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Data Resources and Support: Social Indicators

Support for locating and working with datasets, statistical information, and geographic data.

Social Indicators

American Time Use Survey (ATUS) -- The ATUS, which is hosted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, commuting, and socializing" (to quote the homepage).The site contains data and reports for different iterations of the ATUS and links to sites for time-use studies in different countries.Earlier time-use surveys for the U.S. are available via the ICPSR. Harmonized ATUS data are also available via the University of Minnesota.

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. While its primary focus is on the United States, ARDA also has much comparative/international data on religion, including single-nation studies on topics such as spirituality and health, cross-national surveys on topics such as the role of religion in political life, and cross-national data on matters such as religious populations and measures of religious freedom. Researchers should go to the Data Archive for a directory of the different studies available.

"Bowling Alone: Data" -- This site hosts data used by Professor Robert Putnam in his Bowling Alone study of "social capital" in the United States. The data cover topics such as civic engagement, trust in others and in social institutions, etc. Additional relevant data for the study of social capital are available via the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America and via the Roper Center.

County-Level Measure of Social Capital -- Penn State's Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development has constructed county-level measures of social capital for 1990, 1997, 2005, 2009, and 2014. The measures make use of data on indicators such as voter turnout, numbers of non-profit organizations, and numbers of associations of different varieties (e.g. labor, religious, civic).

CPANDA Data Archive -- The Cultural Policy & the Arts National Data Archive (CPANDA) at Princeton University allows users to download studies in its collection of data on matters pertaining to cultural policy and the arts. The data in this archive is currently being transferred to the National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture at the ICPSR.

Current Population Survey (CPS) -- The Current Population Survey is a joint project between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. The CPS is a monthly survey that collects basic socio-demographic information, labor force characteristics, and economic status. To access CPS data files, users can download the data from an FTP site or use various tools for creating tables from the microdata. Alternately, they can go to the National Bureau of Economic Research's CPS site or to IPUMS-CPS.

Documenting the Now -- Documenting the Now "responds to the public's use of social media for chronicling historically significant events as well as demand from scholars, students, and archivists, among others, seeking a user-friendly means of collecting and preserving this type of digital content." Among the project's various tools is a catalog of publicly-available datasets consisting of IDs for tweets. Twitter's terms of generally restrict or prohibit sharing directly contents of large amounts of tweets. However, you can take a collection of tweet IDs and "hydrate" them to get their contents. See for additional guidance in using Twitter as a source for research data.

Gender Equality Data and Statistics -- The World Bank's collection of gender-equality data is " a one-stop shop for gender information, catering to a wide range of users and providing data from a variety of sources." Amongst the resources here are collections of macro- and micro-level data on topics such as control of economic assets and financial inclusion and an extensive set of gender-themed indicators that can be downloaded in bulk or queried by country, year, and indicator.

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 (nearly) biennial perspective on American attitudes toward government, race, religion, sexuality, 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 onwards in an interface that allows for basic on-line data analysis and the creation of subsets of GSS data.

Henry A. Murray Research Center -- The Murray Center contains numerous datasets in the social sciences. Data in the subjects of psychology, sociology and education are highly represented.

National Neighborhood Data Archive (NaNDA) -- NaNDA provides access to datasets that "include socioeconomic disadvantage and affluence, walkability, crime, land use, recreational centers, libraries, fast food, climate, healthcare, housing, public transit, and more." Depending on the underlying source(s) for the data, they are available for counites, Census tracts, or ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs). The data are collected as part of a project at the University of Michigan on health and neighborhood context.

National Survey of Families 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 and via the ICPSR.

Pew Social and Demographic Trends -- Pew Social and Demographic Trends "studies behaviors and attitudes of Americans in key realms of their lives, including family, community, health, finance, work and leisure." They make many of their studies available for download here. 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.

Resource Center for Minority Data (RCMD) -- The ICPSR's RCMD archive focuses on data related to "issues affecting racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States," including topics such as health, political behavior, income/wealth, education, and crime. The surveys in the archive make use of large sample sizes or over-sampling to allow for more rigorous analyses of minority populations.

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 and 2010, 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.

Social Justice Sexuality Project -- "The Social Justice Sexuality Project is one of the largest ever national surveys of Black, Latinx, and Asian and Pacific Islander, and multiracial lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people (...) The SJS Project is a knowledge-based study that investigates the sociopolitical experiences of this population around five themes: racial and sexual identity; spirituality and religion; mental and physical health; family formations and dynamics; civic and community engagement." Data from the survey are available via the ICPSR.

Statistical Abstract of the United States -- The Statistical Abstract contained a wealth of information on numerous socio-economic and demographic indicators for the United States. Historical data tables taken from the Statistical Abstract are available via the Internet Archive. While the Census Bureau has discontinued publication of the Statistical Abstract, the Abstract is now being published by ProQuest and is now available via Databases at Emory.

UN Human Development Reports (HDR) -- The HDR is an annual report from the United Nations that scores and rank countries on various indicators of "development" broadly defined. The current incarnation of the HDR provides access to both past and present reports and a variety of tools for visualization and downloading of HDR data and statistics. Data from some earlier reports are available via Carleton University's Country Indicators for Foreign Policy site.

University of Texas Inequality Project (UTIP) -- The UTIP is devoted to the study and measure of income and earnings inequality throughout the globe.Their data holdings consist of several datasets measuring inequality between and within countries.

World Bank Poverty and Equity Data -- The World Bank has brought together a variety of datasets pertaining to the study of poverty, income inequality, and income distribution, along with other resources relevant for international development and economics. The many potentially-useful resources listed within this site include the World Income Inequality Database and PovcalNet. The site is part of the Bank's broader collection of poverty indicators. Other data resources are available via the Bank's "Poverty and Inequality" research program, the Bank's Data Catalog, and the Bank's Microdata Library. Be warned: the World Bank tends to change addresses for websites without warning.

Data Services

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Robert O'Reilly, Ph.D

Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS)

We help researchers with locating quantitative data and with cleaning and preparing data for analysis.

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