Monday, December 05, 2005

Statistical Abstract of the United States (Reference Resource Spotlight)

How many people died of heart disease in 2002? How many juveniles were arrested for sale and manufacturing of drugs in 2002? How many homes in the US subscribe to basic cable service? How many oil spills were there on the Great Lakes in 2001? Which space shuttle mission was in orbit the longest?

Statistical Abstract of the United States (HA202 .S8) is a compilation of summarized statistics on the population and economy. It is best to begin your search for statistics by looking in the index of the most recent volume. The index is comprehensive and has many cross-references. The index will give you a table number, not page number, to look at. Statistics normally run a couple years behind the current year and you will usually find statistics for multiple decades in the tables.

Statistical Abstract is published annually by the US federal government. The most recent edition is shelved with the Ready Reference books behind the Reference Desk. Prior editions are shelved in the Reference area. An electronic edition of Statistical Abstract is available at It is a little more difficult to use than the print, because each chapter is a separate PDF file. Once again, it is best to start with the index PDF file. If you have problems finding information, please feel free to ask a librarian.