Answered By: Carol Byrne
Last Updated: Aug 29, 2016     Views: 116

First, I want to point out that this question & answer pertain only to numeric data in a table/database format and spatial data in a table or GIS format.

Second, before reading on, please make sure you have indeed perused through the sources detailed in the GIS: Geospatial & Numeric Data guide.

Third, here are the best data sources I am currently aware of for locating those more difficult or more obscure datasets.

  • ICPSR (UT Arlington Only)
    • ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.
    • Please note that most ICPSR datsets are provided as SPSS and/or SAS tables and scripts.  Emory University Library maintains guides to import ICPSR data at their Electronic Data Center.
  • DataFerrett
    • DataFerrett is a data mining tool providing extraction access to a large variety of Census datasets.
    • There are some amazing nuggets of data hidden away here.  
  • Simply Map (UT Arlington Only)
    • While many would classify Simply Map as a 'standard' or popular data source, the Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI) dataset within Simply Map contains a variety of obscure variables.
    • "Survey of the American Consumer collects information on adult consumers' media choices, product usage, demographics, lifestyle and attitudes."
  • iPoll (UT Arlington Only)
    • iPOLL is the largest archives of public opinion polls with over 500,000 questions and answers asked in the U.S. since 1935.
    • Topics include: economic issues/policy; education; elections, political parties/figures; government institutions; health issues; international affairs; news media/coverage; personal characteristics, beliefs, and lifestyles; polls and polling; science & technology; social issues; and U.S. defense & foreign policy. Also included are several thousand polls taken in some 70 foreign countries with emphasis on Latin America.
    • This database can be quite fun to explore.  Go ahead and search for something obscure and see what you come up with.