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Database of the Month: Statistical Abstract of the United States

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is the authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. The site provides data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, other Federal agencies, and private organizations. 

The online database provides statistics published or compiled between 2013-present. Statistical Abstracts 1878-2012 can be viewed and downloaded by individual year via the Census Bureau website.

Searching and Viewing Statistical Data

Statistical Abstract offers two methods of searching:

  • Search by keyword using the box at the top of the page (and choosing from available annual editions from the drop-down menu, if desired)
  • Browse the data tables by choosing among 31 topical links on the left side of the page. 

Both methods of searching provide ways to filter your results, such as dates covered, information source, subject, and more.

Tables often present data enabling the user to make comparisons and draw conclusions about a subject. For example, Table 1167 presents data on units sold (volume) and retail and wholesale revenues (value) in five-year increments between 2000 and 2015 and annually from 2016-2020:

Table 1167 Recorded Music Industry Volume and Value

The following broad conclusions can be made by looking at the data:

  • The total number of units in both physical and digital formats peaked in the 2010 range, and has steadily fallen since then
  • Over the last 10 years, the value of albums on compact disk (CD) have fallen and not recovered, while vinyl LPs were in steep decline in 2010, but have resurged over time
  • The volume of permanent digital downloads has declined over the past five years, while streaming subscriptions have steadily risen
  • In 2020, digital formats far outpace physical formats in value, and paid streaming subscriptions are the top source of revenue.

Pointers to the original source(s) are provided below the table, as well as footnotes providing more information about data points and calculations. 

Users may also download data in Excel and PDF formats, as well as APA and MLA Style citations and permanent URLs for each data table, from the individual table page.

View Help Files and Request Database Assistance

Click the Guide button in the upper right corner of the page to view a research guide containing video tutorials and how-to documents. Assistance with reading the data tables can be accessed via the Help link in the same location.

If you prefer, Bentley librarians can assist you. See our Bentley Library Research Help page for details.

Connect to the Database

Please visit our Databases A-Z page and click Statistical Abstract of the U.S. to begin your search. This database can also be viewed in the Consumers, Economics & Finance, Marketing, and Politics & Government subject lists on the A-Z page.

Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to useful library databases, highlighting key features you should know about. If you would like more information about this resource (or any of the library’s databases), please contact us for research assistance. If you would like a demonstration of these resources for a class, please schedule a research instruction class using the instruction request form.