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Environmental Economics

USA Environmental Data Sources - General

In addition to many of the international environmental data sources, the following may also be used for the United States.

 EPA databases:

United States. Energy Information Administration.
Official energy statistics from the United States government on petroleum, natural gas, electricity, coal, nuclear power, renewable and alternative fuels, and the environment.

Scorecard (Environmental Defense) (offline as of June 1, 2020)
Ranks and compares the pollution situation in areas across the US. Also profiles 11,200 chemicals, making it easy to find out where they are used and how hazardous they are. See Internet Archive version.

County-level hazard loss data set for the U.S. for 18 different natural hazard events types such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and tornadoes. For each event the database includes the location (county and state), property losses, crop losses, injuries, and fatalities that affected each county. Does not include Puerto Rico, Guam, or other U.S. territories.  Includes FIPS codes.  Dates are coded for the month.

Storm Events Database. (NOAA). Currently contains data from January 1950 to October 2023, as entered by NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS). Includes locations, fatalities, injuries, damage, and exact dates.

National Interagency Fire Center.  Helps to build refuge for federal data and supports climate and environmental research and advocacy.

CDB Cities, States, and Regions Open Data Portal. Explore climate change and sustainability data from more than 1,200 city, state and regional governments.

Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: Facts and Figures 2013+.  Preceded by Municipal Solid Waste Factbook (1993-1994)  and Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: Facts and Figures (1995-2001, 2003, 2005-2012) on DSS Server.   Also included is a summary file back to 1960.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions trading data

Tracking the SunDescribes trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The latest edition of the report is based on data from roughly 2.5 million systems, covering 79% of all distributed PV systems installed nationally through year-end 2021.

USA Environmental Data Sources - Water

In addition to many of the international environmental data sources and some of the general sources mentioned above, the following may also be used for water research in the United States.

Water Use in the United States.  (USGS).
The U.S. Geological Survey maintains national digital data bases of water-use information. The data are collected and compiled every 5 years for each State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Includes data to the county level back to 1985.  Began in 1950, however Princeton does not own older reports.

Annual Water Data Reports (USGS) 1962+.   State level.

Drinking Water Data & Databases (United States Environmental Protection Agency)  
Data on safe drinking water, contaminants, and watersheds.

Water Quality Data (WQX) (United States Environmental Protection Agency) Water quality monitoring data.


University of North Carolina.  Environmental Finance Center.
Includes a large number of projects and datasets related to wetlands & watersheds, drinking water & wastewater, and many other environmental topics.

California Water Districts Web Archive

Water Rights & Resources.  Collection dedicated to understanding the complex interplay of state and federal laws that govern all aspects of water in society, from municipal use to restoring its pristine condition. Collecting congressional documents, books, legislative histories on major legislation, and Supreme Court briefs on related cases, this database touches on a wide range of water issues, including irrigation, hydropower, riparian rights, water conservation, drinking water quality, and tribal water rights, encompassing the unique water rights issues that span from the Eastern seaboard to the Great Lakes and across the arid West.

Examples of USA Environmental microdatasets

University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll (2011-2017)
Public opinion poll that measures and reports biannually (October and April) on consumer opinions and attitudes toward energy consumption, pricing, development and regulation.

Open Data Flint
Open access repository for data and data-related resources about the Flint, Michigan community. Aims to: (1) bring together data to help build the evidence base to achieve a healthier Flint community and (2) gain a deeper understanding of the far-reaching impact of the water crisis on the Flint population.

RAND Center for Population Health and Health Disparities (CPHHD) Data Core Series: Pollution, 1988-2004 [United States]
The CPHHD Data Core's central focus is on geographic measures for census tracts, counties, and Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) from 1990 and 2000. The current study, Pollution, comprises data for 3 criteria pollutants, Particulate Matter 10 ug3 (PM 10), Particulate Matter 2.5 ug3 (PM 2.5), and Ozone (O3) for 1990 and 2000, with aggregations made either to quarterly/annual (PM*) or monthly/summertime (O3), each at 3 different geographic levels of summary (tract, county (geographic), and MSA (geographic)). All data sets in the series are longitudinal, though with different periods of coverage, depending upon the pollutant. The specific available measures vary depending upon the geographic level of summarization.

Great Plains Population and Environment Data (1870-2000)
The goal was to collect information about approximately 500 counties in 12 states of the Great Plains of the United States, and then to analyze those data in order to understand the relationships between population and environment that existed between 1870-2000. The data fall into 4 broad categories: counties, agriculture, demographic and social conditions, and environment. The information about counties (name, area, identification code, and whether the county is classified as part of the Great Plains in a given year) are embedded in each of the other data files, so that there will be 3 series of data (agriculture, demographic and social conditions, and environment), with individual data files for each year for which data are available.

National Surveys on Energy and Environment [United States] (NSEE) (2008+)
Include twice per year national opinion surveys on issues directly related to climate change and energy policy, as well as other surveys conducted on a range of topics such as hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), the Great Lakes, and wider issues of energy and environment. From 2008-2012 the survey was called the "National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change" (NSAPOOC); starting in 2013 the survey was renamed to the "National Surveys on Energy and Environment" (NSEE). Although the datasets are listed by survey wave, the NSEE is a valuable source of longitudinal public-opinion data on climate change and energy policy. Many questions have been asked over multiple waves, including questions about belief in global warming that have been asked in every wave of the NSEE. Also check Open ICPSR for additional rounds.

Reducing Toxic Chemical Releases and Transfers: Explaining Outcomes for a Voluntary Program.
Relatively little is known about the possibilities and limitations of voluntary public programs. The so-called 33/50 Program for reducing releases of certain toxic chemicals into the environment provides a useful instance for examination. In an investigation of toxic-reduction efforts, with states as units of analysis, economic and policy variables help to explain results. In particular, channels and approaches used in communicating policy intentions are related to outcomes. Voluntary programs can make a difference, but the details of execution, including the extent and nature of field efforts, influence outcomes.


Interstate Hazardous Waste Shipments and Disposal Taxes.
Links the theoretical and empirical literature on inter- jurisdictional tax and regulatory competition, focusing on the case of state hazardous waste disposal taxes. It begins by demonstrating that local environmental taxes can be inefficient, and that the inefficiency depends on the tax elasticity of polluters' responses. The paper then uses panel data from the Toxic Release Inventory to estimate the magnitude of the tax elasticities, and to demonstrate the empirical relevance of the theoretical inefficiency of local taxes.

Whittier Narrows Earthquake Study, 1988
The Whittier Narrows Earthquake Study examined Los Angeles County residents' experiences during, and responses to, the Whittier Narrows Earthquake which occurred on October 1, 1987, and measured 5.9. Telephone interviews were conducted with 690 residents of Los Angeles county between October 1988 and May 1989. Information was collected on topics such as evacuation, personal property damage, disaster/emergency planning and preparedness, and respondents' psychological and emotional distress as a result of the earthquake experience. Demographic variables include gender, age, income, ethnicity, religious preference, home ownership status, education level, marital status, employment status and industry, and area of Los Angeles county where the respondent resided.

ICPSR Datasets on the environment. Includes many opinion polls on energy and the environment.

Additional DSS datasets on the environment/energy for the United States

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (IPOLL)
Includes many opinion polls on energy and the environment.