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Syracuse University Libraries

Basic Research Strategies for the Social Sciences: Maps & Statistical Sources

Basic research skills and resources in psychology, sociology and other disciplines of the social sciences. Research skills include: evaluating sources,finding and identifying journal articles, statistical information and websites.

Try this Database - Social Explorer!

Social Explorer Professional logo

Social Explorer provides easy access to demographic information about the United States from 1790 to the present.

New York State, Onondaga County & Syracuse

New York State

New York State Facts

New York State Data Center

Program on Applied Demographics (PAD)


City of Syracuse

Open Data Syracuse (previously called "Datacuse") is the City of Syracuse's central location for open data, maps, and visualizations to help you understand what is happening in the city.

Onondaga County

Onondaga County

Has links to department contact numbers but you may need to contact them personally for research assistance and/or data.

New York City

New York City

New York City Community Affairs Unit

New York Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library

Queens Library

Writing with Statistics

Using statistics in your work, takes some skill and balance.  See this handout by Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL):
Purdue Owl

See Owl's "Quick tips" on using statistics in your work:

1. Never calculate or use a statistical procedure you don't fully understand.

2. Never attempt to interpret the results of a statistical procedure you don't fully understand.

3. If you are using statistics in a paper, consider your audience.

4. Present as much information as needed so that your reader can make his or her own interpretation of your data.

5.Use graphics and tables.

6. If it's applicable, and you can calculate it, do include some measure of variability; typically this is a standard deviation.

7. Be wary of using statistics from other places that are not peer-reviewed.

8. Speaking of sources, if you used a statistic, you need to provide your audience with additional information including where the statistic came from.

9. If you calculated a statistic, how did you calculate it?

10. Be clear as to what population(s) your statistic is meant to generalize to.

11. If you are using inferential statistics, try to speak as plainly as possible, and put the statistics at the end of the sentence.


Websites With Statistical Information

FDLP symbol




Government Information Subject Guide
by John Olson, Government Documents Librarian. 
A great introduction to government information resources at Syracuse University Libraries.

Numeric Data Services
by Paul Bern, Data Services Librarian
A thorough resources for data and statistical information.


US Census Data:

United States Census Bureau

County Business Patterns

Historical Statistics of the U.S.

US Statistical Abstract

Other Statistical Sources from the U.S. Government:
National Center for Health Statistics

National Center for Education Statistics - The Nation's Report Card

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Zip Codes

Research Institute

Population Studies Center, Social Research Institute, University of Michigan
PSC supports a large portfolio of both domestic and international research in several key areas of demographic research: 1) Family Formation, Fertility, and Children; 2) Human Capital, Labor and Wealth; 3) Health, Disability, and Mortality; 4) Population Dynamics; 5) Aging; 6) Methodology; and 7) Regional Studies.

Canadian Census Data
Statistics Canada

Data or Statistics??

What is the difference between data and statistics?

Data are the numbers and "raw information" collected or pulled from "datasets" for use in statistics.

Statistics are the interpretation and analyses of this "raw information" or numbers.  Statistics can be in the form of a table or a chart.

See the excellent libguide, How to Find Data & Statistics: Data vs. Statistics of Social Science librarian Hailey Mooney of Michigan State University that explains Statistics vs. Data very clearly:

Historical U.S. Statistics

The following sources have census data going back, in some cases, to the first Census in 1790.  You should keep in mind that not all data from all censuses are available in any format - some were destroyed in fires, others were simply lost.

Social Explorer - Data and maps from the Decennial Census back to 1790 and the American Community Survey back to 2006. See our SocialExplorer tutorial.

IPUMS - The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA) consists of more than fifty high-precision samples of the American population drawn from fifteen federal censuses and from the American Community Surveys of 2000-2010.

Statistical Abstract of the United States - The Statistical Abstract of the United States, published since 1878, is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Print version

County and City Data Book - The is the most comprehensive source of information about the individual counties and cities in the United States. It includes data for all U.S. states, counties, and cities with a population of 25,000 or more. It contains additional data for places with a population of 100,000 or more.

State and Metropolitan Area Data Book - The State and Metropolitan Area Data Book features more than 1,500 data items for the United States and individual states, counties and metropolitan areas from a variety of sources.

Publications from the Census Bureau - Printed reports going back to 1790

Mapping Databases

Tip - Getting Data from Google

Google Public Data Explorer

​The Google Public Data Explorer makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate.

Offers a limited number of datasets.