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Social Welfare Research Toolkit: Data/Stats

Resources for research in Social Welfare.

Starting Points

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a great compilation of national statistics from many sources -- government and private. It also is used as an index, or finding tool, to find the source of the statistics.

The Green Book is the standard reference for social policy and federal entitlement programs. It includes descriptions of the programs and historical data on a wide variety of social and economic topics. 

The U.S. Census Bureau provides local, state and national statistics relating to poverty, educational attainment, overcrowded housing, single parent families, grandparents raising grandchildren, etc. Much of the data can be "cross-tabulated" by another variable such as race/ethnicity, gender, immigrant status, language or age. American FactFinder is the main entry point. We've created a guide to finding poverty-related census data.

Looking for data about children? Kids Count Data Center from Annie E. Casey provides additional data not covered in Factfinder -- such as rate of substantiated child abuse and number of hours of television watched. You can drill down on some of the indicators to county and city level data.

Social Welfare Statistics: California

State of California statistics
The State of California provides a number of sources of statistics on state social service programs. Links to selected social services programs are below. For others, go to websites for the respective state departments and look for tabs on research, data, publications or statistics.

California Department of Social Services
CalFresh (Food stamps), CalWORKS (welfare), children’s programs, community licensing, disability programs

Department of Health Care Services
Medi-Cal, public health statistics, American Indian health, health care stats, women’s health, etc. includes reports.

Department of Mental Health 
Reports and statistics on mental health, mental illness, Medi-Cal trends, Mental Health Services Act, etc.

California Department of Public Health
Statistics and data on family health, infant health, vital statistics, adolescent sexual health, etc.

Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development 
Statewide and county statistics on health care services, hospices, long-term care, hospitalization, etc.

RAND California
User-generated statistics for California from the RAND Corporation. “Health and socioeconomic statistics” section includes statistics on AIDS, child abuse, substance abuse, health care, food stamps, welfare, SSI and OASDI, and more.

Child welfare dynamic report system
Collaboration of California Department of Social Services and UC Berkeley. Presents detailed, dynamically-generated statistics on child welfare cases, outcomes, services, and more.


Statistical datasets

A number of sites offer datasets that may be downloaded and manipulated using standard statistical applications such as SPSS, SAS or STATA.

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research Consortium of 325 institutions working together to acquire and preserve social science data in 130 countries. Includes survey data, census records, election returns, economic data, and legislative records.

National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging Located within ICPSR, funded by the National Institute on Aging. Offers data relevant to gerontological research.

Social Science Data Archives - North America Directory for datasets in the social sciences.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA) Public use data files for substance abuse and mental health research.

UCDATA UC Berkeley's principal archive of social science data and statistics. Presents statistical datasets covering many social science areas, plus reports and statistical analyses.

Data services at UC Berkeley

Social Welfare Statistics: National

The following websites provide data and statistics related to social welfare. Look for a "search tips" link on each site for the best practice in finding data with the website's search features. Many websites also include reports based on data offered on the site.


Administration on Aging
Statistics compiled by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. Includes profiles of older Americans, census data, minority aging, indicators of well-being, and access to the Aging Integrated Database (AGID).

AgeSource / AgeStats Worldwide
Information about aging issues around the world by the American Association of Retired Persons. AgeStats Worldwide provides comparative statistical data and includes projections to 2050. AgeSource offers international resources that include clearinghouses, libraries, databases, major reports, web metasites, and more.
Produced by the Federal Inter-agency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics. Gateway to statistics on aging, Medicare, housing, Social Security, veterans’ affairs, census, etc.

All American Community Survey (ACS) tables cross-tabulated by age -- compiled by the Missouri Census Data Center.

Local level (non census), age-related data index from the Missouri Census Data Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – provide county-level data on death including single-year age, 5-year and 10-year age groups, single underlying cause, multiple causes, and demographics from CDC WONDER’s Multiple Causes of Death database.

Feeding America – food insecure people and food insecurity rates by county population are estimated annually in Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap Report.

Health Resources & Services Administration – HRSA provides estimates of current and future health care workforce across care providers and occupational categories, as well as monitors geographical areas of the state designated for shortages of care or as high need (HPSAs).

U.S. Department of Agriculture – the annual USDA Food Insecurity in the United States report includes estimates of food insecurity and very low food security for states.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – three HUD sources provide data for measures of the availability and condition of housing for older adults as well as homelessness risk.

U.S. Veterans Administration – the VA National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics30 publishes data on the veteran population of each state.

Child Welfare

Child Statistics Data Center
Helpful information about who produces what data including demographics, economics, health care, physical environment, education, behavior and health of children in the US.

Focused on California communities, from the Lucile Packard Foundation -- great compilation of health and other well-being indicators. Unique data on homelessness.

Child Trends Databank
Child Trends is a nonprofit, non-partisan research center offering research and statistics on child well-being, including statistics on poverty, child welfare, education, parenting, and a number of other issues related to children and families.

Child welfare dynamic report system
Collaboration of California Department of Social Services and UC Berkeley. Presents detailed, dynamically-generated statistics on child welfare cases, outcomes, services, and more.

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Rich website with statistics and research on many key child welfare issues, including child and family well-being, child abuse and neglect, foster care and adoption, and child welfare outcomes. Also provides links to policies, law, reports and analyses on child welfare issues.

Kids Count Data Center
Produced by Annie E. Casey Foundation. Data Center allows dynamically-generated statistics by state and some smaller geographies such as city and congressional district. Includes publications and other resources.

Administration for Children and Families Data and Research
From the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Statistics cover adoption and foster care; child abuse; child welfare; community services block grants; Head Start; TANF and welfare reform; refugee resettlement, and more. Also includes resources on policy, legislation, research, and publications addressing child and family welfare issues

Incarceration Data Toolbox

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Mental health

Mental Disorders in America
Mental health data from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health. Covers types of disorders, populations, use of mental health services and treatment, cost, and more.

Public Assistance

Green Book: Background Material and Data on Major Programs
Produced by the US House Committee on Ways and Means. Contains statistics, historical, and legislative analyses on federal assistance programs such as OASDI, SSI, TANF, child welfare, supplemental nutrition, and Medicare.

Food and Nutrition Service
Data and statistics on USDA nutrition assistance programs, including child nutrition programs; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps); Women, Infants and Children, and more. Website also includes links to policies, regulations, and legislation on food security.

Social Security Administration Statistics
Program statistics and data files on programs covered by the Social Security Administation (Disability, SSI, OASI, Medicare, etc.). Includes statistics on socioeconomic characteristics, demographics, geographic information, and more for workers covered under Social Security and Medicare.

Public Health

Health, United States
Annual report from the Centers for Disease Control on national health trends. Includes data on demographic populations, disability, child and adolescent health, education, health expenditures, older populations, poverty, preventive care, and more.

National Center for Health Statistics
Produced by a division of the Centers for Disease Control. Statistics on diseases and conditions, health care and insurance, injuries, vital statistics, drug use, smoking, etc. Includes links to research publications and data archives.

Office of Minority Health Data & Statistics
Data and statistics page of the Office of Minority Health, US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Includes statistical profiles of African-Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Latinos, and others. Also has links to other resources on issues related to minority health.

Additional links to statistical resources on public health may be found at the Library's Health Statistics & Data guide.

Social work

Statistics on social work education
Statistics about social work education programs in the United States. Compiled by the Council on Social Work Education

Substance abuse

Substance abuse and mental health statistics
Produced by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), US Department of Health and Human Services. Contains statistics on alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug use, mental health, treatment, prevention, attitudes, violence, etc.