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Finding Numeric Data


A satellite image of the earth showing the United States at night when artificial light is visible from space

This library guide discusses the difference between statistics and data and provides valuable campus resources for data assistance. Most importantly, this guide provides a conclusive list of resources for finding data for the world, data for the United States, and data for Illinois. These resources include free online websites and downloadable data in addition to subscription-based University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign databases.

Data vs. Statistics

The words "data" and "statistics" are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation. However, when trying to locate information, the difference between data and statistics is crucial.  Simply put, data is raw information of which statistics are generated.  Whereas statistics provides an interpretation, summary, and mathematical expression of data.


  • Datasets
  • Machine-readable data files
  • Data files for statistical software


  • Statistical tables, charts, and graphs
  • Reported numbers and percentages often from articles and newspapers


For more information about statistics and U.S. government information, please visit the Government Information Services Statistics and Numeric Data page.

Need Further Assistance?

Campus resources for finding numeric data:


Scholarly Commons

  • The Scholarly Commons is located at 220 Main Library. This space offers a robust menu of software and digitization hardware that can help you with your research. In addition to technology, the Scholarly Commons has a wide range of experts that can help with research questions, including numeric data and statistical analysis assistance.

    Fill out a consultation request form or drop-in Monday-Friday for assistance.
    Additionally, schedule an appointment with the Scholarly Commons' statistical consultants.


Government Information Services

  • Government Information Services is located in the Reading Room on the second floor of the main library.  If you are searching for data related to government documents, this library and their librarians can provide assistance locating government-based data for your research.  


Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise indicated, original content in this guide is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license. You are free to share, adopt, or adapt the materials. We encourage broad adoption of these materials for teaching and other professional development purposes, and invite you to customize them for your own needs.