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Historical statistics

What's in this guide

This guide covers historical statistics and data, primarily before the mid-20th century. Keep in mind that the farther back you go, the more likely that the information you need may not exist, either because it was never collected, or because it has not survived. That said, there's a surprising amount of information available, and a thorough search for relevant sources can take time.

This guide focuses on sources for statistics that answer a simple question, like "how many people were living in the United States in 1820?" or "what was the average price of wheat in France in 1790?" If you are looking for downloadable data sets that can be manipulated with statistical software (such as SPSS, SAS or Stata), please see Data below and Data and Statistical Services for more help.

Thanks to Bobray Bordelon and Susan White, whose earlier guides on this topic were the inspiration and source for this guide.

Related guides

For current statistical information, see:

Finding Data -- Politics Research