Library:Finding and Using Data for your Research/Social

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by werner22brigittte from Pixabay, CC0


  • Research data sets from around the world, collected by the library.
  • Census of Canada Public Use Microdata Files (PUMFs), Dissemination Area/Enumeration Area tables, Postal Code conversion files, General Social Surveys, Election Surveys, Survey of Household Spending standard tables, Canadian Institute for Public Opinion, Angus Reid polls.

BC Stats

  • Current reports and statistics from British Columbia's central statistical agency, including Census of Canada and aboriginal population tables, regional statistics and maps, exports and imports, business, industry and environmental statistics, and lots more British Columbia social and economic data, as well as articles in certain journals.
  • The Statistics by Subject tab allows users to find data sources on a variety of topics. Some topics provide machine-readable tabular data, while others will only provide reports with human-readable tables accompanied by analysis. Users can also try looking for BC data through the appropriate ministry, or through BC's open data portal, DataBC.


  • Database from Statistics Canada containing more than 52 million numeric time series covering a wide variety of social and economic indicators.

Canadian Census Analyser

  • Census profiles for multiple levels of geography as far back as 1961, online analysis of public use microdata files 1971-present, and postal code conversion files 1996-present.
  • Hosted by the University of Toronto, Canadian Census Analyser covers the following geographical levels: Canada, provinces and territories, federal electoral districts, census divisions, census subdivisions, census tracts, and enumeration areas / dissemination areas.
by werner22brigitte from Pixabay, cc0


  • Open data portal from the BC government. Provides access to datasets across sectors, including data about the Economy, Education, Finance, Health, Justice, Natural Resources, Service, Social Services, and Transportation.
  • Search the catalogue with keywords, and filter your results by filetype as well as by the sector or Ministry.
Many of the international sources include Canadian data.



  • Research data sets from around the world, collected by the library.
  • Data sets of interest include: US Census, National Opinion Research Center General Social Survey (NORC-GSS), ICPSR surveys, World Values Surveys, Gallup polls, Voice of the People surveys, Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), Latinobarometro.
by debcbalducci from Pixabay, CC0

American Community Survey

  • An ongoing survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, sampling a small percentage of the U.S. population every year. Its focus is on social topics and includes a fairly in depth look at housing situations, while basic demographic and some economic factors are also evaluated.
  • Information on methodology can be found under the Data & Documentation tab.

Census of India

  • 2001 only - need to check this.

China Data Online

  • Monthly and yearly reports on China's macroeconomic development, statistical databases on China's population and economy at the county and city level, and financial indicators of industries.
  • Managed by the University of Michigan China Data Center. Information is not provided about the data sources or instruments used to collect the data.


  • A coordinated statistical agency for all countries in the Eurozone. Collects economic, environmental and population data.
  • Data can be accessed through the online Statistics Database from the home page. Individual data files can be downloaded by selecting the Statistics tab in the top menu bar and browsing the files. Information about the methodology can be found in the Metadata menu on the left hand side in this section. Specific methodological information for individual datasets can be accessed along with them.


  • The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), part of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, has served social scientists around the world for decades by providing a central repository and dissemination service for machine-readable social science data. The Archive receives, processes, and distributes data on social phenomena occurring in over 130 countries and currently has holdings in excess of 500,000 machine-readable files representing over 7,500 research studies.
by LoggaWiggler from Pixabay, CC0

IMF Data

  • Annual, monthly, and quarterly financial and economic time series cover more than 200 countries and 40 regional and special groups of countries.
  • Use for: finding data on the following topics: Balance of payments, Banking and Financial systems, Employment, Exchange rates, Fund position, Finance, Government finance, Interest rates, International liquidity and Banking, National accounts, Population, Prices, Production, and Trade.
  • Users can select predefined data reports by Country, Topic and Data Source, or can build their own queries across or within datasets. Results can then be exported or manipulated and visualized within the online tool. Monthly training webinars are available, information can be found here.


  • Latinobarómetro is an annual public opinion survey that involves some 19,000 interviews in 18 Latin American countries, representing more than 400 million inhabitants.
  • The Databank tab gives you access to a downloadable file for each year of the survey (older ones are free, most recent ones must be purchased). Some of these are also available through Abacus, so check there or with the library before purchasing. This page also gives information about licensing and use. The Documents tab contains links to methodological information, including the codebook.

National Sample Survey of India (CD-ROM)

  • India's National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) continuously collects social, economic, demographic, industrial and agricultural statistics through sample surveys on countrywide basis.
  • Data sets held by the library are current to 2009. The datasets have been individually catalogued online, with good information about what the data sets contain and how the data was collected, but the data sets themselves generally cannot be accessed this way.
Ridington Room, UBC Library by UBC Library Communications from Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

OECDstat via OECD iLibrary

  • Select the Statistics tab from the OECD iLibrary site, then select OECD.Stat under the Databases column. One the next page, select the Data icon, which will lead you to the datasets.
  • OECD iLibrary provides online access to all books, journals, statistical series and databases originating from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development since 1998. UBC has access to the International Energy Agency's IEA Databases and to OECD.Stat.
  • OECD publications cover economic and social issues including trade, education, labour, social policy, health, finance, development, energy, environment, and science and innovation.

Polling the Nations

  • A comprehensive collection of public opinion, with information from the United States and more than 90 other countries around the world, covering Europe, Canada, Mexico, Africa, and Asia. The database includes the full text of questions and responses covering a broad range of issues. Polling the Nations has collected more than 500,000 questions from Gallup, Harris and Roper as well as more than 700 other organizations.
  • There are 5,000 topics in the Polling the Nations database, covering issues such as gun control, abortion, government, women, race relations, the economy, and children. In addition to these recurring themes, episodic events such as the Clinton impeachment, the 2000 vote count in Florida, and the September 11 attacks are added in a timely fashion.

Proquest Statistical Insight

  • An important resource for locating government statistics - US government statistical publications, as well as those of international intergovernmental organizations such as the UN, European Union, OECD, IMF, Asian Development Bank, etc. Includes online tables for US federal agencies and for the World Bank, and links to government statistical resources on the Web.

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research

  • Founded in 1947, the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is the leading educational facility in the field of public opinion. It holds the most complete collection of public opinion information in existence, from the United States and international sources.
  • Special features include iPOLL, a database organized at the question-level providing the tools to sift through nearly a half million questions asked on national [U.S.] public opinion surveys since 1935.
  • RoperExpress is a data access tool introduced in October, 2005, for on-demand download of data. Faculty and students at member institutions now have unlimited access to those datasets in the Roper Center collection that are in ASCII or SPSS portable formats.


  • Internet-based mapping application that enables users to develop interactive thematic maps and reports using demographic, business, and marketing data.
by werner22brigitte from Pixabay, CC0

UN Data

  • Covers all countries and areas, drawing selectively on statistics from throughout the UN system to bring them together in a common platform and interface using global statistical standards. Selective summary tables cover agriculture, population, industry, national accounts, energy, health, human development, trade, refugees, education, employment, and information and communication technology.
  • Tables are taken from databases and sources published in the extended United Nations system, including the ILO'S Yearbook of Labour Statistics and Key Indicators of the Labour Market; the World Bank's World Development Indicators; the IMF's International Financial Statistics; the WHO's World Health Statistics Annual; various UNICEF and UNESCO publications; the Demographic Yearbook, Energy Statistics Yearbook, National Accounts Statistics: Main Aggregates and Detailed Tables, and many more.
  • Use keywords to search for datasets in the main search box. To browse datasets, select the Databases tab. Each database provides a list of the datasets it contains, which can be viewed individually. When viewing datasets, they can be manipulated within the portal (eg. to examine a single country) or the dataset can be downloaded to in order to work with it in your preferred software.
  • UN data is compiled from a variety of sources including national statistics agencies, so the survey instrument may be different for each country's data. Source information for each dataset can be found near the bottom of the page when viewing the dataset. Data and Statistics

  • Data and statistics organized by topic, including Government, Business and Economic, Family and Community, Environment, and more.

WorldBank Data

  • Statistical data for over 550 development indicators and time series data from 1960 for over 200 countries and 18 country groups in World Development Indicators, Global Development Finance, Africa Development Indicators, and other databases. Data includes social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators.
  • Users can browse by country, topic, indicator. Datasets can be downloaded or else viewed and manipulated in the online visualization and analysis tool at

World Values Survey

  • The WVS is the largest non-commercial, cross-national, time series investigation of human beliefs and values ever executed.
  • It consists of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries, covering data from 1981 to 2014.


by werner22brigitte from Pixabay, CC0

Canada Year Book Historical Collection

  • Covers the first century of Canada's history (1867-1967), with historical text, tables, charts and maps, supplemented by interconnected learning resources for students and teachers. The 1867 to 1886 editions were written only in English; French editions are included 1887-1967.
  • Text and tables cover population, industry and the economy, trade, immigration, labour, transportation, agriculture, communications, and government.

Early Censuses of Canada

  • Electronic reproduction of an 1876 publication which includes 343 tables from 98 Censuses taken between 1665 and 1871.
  • Includes data on the social and economic conditions in Canada from the earliest settlements to 1871, including Atlantic Canada, New France, Lower Canada, Upper Canada, Western Canada.
  • All tables require Beyond 20/20.

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (U.K.)

  • The House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCPP) are the most detailed primary sources covering the past two centuries for Britain, its colonies and the wider world. They are the working documents of government for all areas of social, political, economic and foreign policy, showing how issues were explored and legislation was formed.
  • HCPP now includes over 200,000 House of Commons sessional papers from 1715 to the present, with supplementary material back to 1688. HCPP delivers page images and searchable full text for each paper, along with detailed indexing.

Proquest U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection (Congressional Publications)

  • Captures every aspect of American life from the early 19th century onward: farming, westward expansion, scientific exploration, politics, international relations, business, and manufacturing.
  • This is a collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under the directive of Congress. It includes Congressional reports and documents as well as executive agency and departmental reports ordered to be printed by Congress.

Sessional Papers of Canada - also available in Microform

  • Sessional Papers are reports tabled in the House of Commons and published as a set of volumes for each parliamentary session. These and other topics are represented by text and statistical tables such as: annual reports of departments, estimates and public accounts, early census reports, and reports of royal commissions.
  • Before the Dominion Bureau of Statistics was established in 1918, the annual reports of government departments such as Agriculture, Indian Affairs, and Railways and Canals were the main source of statistics on Canadian economic and social activity. The public accounts and annual reports of departments are particularly good sources for detailed historical statistics.

Historical Statistics of the United States

  • The standard source for statistical indicators of American history, from Colonial times to the present.
  • Topics range from migration and health to crime, Colonial statistics and the Confederate States of America. The fully searchable and downloadable electronic edition permits users to graph individual tables and create customized tables and spreadsheets reflecting their own particular areas of interest.

Related Research Guides

Census of Canada Research Guide Includes information about accessing historical census info.

Aboriginal Statistics Research Guide

Crime and Justice Statistics Research Guide

Educational Statistics Research Guide