Sociology 002 Social Problems (Mendoza): Statistics

Research Paper

RAND Institute

Statistics are your hard facts that will usually make your point across well in a speech.  The key thing to remember is that you need to make sure where you get your statistics is from a reliable source such as from the U.S. government Census Bureau or a well-renowned non-profit organization such as the Rand Institute.  


CA Statistics--from ACS

DATA Planet Database

This database pulls data sets (raw data) from several different sources, including the American Community Survey, and creates your own statistical charts on the fly!

Link to DATA Planet

American Community Survey (ACS)

DATA from the American Community Survey is available through DATA Planet:

The American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the United States Census Bureau provides estimates of the characteristics of the population over a specific time period. The ACS collects data from the 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico.

Each year the survey produces data pooled to produce 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year estimates for geographic areas in the US and Puerto Rico, ranging from neighborhoods to congressional districts to the entire nation.

The ACS estimates provide information about the social and economic needs of communities and are used to help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.

The Data-Planet repository holds the 5-year estimates for releases since the 2010 US Census of Population and Housing. The time periods are noted in the system by the end date of each 5-year period, as below:

  • 2010: January 1, 2006 – December 31, 2010
  • 2011: January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2011
  • 2012: January 1, 2008 – December 31, 2012
  • 2013: January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2013

Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks when searching DATA Planet Database:

  • Compare multiple data and variables by holding the Control (WINDOWS) key or Command (MAC) key and left mouse click on the multiple data series you would like to visualize. Hint: showing more than 5 data series / variables can make a visualization look messy!
  • Explore the repository by using the Search bar at the top of the screen.
  • Send your visualizations and data to colleagues, faculty & students by creating permanent links (DOIs) just below the charts. Hint: Many links are already created, just copy and paste to send to colleagues!
  • Visualization Options are available when you click on the Show Chart Options link in the middle menu bar.
  • View the underlying data by clicking on the Show Data link in the middle menu bar.
  • Find related data by clicking on the subject links in the descriptions below the visualizations.