Data Services for Social Sciences

Numeric Data Available to the BU Community | Sites for Locating and Downloading Data | Instructional Datasets and On-line Textbooks

Data Services in the Bartle Library Reference Department provides numeric data for social science research. For assistance contact David Vose, ICPSR Official Representative, (607) 777-4907.

Services include:

  • Maintaining university affiliations to ICPSR and New York State Data Center Program (U.S. Bureau of the Census)
  • Locating and purchasing data resources for research and instructional use
  • Transferring data between platforms and formats using tools such as Stat/Transfer

Numeric Data Available to the BU Community

The following is a selection of data products available from the Libraries. For assistance locating specific data, please contact the Bartle Library Research Assistance Desk.

ICPSR Data Archive Access limited to BU students, faculty and staff (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research)

  • ICPSR offers more than 500,000 digital files containing social science research data. Disciplines represented include political science, sociology, demography, economics, history, gerontology, criminal justice, public health, foreign policy, terrorism, health and medical care, early education, education, racial and ethnic minorities, psychology, law, substance abuse and mental health, and more.
  • Data sets accessible in the archive require statistical analysis. There are no "canned" statistical tables available.  
  • Prior to downloading from the archive, you will be prompted to create a MyData Account which serves as a shopping cart for your files. You must use a valid BU email address as your user ID. 

Datastream (Access on Internet via workstation in the Government Documents Room, 1st Floor, Bartle Library)

  • Historical, global coverage of equities, stock markets, commodities, futures, currencies, options, bond markets, company financials, and economic data.

Great American History Machine on CD-ROM (Located in the Data Services area)

  • The Great American History Machine provides access to U.S. census data, 1790-1990, and Presidential and Congressional election data for the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Documentation to assist in extracting data, creating maps, and deriving variables are available in Data Services.

Historical Statistics of the United States (Millennial Edition)

  • Includes statistics from over 1,000 sources and includes more than 37,000 data series. Covers data on social, behavioral, humanistic, and natural sciences including history, economics, government, finance, sociology, demography, education, law, natural resources, climate, religion, international migration, and trade - quantitative facts of American History. Major categories include: Population, Work and Welfare, Economic Structure and Performance, Economic Sectors, Governance and International Relations.

Social Explorer

  • Includes US Decennial Census data from 1790 to 2010, all annual updates from the American Community Survey, the Religious Congregations and Membership Study from 1980 to 2000, and selected election and carbon emissions data. Users can customize, save, print, export and email maps and reports. The site is updated three times annually. Includes only state and county data through 1930. Includes tracts 1940 to present and block groups 1980 to present. Does not include STF 1 block level data.

World Development Indicators

  • Contains statistical data for over 800 development indicators and time series data from 1960 for over 220 countries and country groups. Data includes social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators. Results can be scaled, indexed against a particular year, viewed by percentage change, and charted. Data can also be exported in standard formats like Excel.

Sites for Locating and Downloading Data

PUMS (PSU) | PUMS (Columbia)

PUMS files contain records for a sample of housing units with information on the characteristics of each unit and each person in it. While preserving confidentiality (by removing identifiers), these microdata files permit users with special data needs to prepare virtually any tabulation.

American FactFinder 
Create tables or maps and download data from the Census of Population and Housing, Economic Census, or American Community Survey.

Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES)
"The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems
(CSES) is a collaborative program of research among election study teams from around the world. Participating countries include a common module of survey questions in their post-election studies. The resulting data are deposited along with voting, demographic, district and macro variables. The studies are then merged into a single, free, public dataset for use in comparative study and cross-level analysis."

IPUMS: Integrated Public Use Microdata Samples
Contains twenty-five high-precision samples of the American population drawn from thirteen federal censuses from 1850-1990. Some of these samples have existed for years, and others were created specifically for this database.

Data FERRET: Federal Electronic Research and Review Extraction Tool
Data mining and extraction tool that allows you to select and recode variables, develop and customize tables and graphs. Software requires download. See list of available datasets.

EconData (INFORUM)
A source for several hundred thousand economic time series data at the U.S. National, State/Local, and International levels.

Links to over 1,000 public, university, and private sources of regional socioeconomic data.

New York State Data Center
Provides access to the various statistical series for and about New York State's economy and population including estimates. Download data as spreadsheet files.

Online Data Archive
Datasets and documentation free to download from the Data and Program Library Service, University of Wisconsin.

Instructional Datasets and On-line Textbooks

HyperStat Online
An introductory statistics book with other good links by David M. Lane, Rice University.

StatNotes: An Online Textbook
An online methods textbook by David Garson, a political science faculty member at North Carolina State.

Last Updated: 8/20/15