a workshop conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau on Understanding Federal Statistics. I found out that I have a lot to learn about the various websites, publications and tools that are available, and that it will take much exploring to become comfortable. I also found that a tool or guide that points me off in the right direction can be very helpful. Business Reference just happens to have a couple of those.
A new tutorial, Finding Census Data for Business Research is available on our website. The tutorial takes about 10 minutes to go through and gets you on your way to locating population statistics, historical census information, and some basic tips for using the American Fact Finder tool on the Census website. We also have a handy guide for International and U.S. Census data.
So where might you look for various federal statistics?
The U.S. Census Bureau is a sure bet for information on people and households. Try the Bureau of Labor Statistics for employment and CPI data. The National Agriculture Statistics Service can tell you how many women were principle operators of farms in 2007. (There were 306,209 up from 237,819 in 2002.) The Bureau of Transportation Statistics can enlighten you with the current motorcycle trends in one of their special reports. Want to know how many people have been diagnosed with heart disease, the National Center for Health Statistics has the answer. The Bureau of Economic Analysis will have GDP information and the National Center for Education Statistics can help to find a college for that budding engineer graduating from high school.
After looking at all of the sources mentioned above, here’s a fun fact: in 2007 the estimated resident population of the United States was 301,621,000. In that same year adult participation for video games numbered 26,119,000 and 9,765,000 adults participated two or more times per week! (Table 2. Population 1960-2007. Table 1200. Adult Participation in Selected Leisure Activities by Frequency: 2007 from the Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2009; 128th Edition.) If you would like to see how these numbers compare with those for recreational activities popular in the past, check out the Historical Statistics of the United States.