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.

Database of the Month: Statistical Abstract of the United States [New Database!]

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is back! You may or may not have noticed, but this vital resource is back from hiatus with a new online publisher and provider in ProQuest. (The Statistical Abstract was previously published by the U.S. Census Bureau.) This revived database will be invaluable to students in GB320, marketing classes, and anyone who needs hard-to-find statistics. For many topic areas, this is one of the only places you’ll find information brought together in such a succinct and organized way.

The Statistical Abstract answers such questions as:

  • How much crude oil and natural gas reserves are there in each state?
  • What percentage of children enrolled in preschool in 1970 versus 2010?
  • What was the trend in honey production over the last ten years?
  • How many businesses in the U.S. are owned by minorities and women?

You can get the answers to questions like these two ways: browsing or searching.


Use the 31 sections along the side to explore statistics in different topic areas, such as Health and Nutrition, or National Security and Veterans Affairs.  (Click on the image below to enlarge it.)

Once in a section, you can look through the list of tables available (which you might prefer if you’re used to the print version), or you can narrow down the list of tables by applying filters:

  • subject
  • data source
  • date
  • geography
  • how data is broken down (e.g., race, state, industry, or income)

Filters can then be easily removed by clicking the “x” next to them.


You can also simply type in a search term, and use the same facets described in “Browse” to narrow your list of results. Below is an example of a search for the word “mortgage.” (Click on the image below to enlarge it.)



You can export entire sections or individual tables of data as Excel files or PDFs, including a citation generated for you in either MLA or APA format.

Further Information and Help

This online version of the Statistical Abstract is updated monthly. The library also collects the print edition of the Statistical Abstract, which is updated annually. Past versions – both print and electronic – can be accessed through the library’s catalog.

Click on “Guide to Statistical Sources” within the database to see a complete list of the Statistical Abstract’s data sources, from the U.S. government as well as private and international sources (for example, the UN Statistics Division and The Conference Board).

If you want to learn more, ProQuest has put together a great help guide to the new Statistical Abstract here:

The Statistical Abstract is available through the Bentley Library’s Databases A to Z listing.  For further assistance using the Statistical Abstract, please contact the Reference Desk.

Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to an important research database, highlighting key features of the database that you should know about. If you would like more information about this database (or any of the library’s databases) please Ask a Librarian. If you would like a demonstration of this database for a class, please contact our Coordinator of User Education, Elizabeth Galoozis.