A drum-roll please. There's been a lot of change on the web in the past two
years, since we first chose EconData's top ten websites for regional socioeconomic data. When we started out, we counted only a little more than 100
topical websites; today we list over 600. Choosing the top ten keeps getting
But with the help of our loyal users and based on our own careful review of the
best of the best, we've come up with our new top ten list. You'll find some old
favorites, and new upstarts. Even though many of our listings are veteran
sites, nobody remained on the top ten list by standing still. All our classic
sites have made major technological changes to make finding the data you need
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are the EconData.Net top
ten websites for regional socioeconomic data.
-Bureau of the Census. The largest of the big three federal statistical
agencies is an obvious choice for the ten best. While you might want to find
your way around the Site using Census' encyclopedic alphabetical listing of
contents, more and more, we recommend that users go directly to the American
Fact Finder, which is increasingly used to provide access to all the major
Census data series:
-Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS provides a wealth of information on employment
and wages, and while it once took enormous patience to find the data you needed,
BLS may be one of the most improved websites on the top ten list. We especially
like their new "Economy at a Glance" page for getting an integrated set of BLS
data by state and metro area.
-Bureau of Economic Analysis. BEA's extensive time series data and comprehensive income accounts are a vital tool for regional analysts. BEA
continues to make major improvements to their website:
-Dismal Scientist. Who says there isn't a free lunch. Dismal Scientist excels
at generating current cross-sectional state and metro rankings from a variety of
data sources. We recommend EconData users go straight to the regional analysis
-GeoStat. The Geospatial and Statistical Data Center at the University of
Virginia is an excellent guide to a variety of federal data series, with a easy
to use interface for selecting and downloading data. If you're starting out,
and want one site with a similar approach to disparate data series, go here:
-RECON. The Regional Conditions page produced by the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation is one of the handiest web-pages we've seen for quickly finding and
charting regional economic data. You'll find access to employment, financial
and real estate data for states, counties and metropolitan areas. Very easy to
-FedStats. The federal government produces a cornucopia of data, and while much
of what the government does is highly de-centralized, your best one-stop guide
to federal statistics is FedStats, which offers an alphabetic listing of federal
data, clickable maps for state and local data profiles, and a directory of
federal data-producing agencies.
-State of The Cities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has
worked with other federal statistical agencies to produce special data runs on a
number of economic performance indicators for central cities and their suburbs.
Their report on the State of the Cities is excellent, but data hounds will find
the companion website a tremendous resource for quickly getting comparative data
on metro economies.
-Economagic. Economagic continues to do its special bit of magic: quickly
generating time-series charts of state, county and metro employment data, and
providing easy access to a wide range of other data as well.
-The Association of University Business and Economic Researchers is one of those
organizations we suggest everybody get to know. Your local AUBER member is
often an insightful observer and invaluable resource on your regional economy.
Every state has its own experts and specialized data collections. The fastest
way to find them is AUBER's state-by-state directory of resources, at:
A perennial question in policy debates is the role of new and rapidly growing
smaller businesses in the creation of new jobs. Most published economic
statistics don't allow researchers to easily analyze growth trends by industry
size class. One comprehensive source of such data for states and metropolitan
areas is the SBA Economic Statistics and Research page. Here you'll find Excel
spreadsheets with detailed data on employment and sales by firm size class and
major industry category through 1997. Visit:
Housing prices are a key economic indicator of regional economic health and
performance. Housing prices are also the major source of inter-regional
variations in the cost of living. A new, extremely comprehensive regional
housing price index has been compiled by an obscure federal agency, the Office
of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Using same-house sales data, OFHEO
compiles its own indices of state, regional and national housing prices, and
provides a wealth of information on its methodology. Visit:
A flurry of analyses have recently become available on the changing racial and
ethnic composition of the US population, and its geographic distribution. You
can chart the trends in metropolitan segregation from a variety of sources.
This months new links include:
-Racial Segregation in the 2000 Census
The Brookings Institution
Analysis of racial segregation in 291 metro areas, using Census 2000 data.
-Lewis Mumford Center, SUNY-Albany
Analysis of race and ethnicity data from 1990 and 2000 Census measuring extent of integration and segregation for 331 metro areas.
Data available for central cities, suburbs, and full metro areas.
The Mumford Center has also produced rankings of 331 metro areas in terms of
racial and ethnic integration and segregation.
-School of Policy, Planning and Development, University of Southern California
Data on prevalence and distribution of multiracial respondents to Census
2000, by state.
We've also added in data on social capital:
-Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, Kennedy School of Government,
For 39 regions, scores and discussion regarding the presence of 11 dimensions of social capital, for example, civic leadership, association
involvement, social trust, and inter-racial trust:
RefDesk, Bob Drudge's tightly-packed encyclopedic guide to all kinds of facts
and figures on the Internet, named EconData.Net its Site of the Day last month.
RefDesk does for general Internet resources what EconData tries to do for
regional economic data: give you a well-organized subject listing of the best
resources available. Thanks, Bob! You'll find RefDesk at: