Data Sources for Journalists
Statistical Abstract of the US
A compilation of statistical tables from various government agencies. It shows which agency produces the info you want.
New York State Statistical Yearbook
Similar resource to the US Stat Abstract, but for NY State.
The Almanac of NYC (print only)
Basic statistics and information for NY City. Located in Journalism Library Reference: F128.3 .A455 2008
Intro to this Guide
- Are you looking for statistics or for data?
- What is the topic or subject?
- What is the unit of analysis?
- What geography do you wish to consider? (country, state, city, neighborhood, etc.)
- Are there time contraints (a range of years, monthly, quarterly, annually)?
For more information on these questions and how to answer them, see the Finding Data (for Journalists) Guide.
New York City Data Maps
NY City Map (from DoITT): Map a neighborhood or intersection, then find nearby subway stops, schools, hospitals, police precincts, and more (user guide here). Also shows municipal boundaries like community districts & census tracts. Other city data maps include:
NYC OpenData: Data from various city agencies is gathered on this page. It’s a great place to start, but it's not comprehensive; not every agency posts all their data here.
Dept. of City Planning
NYC Department of City Planning >> Reference >> Population
The NYC DCP has great information on population change and demographic information on New Yorkers, including the foreign-born population of New York. (Data drawn from Census Bureau.)
- Community Data Portal (summary of census statistics for community districts, includes census tract maps)
- Population Page
- Basic Population Info (from ACS)
- Social Characteristics (Foreign-born, nativity of recent immigrants)
- Population Change (Immigration / Migration)
How many people live in your beat neighborhood? How many are on public assistance? How many have asthma? What are the crime statistics? Immigration trends? Answer these questions and more with this collection of statistics about NYC. The data can be retrieved by community district number or neighborhood name, covers demographic, health, and socio-economic variables, and in many cases is available for multiple years, which lets you chart trends. Select Area Profile to begin your data retrieval.
American FactFinder (Census Bureau)
From the U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder is a tool that allows you to build custom searches using existing data tables from the Census Bureau’s many surveys, including the Decennial Census, American Community Survey (ACS), the Economic Census, and more.
This database helps you visually analyze demographic information of the United States through the use of interactive maps and data reports. Explore thousands of historical data maps, from the first US Census in 1790 to the present. Click on the Maps tab to begin using a vast collection of interactive maps.
Counting Undocumented Immigrants
Here's a great article on this topic from Pew Research, who has a respected estimate on the undocumented population:
Unauthorized Immigrants: How Pew Research Counts Them and What We Know About Them
Counting the Homeless
HOPE (Homeless Outreach Population Estimate) NYC
Each year, this volunteers from this group count unsheltered people in parks, subways, and other public spaces. This is a helpful parallel to the shelter population statistics (above).
NYC Department of Education: Data
Enrollment, quality review reports, & HS graduations. Available by city, borough, & each school. Most popular items: graduation results, school demographics and accountability snapshot.
From WNYC and The New York Times, news and data about schools in NYC.
Looking for the value of a specific property, want to check if a building owner has paid their taxes, or view sales data for a neighborhood? Check the links below for ways to pull up property data for New York City.
NYC Dept. of Buildings
Use the DOB's Buildings Information System to find actions (including new building permits), complaints, violations, alterations, CoOs, # buildings on lot, tax block/lot, landmark status, zoning documents, etc. Can also look up a block (or community district) for new buildings or alterations.
- Looking for data on a specific property?
- Looking for data for a neighborhood or borough?
Census Data on Housing
The Census Bureau provides lots of property information including: monthly housing costs (rent or mortgage), home values, rent vs. own, vacancy rates, and more in the ACS (American Community Survey). You can access this data through a variety of tools:
NYC Dept. of Planning – Land Use
Research Guide to NYC Buildings (from Columbia’s Avery Library)
Justice, Law, & Public Safety
FBI Crime Statistics (by county/borough)
These are compiled from NYPD weekly reports. The NYPD do not archive their data online, although weekly stats (by precinct or borough) are available at: NYPD CompStats (Weekly Crime Reports). For Port Authority crime data (Port Authority has its own police force), see the New Jersey Crime Reports.
NY OpenData: Index Crimes by County & Agency (1990-2011)
Reports total number per type of crime, per year, per county (borough-level info).
Relevant NYC Crime Reports:
- Mayor’s Management Report: Police (FY 2013)
- NYPD Crime and Enforcement Activity (annual report): These reports include citywide statistics on race/ethnicity of victims, suspects, and those arrested, as well as a census of NYPD officers.
- NYPD Report: Murder in New York City: Contains some information on gang-related murders (citywide).
- Report on alternatives to incarceration
- Criminal Justice Indicator Report 2013 (by borough)
Bureau of Justice Statistics (federal level)
Provides statistics and surveys of inmate populations, prison facilities, expenditures, deaths in custody, victims of crimes, and more.
NYS Dept. of Corrections & Community Supervision (state level)
- Report on reentry of the incarcerated
Intro to NY Courts
Great introduction to New York State and City courts, including their jurisdictions, claim amounts handled, etc. To find out where court decisions are published for each court, see the NYU Law Library Guide to NY Court System.
Some decisions (completed cases) can be found in LexisNexis Academic, others in the online NY Court Reporters. If the case isn't covered in either, you may need to go to the Law Library and use either the print Reporters, LexisNexis Pro, or a similar resource.
New York State Statistical Yearbook
Voter registrations, political party enrollment, & votes cast in presidential election by county (borough).
CQ Press: Political Reference
Info on congress, voting & elections, and other political information. Federal level.
Research Guides for Government Documents @ Columbia
Federal Election Commission
The FEC administers and enforces the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), which governs the financing of federal elections. Campaign finance information is available, through the Disclosure Data Search, searchable by individual contributors, committee contributors/recipients, and candidate name.
NYC Campaign Finance Board provides provides a searchable contribution database, information on the Campaign Finance Program, a Voter's Guide, and more.
Campaign Finance Guide (Columbia Libraries)
Directory listing of U.S. businesses, searchable by county, NAICS, business type, and more.
Bloomberg Terminal (1 @ Journalism, 7 @ Business, 1 @ Lehman)
Provides current and historical financial quotes, business newswires, and descriptive information on over 52,000 companies worldwide. For help, see: Bloomberg Help Guide
Source for news, company profiles, and SEC filings. Also has state & federal case law.
Profiles national & local economies/businesses (e.g. number of employees, value of sales, etc.).
Business Research Guides (Columbia Libraries)
The Foundation Center
Foundation Directory: search for 990s, company and grant-maker info, grants, and more.
ProPublica Nonprofit Explorer (find 990s)
Lists all sorts of associations (non-profits, religious, and otherwise) at the local, regional, national, and international levels. Search by subject, association name, or location.
Nonprofit Organizations Subject Guide (Columbia Libraries)
Economics & Employment
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Reports the unemployment rate, wages, and consumer price index (CPI).
- Research publications
- The FE Briefs are good source for charts, particularly on bank accounts & credit card use.
- Reports the economic accounts (GDP, etc.) for the United States.
- Regional information
Commuter Data (Census Bureau)
- The ACS (American Community Survey) shows what kind of transportation people take to work, and their average commute time (in minutes). You can find this data using American FactFinder, the "economic characteristics" tables in DCP's Community Portal, or InfoShare Online.
- Residence County to Workplace County Flows -- This Census Bureau product shows commuting patterns, aka "residence to workplace flows."
- A related information product is the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program.
- Traffic reports (moving summonses) and vehicle collisions ares provided by borough or precinct (collisions also report the intersection).
- Data feeds (various)
- Motorists, traffic, parking
- Bicyclists (ridership, risks, crash data, bike map)
- Ferries & buses
- Infrastructure (bridges, streets, signs, signals)
MTA/LIRR Public Transit Data:
Port Authority of NY & NJ
- Weekly traffic alerts & advisories
- Overview of PA facilities & services
- Studies & reports
- Port Authority police
- PA commuting & traveling
- Motor vehicle crash statistics: injuries & deaths
Other Transportation Data:
- NYC Open Data (transportation)
- Open NY Data Portal (state data, usually by county/borough)
- Vehicle repair shops & inspection stations, electric cars registered, popular vehicle makes/bodies, etc.
- NYS DMV (motor vehicle crashes, vehicle registration, drivers)
- Safe NY