Public Data Sources

There are many places to access local, state, national and international data–and many of those sources have data tools built right into their web sites to help you quickly find what you need. From U.S. Census data about the neighborhoods you serve, to federal data to compare your clients to national averages, data are everywhere. Learn more about how to use Public Data by checking out our emPower Tools!

Education Data

Data on all levels of education including Early Learning, K – 12, and Higher Education.

All Levels
  • Digest of Education Statistics : This page within the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) website includes a variety of national- level Preschool through Graduate School data and supplemental data on population, labor force, and economic trends.
  • Data.Gov (Education Specific): The education section of this site includes access to hundreds of federally-collect data on K-12 and Postsecondary education in the US.
  • Education Policy and Data Center: Provides links to data specific to education in developing countries; does not include US-specific data.
  • Kids Count Data Center: A project of the Annie E Casey Foundation, this site provides easy access to a variety of national and state-level data. It is a very easy site to navigate and a great resource for the data-novice
  • King County Best Starts for Kids Initiative (BSK): This dashboard provides a variety of social, health, and education data collected from BSK-funded programs in King County, Washington.
Early Learning
Higher Education

Health Data

Data on various health and medical measures exist at many levels, from local to international.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): A wide variety of data on various health and disease measures, including data for alcohol use, cancer, diabetes, environmental health, suicide and violence.
  • Washington State Department of Health (DOH) Center for Health Statistics: Provides access to current, high quality health data that covers deaths, births, pregnancies, abortions, behavioral risk factors and hospitalizations. These data are also used by policy makers, health professionals, community-based organizations, and researchers to understand trends, identify high-risk populations and geographic areas, set prevention priorities, and plan targeted health promotion strategies. The Center also provides data on the financial performance of Washington hospitals.
  • King County and Seattle Public Health: Provides regular, updated data on the Health of King County’s population. Data are intended to inform the community, including policy makers, medical personnel, researchers, community-based organizations, government agencies and individuals.
  • World Health Organization (WHO): A wealth of data on various health measures on a global scale. Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish.
    • Global Health Observatory (GHO): Data and analyses on global health priorities, such as maternal/newborn mortality, communicable diseases, traffic fatalities, drinking water, violence against women and more.
  • Health Data.Gov: Data on a wide range of topics, including environmental health, medical devices, Medicare & Medicaid, social services, community health, mental health, and substance abuse. The data is collected and supplied from agencies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as state partners. This includes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, among others.

U.S. Census Data

The Unites States Census Bureau is an incredible wealth of data on a wide variety of topics. Here are a few tools to wade through the data:

Languages: English, Spanish

  • U.S. Census Data: Landing page for access to U.S. Census data in many formats, including interactive web applications and data visualizations.
  • American Community Survey: A nationwide survey designed to provide communities a fresh look at how they are changing. The ACS collects information such as age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veteran status, and other important data.
  • American Housing Survey: A longitudinal housing unit survey conducted biennially in odd-numbered years. It provides current information on a wide range of housing subjects, including size and composition of the nation’s housing inventory, vacancies, physical condition of housing units, characteristics of occupants, indicators of housing and neighborhood quality, mortgages and other housing costs, persons eligible for and beneficiaries of assisted housing, home values, and characteristics of recent movers.
  • QuickFacts: State and County QuickFacts provides frequently requested Census Bureau information at the national, state, county, and city level.
Local and State

For organizations working in Seattle, King County and other parts of Washington State, using local, regional and state data to show and tell your story can be powerful.

  • City of Seattle Data: Public data for Seattle, including data on business, various community measures, education, finance, public safety, transportation and more.
  • King County Data: Public data for King County, including data on environment and waste management, health and wellness, equity and justice, safety and much more.
  • Washington State Data: Public data for Washington State, including data on health care, demographics, education, economics, labor, transportation and much more.
  • King County Communities Count: This easy-to-navigate source includes a variety of social, health, and education indicators for King County.

Crime Data

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collects data on crimes in the United States using the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Program. This includes several types of data sources and tools. Note: submitting data to the UCR is voluntary, so is not always reliable for every jurisdiction. Learn more about the limitations of the UCR here.

  • Crime Data Explorer: A new tool for exploring UCR crime data from the various databases. Allows the user to explore by geographic area or dataset. Limited information for some states, but worth exploring. Some data go back as far as 1995.
  • Crime in the United States: Database of U.S. crimes collected in the UCR as “crimes known to police.” Find crime data by city, county or state broken down by age, gender and more. Data go back to 1995.
  • National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS): Much more detailed information about each crime committed in a year. Includes data on human trafficking. Can find data from 2011 online.
  • Hate Crime Statistics: Includes data for crimes motivated by bias against the victim’s perceived race, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin as well as bias crimes committed by or directed toward juveniles. Data go back to 1996 (early years in PDF).
  • Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA): Details about officers who are killed or assaulted. Data go back to 1996 (early years in PDF).
  • Use-of-Force Data Collection: Data on use-of-force incidents in the United States. Program still being piloted; check back for any data release info.

Other sources of crime and justice data:

  • Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS): The mission of the BJS is to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.

Labor and Economic Data

Information on who is working in what industry, unemployment, and a wide variety of economic factors are all available nationally and internationally from sources such as:

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics: Data on U.S. employment, unemployment, productivity, workplace injuries, wages, prices and more.
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis: Data on U.S. Gross Domestic Produce (GDP), Consumer Spending, Prices and Inflation and more.
  • International Monetary Fund: Data on all sorts of economic measures on a global scale, including economic projections by region.
  • Economic Surveys and Programs: In addition to conducting the Economic Censuses every five years, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts more than 100 economic surveys covering annual, quarterly, and monthly time periods for various sectors of the economy. These surveys measure a wide variety of economic activities, from capital expenditures for food manufacturing companies to annual auto dealership sales.

Public Opinion Data

Understanding how the average person in the U.S. feels about a topic, or tracking trends in public sentiment over time, can add impact and context to your story. These groups house data on public opinion information going back decades on a wide variety of topics.

  • Pew Research Center: A nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. Pew conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and data-driven social science research.
  • Gallup: Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.

International Data

Organizations serving immigrants and/or refugees from countries outside of the United States may benefit from data on countries of origin, or international data can also provide comparisons and context. Some international data sources include:

  • European Union (EU) Open Data Portal: Access to more than 12,000 datasets from various EU agencies and governments.
  • Gapminder: An independent Swedish foundation with no political, religious or economic affiliations. Gapminder is a fact tank, not a think tank. Gapminder fights devastating misconceptions about global development. Gapminder produces free teaching resources making the world understandable based on reliable statistics. Gapminder promotes a fact-based worldview everyone can understand.  Gapminder collaborates with universities, UN, public agencies and non-governmental organizations.
  • International Monetary Fund: Data on all sorts of economic measures on a global scale, including economic projections by region.
  • Open Data UK: Open source UK data on economic measures, environment, education, crime and justice, cities, social measures, transportation and more.
  • Unicef: Data impacting children and women globally, including data on water, sanitation, hygiene, child disabilities, child health, child nutrition, education, gender equality and much more.
  • World Bank: The World Bank has global development data, including data on poverty and debt, along with population data.
  • World Factbook: Compiled by the CIA, The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, energy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, a World Oceans map, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
  • World Health Organization (WHO): A wealth of data on various health measures on a global scale. Languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish.
    • Global Health Observatory (GHO): Data and analyses on global health priorities, such as maternal/newborn mortality, communicable diseases, traffic fatalities, drinking water, violence against women and more.

Environmental Data

Data on climate and environmental harms can help make the case that your neighborhood needs environmental justice. Various government agencies and NGOs collect environmental data, including:

Search Engines for Open Source and Public Data

The amount of public data online is vast. Several groups have created search engines to help you search for public data sources, including:

  • A search engine for accessing U.S. open source data on a wide variety of topics, including agriculture, climate, consumers, education, public safety, etc.
  • Google Public Data Directory: Google has a tool for exploring various public data sources from around the world.
  • Enigma Public: Thousands of public databases made searchable and free for non-commercial use.
  • Open Data Network: Wealth of data that are easy to browse, with many visualizations. Good place to find “fast facts” about topics or areas (including Seattle, King County and Washington State).