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Escraps: Data and Statistics

Just as trees are the raw material from which paper is produced, so too, can data be viewed as the raw material from which information is obtained. - Statistics Canada

Data is all around us. Statistics are used to make sense of this data and apply this information to make informed decisions.

Data is often numerical such as weights, temperatures, and dollars. For example, you might be interested in census data or cost of living during a particular year. However it can also take the form of patterns, images, or signals. In general, the purpose of collecting data is to provide information to archive for later use or apply to an immediate question or problem.

Data becomes information when it is organized in a framework that is useful.

Statistics is a type of information derived from mathematical operations applied to numeric data. For example, census data can be used to create statistics such as the average age of city residents. Earthquake data can be used to identify the most common location of earthquakes or the highest magnitude earthquakes through history.

Statistics can be used to address questions and provide evidence to make informed decisions.

Read Power from Data from Statistics Canada for a wonderful overview of data, information, and statistics. This online book describes data collection and processing, information in society, problems with using information, confidentiality, data organizing and analysis, and communication.

Locating Data and Statistics

Interesting data can be found throughout the Internet. However the problem lies in locating accurate, useful information that matches a specific information need.

42explore: Statistics and Probability
http://www.42explore.com/statistics.htm
Scroll down to the data section.

Fed Stats
http://www.fedstats.gov/
A gateway to statistics from 100 US Federal agencies.

Geostat: Historical Census Browser
http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/
Census date from the 1800s and 1900s.

National Geophysical Data Center from NOAA
http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/ngdcinfo/onlineaccess.html
Data on a wide range of science topics.

Real-Time Data Sites from CIESE
http://www.ciese.org/realtimeproj.html
Links to data in many areas.

Government and Politics from Multnomah County Library
http://www.multcolib.org/homework/govhc.html#histdoc
Links to great resources.

Robert Niles' Journalism Help: Finding Data on the Internet
http://nilesonline.com/data/
Designed for journalists, this website provides great ideas for locating and using data across disciplines.

Statistics at the State and Local Levels
http://www.usa.gov/Government/State_Local/Statistics.shtml
Links to state and local statistics.

Statistics from Digital Librarian
http://www.digital-librarian.com/statistics.html
Lots of links to statistic information.

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Evaluating and Using Data and Statisics

Decisions are often based on statistical information. However caution must be taken in interpreting and presenting data to ensure the validity of information. Statistics can easily be misused.

Read Problems with Using Information from Statistics Canada to learn more about dealing with statistics.

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Digital Data

 

Census Data

The first census took place in 1790. In the United States, a census takes place every 10 years. Although the census officials strive to count everyone, some people think as many as 1 in 100 may be missed. The data from census is used for determining representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, determine eligiblity for public services, and population statistics.

Census Bureau
http://www.census.gov/
Data on people (i.e., income, poverty, health, housing, genealogy), business, geography, as well as the national census. Check the following sections including American Fact Finder, State and County QuickFacts, American Community Survey, Kid's Corner, Population Data, Statistical Abstract. Explore other census data sites such as IPUMS.

Census Online
http://www.census-online.com/
Links to census data and CDs. Connects to Ancestory.com.

GeoStat Center: Historical Census Browser
http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/
Census datat from 1790 to 1960.

USGenWeb Census Project
http://www.us-census.org/
Transcribed census data run by volunteers. Helpful, but incomplete.

Lesson Plans, Activities, and Census Data

Election Data

Federal Election Commission
http://www.fec.gov/
Explore their Campaign Finance Data.

Disease Data

Center for Disease Control
http://www.cdc.gov/
Explore data related to influenza, birth defects, disabilities, diseases and others. Go to the Data & Statistics page for specific data sets including aging, births, deaths, marriages, injuries, and growth including state and national data and maps.

Earth and Space Data

Earth and Moon Viewer
http://fourmilab.ch/earthview/vplanet.html
View the world in different ways.

Molecular Expressions
http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/index.html
Photos and videos of the microscopic world such as amoeba.

Surface Distance Between Two Points of Latitude and Longitude
http://www.chemical-ecology.net/java/lat-long.htm
Enter two coordinates and receive the flight distance. Or find distance between 326 different cities worldwide.

Environment

Environmental Poll from Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
http://www.yale.edu/envirocenter/environmentalpoll.htm
Poll focusing on energy and energy policy.

Government Data

Budget of the US Government
http://www.access.gpo.gov/usbudget/
Include current and past budgets.

Business and Economy
http://www.usa.gov/Business/Business_Gateway.shtml
Explore information on population, income, housing and other indicators for any state or county in the United States.

Crime and Justice Statistics
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/
Information about crime, victims, criminal offenders, homicide, drugs, firearms, and the court system.

Economic Indicators
http://www.economicindicators.gov/
Explore statistics across many areas.

FedStats
http://www.fedstats.gov/
Federal statistics from over 100 US Federal agencies.

USA.GOV
http://www.usa.gov/
Useful site in locating data from all government agencies. Be sure to check the links on the Data and Statistics page.

Public Disclosure Commission
http://www.pdc.wa.gov/
Provides timely and meaningful public access to information about the financing of political campaigns, lobbyist expenditures, and the financial affairs of public officials and candidates.

Health, Food & Drug Data

AgingStats.Gov
http://www.agingstats.gov/
Locate data related to healthcare, medicare, and other agencies.

Agriculture and Environment
http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Environment_Agriculture.shtml
Explore many resources related to food, farms, and agriculture.

KidsData
http://www.kidsdata.org/
Health and wellness data, as well as links to other data sources.

Lesson Plans, Activities, and Health, Food & Drug Data

Immigration and Migration Data

Ellis Island Records
http://www.ellisislandimmigrants.org/
Locate an immigrant.

Migration Information Source
http://www.migrationinformation.org/datahub/
Use these research tools to analyze data on migrants worldwide.

US Office of Immigration Statistics
http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
Data on all types of immigrants including refugees, asylees, naturalization, etc.

Lesson Plans, Activities, and Immigration Data

Labor and Employment Data

U.S. Department of Labor
http://stats.bls.gov/
Data about inflation, wages, productivity, safety, occupations, demographics, and employment.

Marriage Records

GenWed.com
http://www.genwed.com/
Marriage records from United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Weather Data

National Weather Service
http://www.weather.gov/
Data about weather and disasters.

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Global Sources

European Union Statistics
http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/
Quick reference to European Statistics.

Statistics Canada
http://www.statcan.ca/english/edu/index.htm
Provides resources for students, teachers, and postsecondary. Includes statistics for use across content areas.

National Statistic Online from the United Kingdom
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/
Data and statistics on all topics from the UK.

Nation Master
http://www.nationmaster.com/
Compares countries of the world.

Population Reference Bureau
http://www.prb.org/
Statistics by country.

State of World Population from UNFPA
http://www.unfpa.org/swp/swpmain.htm
Examine global statistics on many topics and issues.

Statistical Sites on the World Wide Web
http://www.bls.gov/bls/other.htm
Resources from around the world.

United Nations CyberBus
http://cyberschoolbus.un.org/infonation3/menu/advanced.asp
Data on countries from around the world.

Your Nation
http://www.your-nation.com/
Compares statistics information among countries.

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Related Resources

Search Systems Free Public Records Directory
http://www.searchsystems.net/
Links to free sources of public records.

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