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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Statistics in the University Archives: Student Demographics

A finding aid for undergraduate students looking for statistics in the archives


  • The archives changes over time.   The organization of the archives evolves.  Don't hesitate to ask for help!
  • Plan your search. Be sure you have a clear idea of how to approach your topic. Review "Searching the Archives".
  • Try preliminary searches.  Keep in mind that "Subjects" are not keywords and not the same as the subject headings used in the library.   You may need to be creative in your search.
  • Identify the location. If you search the archives database "Archon," and find record series that look promising, make note of the location of the files. 
  • Digital records. When materials are digitized by our archives, the title of those documents may begin with the words "Digital surrogate of..."
  • When all else fails - ask an archivist!! 

Educational Statistics

Statistical resources relating to Education are available from the library.  A number of these sites focus on K-12 education.  Be sure to note the time frame for each of the online resources.  Like most digital resources, the time frame tends to document the last 20 years. 

The Illinois State Board of Education website can be useful for an overview of eduction.  For information on higher education in Illinois be sure to look at the Illinois Board of Higher Education.  This site includes a Data Book, available online back to 1998,  that documents diversity statistics in higher education, including information for individual institutions.  The Data Book is often located in various archival record series, including 25/2/5.  

Diversity on campus

The amount of archival information on ethnic and gender diversity varies.  In general, gender diversity on campus was recorded from the earliest years of the University's history.  The general discussion on "Statistics in the Archives" discusses one of the digital access points to this information. 

The record series number 25/3/810 indicates who compiled or produced the original record. Group "25" refers to the Office of Admissions and Records.  (All sub-groups under this group are viewable by selecting the "Campus Unit" tab in the database).  The sub-group "3" in the record series number refers to records and registration information of university students. Finally, "810" contains enrollment tables maintained by the university. 

The below stastics, gathered 20 years after the university was founded, illustrate that the student gender division was tracked early in its history.

This is an excellent starting place for any question on the percentage of women at the university.  Has similar statistical information been compiled over the years?  Is there a single table that shows the number of women in the university over a long period of time, or is it necessary to put these numbers in a table to see the trend over time?  To answer these questions, researchers must learn how to work in archives. 

As you know, archival organization reflects the structure of the creating organization.  For instance, under the "Campus Units"  tab in the archives database are several sub-groups under "Admissions & Records".  A wealth of information exists beyond the general enrollment statistics pictured above.  Where might statistical information on new students originate within the University?  One possibility is the "Admissions" sub-group. 

To get an overview of the type of documents within a sub-group, it helps to start with the "Subject File" if possible. The Admissions & Records- Admissions-Subject File (25/2/5)  has a list of many topics:

Please note:  as far as the archivists have been able to determine, no definitive statistics on ethnic minorities were kept by the university before 1967. 

To view this material, simply request this box of material (RS 25/2/5, Box 4) at the Student Life & Culture Archives at the Archives Research Center. The box will be retreived by staff and you may examine the contents.

University Statistics

Information about the University's enrollment from the 1970s until today is located at the Student Enrollment Website. This site lacks chronological overviews of changes over time, but it does include statistics on ethnicity and gender on a semester-by-semester basis.