Statistics are used to prove points, bolster arguments, support needs, justify an existence and much more. What we buy, where we work, what we do in our spare time, and our health all get translated into statistics that are studied by businesses, governments, and academicians. Statistics are a part of our everyday life yet they can be baffling to understand and difficult to find.
If you want to gain some basic knowledge of statistics, you might want to start with some books in the library. The list below will get you started.
- Teach Yourself Statistics
- The Numbers Game by Michael Blastland
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Statistics by Robert A. Donnelly
- Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers is the New Way to be Smart by Ian Ayres
- The Numerati by Stephen Baker
There are many places you can turn to for the statistics you need. The librarians in the H&R Block Business and Career Center can help you with your research. Listed below are some things you need to ask yourself:
- What specific statistics do I need to find?
- What geographic level (state, county, zip code, census tract) do I need?
- Do I need just the current figures or do I want historical numbers for trend analysis?
- Am I looking for economic statistics (number of businesses, employment figures) or demographic/social characteristic numbers? If it is demographic figures you need, take a look at our Demographic Research guide.
Economic Census (Business counts)
The federal government does a census of businesses every five years. The Economic Census gives the number of businesses, employment, and payroll figures broken down by industry type (NAICS) and by geography.
Agencies within the U.S. government employ a number of tools to help regulate the economy. The data that is generated is made available through many sources including Economic Indicators, the Economic Report of the President, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis as well as the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
All government agencies collect data related to their area of responsibility. Thus, statistics regarding education, health, labor, crime, food, housing, transportation and much more is made available. A place to start in your research for a bevy of statistics is FedStats. Current, as well as historical data, can be found in Statistical Abstract.
Although federal statistical sources provide some local data, there are additional sources to turn to. Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), the local planning agency is a good starting place. MARC makes available a wealth of economic, demographic and transportation statistics on their website. For additional sources, take a look at our Local Business and Information Guide.
For additional information, contact an H&R Block Business & Career Center librarian by phone, 816.701.3717, or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.