Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are open! Learn more.

Social Welfare 251: Finding Data

Finding Data For Program Development

Assignment: Find data to convey community needs and strengths for program development. Where (and how) to find existing quantitative data to help determine community needs and strengths, while also thinking critically about accuracy and potential bias or omissions in the data. Main sources of publicly available data are government (federal, state and local), nonprofits and advocacy organizations, and researchers.


Neighborhood Data

The American Community Survey (ACS) via is the only nation-wide source for current poverty related data at the very local level (census tract), including housing, employment, disability, language spoken at home, citizenship and immigration, educational attainment and school enrollment. More information on working with Census and poverty data at Poverty Related Data.

PLACES: Local Data for Better Health  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allows counties, places, and local health departments regardless of population size and urban-rural status to better understand the burden and geographic distribution of health-related outcomes in their jurisdictions and assist them in planning public health interventions.

Mapping Spatial Inequality: Legal and health services in the 9-county Bay Area and includes crucial information on available language support, financial support, service restrictions, etc. From the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative (BIMI)

Strategies for Finding Data

Social Welfare Data and Statistics Toolkit (from UCB)

Don't Be This Guy!

Opportunity Atlas

The Opportunity Atlas is a very cool collaboration between the Census Bureau, Raj Chetty and Nathan Hendren from Harvard University and John Friedman from Brown University to estimate children’s outcomes in adulthood such as earnings distributions and incarceration rates by parental income, race, and gender.


PolicyMap is a (relatively!) easy-to-use mapping program that includes over 15,000 US demographic and socioeconomic data indicators from the neighborhood census block to national levels. Data about demographics and neighborhood conditions can be presented as maps, tables, charts and reports. It also lets you add specific points -- such as homeless service providers - -to the map that you create. It's also a  great way to find the census tract number for any location.

Social Explorer

Social Explorer is another database that lets you search for Census data for particular geographic areas.