Database of the Month: Statistical Abstract of the United States

9 Reasons to Love the Statistical Abstract of the United States (“StatAbs”):

  1. It’s the best-known statistical reference concerning the United States and serves as an authoritative source and guide to statistical information. It’s ideal for building arguments, fact-checking, and researching U.S.- based questions.
  2. StatAbs addresses patterns of business, patterns of people, organizations, government activity and more; it does not address individual companies or consumer goods. For example, a trend in the telecommunications industry is illustrated in Table 1165, Landline and Wireless Telephone Status of Households, where the numbers tell the story of adult users who purchased both landlines and cellphones over the course of 6 years. According to this table, 26.6% of households in 2010 had wireless only (no landline) and 49.3% of households in 2016 had wireless only (no landline). This year over year comparison suggests a strong trend for users to stop purchasing telephones, and producers of telephones may shift in favor of mobile phone production in response. StatAbs and does not name phone carriers.

    Statistical Abstract table 1165
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  3. StatAbs is online, updated monthly, and well-populated with over 1,400 tables.
  4. It serves as the official federal summary of statistics and is broken down into 30 sections, each section containing up to 40 tables.
  5. StatAbs is hosted by ProQuest, which makes the interface feel smooth and efficient to navigate. See StatAbs in action with a sample question:

    Q: In U.S. Presidential elections, what was the popular vote count, by party, in the 2016 election?

    There are two ways to find the answer to this question! You can keyword search by entering the word “vote” in the search box, or browse the table of contents on the left, choosing Section 7: “Elections” .

    Statistical Abstract interface
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    A: Table 435. Vote Cast for President by Major Political Party: 1948 – 2016.  In the 2016 presidential election 136,787,000 people voted and the popular vote was 65,677,000 democratic and 62,692,000 republican.

    Statistical Abstract Table
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  6. The Statistical Abstract of the United States began in 1878 with 18 sources and now draws from 250 sources.
  7. StatAbs affords easy pearl-growing opportunities. At the bottom of each table and the opening of each section statisticians explain their sources, which is convenient for the pursuit of ideas. This table about representation of minority women in congress is attributed to the Brookings Institute and a link to the website is given.

    Statistical Abstract table 2
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  8. StatAbs tables can be downloaded in Excel or PDF format.

    Statistical Abstract download options
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  9. StatAbs is easy to cite. APA Style and MLA Style citations are provided for each table. For additional citation help, contact the Reference Desk or the Writing Center.

Use Statistical Abstract of the United States as the go-to resource for benchmarking measurements about imports, exports, public finance, shipping, gross national product, population, drug usage, day care arrangements, and more.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to a useful website or Library database, highlighting key features you should know about. If you would like more information about this resource (or any of the library’s databases), please contact us for research assistance. If you would like a demonstration of this resource for a class, please schedule a research instruction class using the instruction request form.