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Data Resources for Sociologists: U.S./Domestic Data Sources

This guide is a collection of links to commonly-used data resources favored by Sociologists.

Census Data, Demographics, and Population Surveys

American Fact Finder
The American FactFinder is an extensive source for census statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Users can create data tables from the Decennial Census (2000 and 2010), the American Community Survey (2000-present), and the Economic Census (1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012) and download those tables into spreadsheet files. See for a list of available data collections.

Current Population Survey (CPS)
The Current Population Survey, a joint project between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, is a monthly survey that collects basic socio-demographic information and labor force characteristics along with various supplemental studies on matters such as voter registration, internet usage, school enrollment, and fertility. To access CPS data files, users can go through the Data Ferrett. Alternately, they can go to the National Bureau of Economic Research's CPS site here or to the IPUMS CPS site here.

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)
The IPUMS project at the University of Minnesota is an excellent source for historical U.S. Census data, in the form of collections such as microdata samples from the Decennial Census for 1850 onwards and tabulated Census data for various levels of geography for 1790 onwards. The database also hosts a growing collection of microdata census files from foreign countries that can be accessed at

National Survey of Familes and Households (NSFH)
The NSFH contains data on topics such as "the respondent's family living arrangements in childhood, departures and returns to the parental home, and histories of marriage, cohabitation, education, fertility, and employment," to quote the website. There are three waves for the NSFH - 1987-1988, 1992-1994, and 2001-2003. Data are available as SPSS files. Some NSFH data are also available via the Social Science Electronic Data Library.

Social Explorer
Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information. Its contents include the entire U.S. Census from 1790 to 2010, annual updates from the American Community Survey, data on religious congregations for the United States for 2009, decennial religious congregation data for 1980-2010, and carbon emissions data for 2002. Users can create reports and maps at various levels of geography, including counties, Census tracts, Census block groups, and zip codes, depending on data availability. Social Explorer is also available via Databases at Emory.

Courts, Criminal Justice, and Violence

Bureau of Justice Statistics
The BJS provides a wealth of crime and criminal justice data compiled by the U.S. government and links to available data on other government websites.

Historical Violence Database
The Historical Violence Database, which is hosted at the Criminal Justice Research Center at Ohio State University, is (to quote the website) "a collaborative research project on the history of violent crime, violent death, and collective violence." Data from the project are available for the United States and other countries.

National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD)
The NACJD at the ICPSR contains a wealth of data relevant for scholars interested in crime/criminology. The data cover topics such as offical crime statistics (at the national and state levels), surveys on attitudes towards crime, surveys of crime victims, and the criminal justice system.


Higher Education Research Institute (HERI)
UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute conducts recurring surveys on college freshmen, college seniors, and faculty. Data from many of their surveys are available for researchers upon application.

IPUMS-Higher Ed
The IPUMS Project at the University of Minnesota is taking data from the National Science Foundation's surveys of college graduates, graduate students, and doctorates and harmonized the data for easier analysis and comparisons over time.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data and statistics in the United States and in various other countries. The NCES conducts or participates in various data-gathering programs, such as this collection of surveys pertaining to higher education and this collection of data for international comparisons. For quick reference, researchers should check out and the Digest of Education Statistics.

National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen (NLSF)
The NLSF, which is housed at Princeton University's Office of Population Research, follows a cohort of college freshmen over time, with the intent of testing competing theories/explanations for underperformance of minorities in higher education. The data are available upon registration from the OPR.

US Schools - Desegregation Court Cases and School Demographic Data
This project at Brown University "includes data for the period 1970-2010 about desegregation court cases, trends in racial composition and segregation of elementary schools, and additional information about poverty, teacher-student ratios, and performance on standardized state tests. For every U.S. school district, information on racial and ethnic composition of the elementary student population for available years, and summary indices of school segregation and disparities are posted."

Health Data

Health Indicators Warehouse
The Heath Indicators Warehouse was a very useful catalog of of data on a variety of health-related topics such as maternal health, mortality, risk behaviors, and health infrastructure, with data available at national, state, and/or county levels depending on the indicator. The site is no longer available, but you can access its list of data sources and its lists of indicators via the Internet Archive.

IPUMS Health Surveys
The University of Minnesota's IPUMS project has created harmonized microdata from the National Health Interview Surveys series and harmonized the data for easier comparisons over time. The integrated data consist of samples from different iterations of the NHIS dating back to the 1960s. IPUMS has a similar project for data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey series.

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
The NCHS, which is part of the CDC, contains much data on various health indicators at both national and state levels. The Data Warehouse may be of particular interest, as it provides access to public-use microdata from surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey. The National Vital Statistics System may also be of interest for data and historical reports on births, deaths, and marriages.

National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)
The NSFG is an on-going survey series focusing on matters of family history and reproductive history (e.g. marital history, childbirth, usage of contraceptives) as well as more general matters such as employment history and demographics. Earlier NSFG waves are available via the Social Science Electronic Data Library (see below), via the National Center for Health Statistics, and in harmonized form via the Integrated Fertility Survey Series.

Social Science Electronic Data Library (SSEDL)
The Social Science Electronic Data Library is an archive of over 300 datasets covering a variety of topic areas, including Adolescent Pregnancy, Aging, AIDS/STD's, the American Family, Disability in the US, and Maternal Drug Abuse. The archive is well-indexed and allows variable-level searches. This resource is also available via Databases at Emory. Many of the older studies are also available on CD-ROM's in the Data Center.

Public Opinion and Survey Data

General Social Survey (GSS)
The GSS measures public opinion in the United States on a wide variety of topics of interest to social scientists. The survey, which began in the early 1970's, provides a biennial perspective on American attitudes toward government, life, race, religion, and other social issues. The link here is to the GSS homepage within the National Opinion Research Center. Sites where researchers can extract and download specific variables of interest are listed here. The SDA Archive at Berkeley also holds GSS data from 1972 to 2016 in an interface that allows for basic on-line data analysis and the creation of subsets of GSS data. GSS data are also available via the Roper Center.

National Archive of Data on Arts & Culture (NADAC)
The ICPSR's National Archiv of Data on Arts & Culture contains many datasets pertaining to topics such as participation in the arts (e.g. attending exhibits or concerts), "cultural policy" (e.g. support for public funding of the arts), the vitality of the arts in local areas, and media coverage of the arts and culture. Much of the contents of this archive formerly resided at the Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA).

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press is a major center for the study of public opinion and regularly conducts polls about various social and political topics and contemporary issues. They make many of their studies available for download here. Many of the more recent datafiles are in SPSS format. Users are required to register before downloading a dataset, but registration is free. Users should also check out the resources available via the Pew Research Center homepage for other collections of public opinion data, such as Hispanic Trends, the Global Attitudes Project, and Religion and Public Life.

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
The Roper Center is one of the country's premier centers for polling data, with holdings dating back to 1935. While the bulk of the Center's data are for national polls, it also includes many state-level polls as well and collects data from a wide and eclectic range of organizations. The iPOLL interface may be of particular use because it allows users to search through surveys at the question level. Roper also has a large compilation of Presidential approval ratings. The Roper Center is also available via Databases at Emory.


Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)
The ARDA contains many datasets pertaining to religion, such as surveys on topics such as the public's religious attitudes and practices, surveys of church leaders, and studies on the provision of social services by individual congregations. ARDA also provides geographic profiles of congregations and demographic profiles of denominations

Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life Project
The Religion and Public Life Project is devoted to the intersections between regligious faith and public affairs, including topics such as "shifting religious composition to the influence of religion on politics to the extent of government and social restrictions on religion." In addition to reports and analyses, it provides access to a variety of data-related resources, such as individual datasets and interactive databases. The Project's undertakings range from large-scale surveys such as the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey to summaries of state-level legislation on religious law.

Data Services

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