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Statistics and Datasets: Finding statistics

A guide on who collects statistics and datasets and where to find statistics and datasets

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It takes time to collect and publish statistics, so you may not find statistics available for the previous month or even the previous year!

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Where to find statistics?

To find statistics on the web, and in databases, search on your topic and the word statistics. For example:

  • automobile sales statistics
  • birth rate statistics
  • diabetes Australia statistics

Not all the information you find on the Internet is accurate, up-to-date and reliable so you should carefully evaluate any resources from the web.

You can find the statistical publications the library holds by searching the catalogue.
Choose your keywords and add the word statistics and the state or country you are interested in. For example:
  • cancer statistics western australia
  • mining statistics australia
  • international trade statistics

If you find a relevant item, look at the government or organisations in the author field, or terms in the topics field to use in new searches. 

To find journal articles containing statistics on a topic, search a relevant database.

In your search, you can add the terms surveys or statistics to your topic, as in these examples:

  • rural health AND surveys
  • rural AND population AND statistics
  • diabetes AND Australia AND statistics
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Who collects statistics?

Most statistics are published by national or state government agencies. This information is essential for government planning and policy making. In Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics is the largest publisher of government statistics.

Other Australian government bodies that collect and publish statistics include: the Reserve Bank of AustraliaWorkSafe, and the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW).

International organisations such as the United Nations (UN), regularly publish statistics on a number of topics such as health and economics for most countries of the world. Many countries, including Australia, contribute their statistics to international organisations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development(OECD).

Consulting the websites of these international organisations is very useful when you have to compare conditions in different countries.

Professional associations may also collect statistics. Associations including the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), and Engineers Australia collect statistics on industry topics such as the labour force.

Statistics can be collected by special interest groups and researchers. For example the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Research Centre for Injury Studies at Flinders University.

Organisations and individuals can publish statistics in single reports, conference papers, journal articles or on their Web sites. A student may publish survey results in their thesis.

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