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Finding Economic Data & Statistics

Census Bureau

Logo of the United States Census BureauThe Census Bureau is an independent statistical agency whose mission is "to serve as the nation’s leading provider of quality data about its people and economy" (citation).

The Census Bureau collects valuable data about American demographics, American businesses, and the economy.

This page has information on American Fact Finder, the Census Bureau's main search tool, and some major economic and business surveys conducted by the Census Bureau.

For a complete list of all Census Bureau surveys and programs, use the Our Surveys and Programs link. 

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.

This platform is a single-source for accessing the majority of the data produced by the Census Bureau, including data tables and visualizations. It will replace American Fact Finder as the Census Bureau's primary tool after June 2019. 

Data sources in

American Community Survey, County Business Patterns, Decennial Census, Economic Census, Non-Employer Statistics, & the Survey of Business Owners.

American Fact Finder

American Fact Finder is the Census Bureau's search engine for many different datasets that they produce.

  • The Community Facts search lets you search demographic and economic information by state, county, city, town, or zip code.
  • The Guided and Advanced Searches help you find data by topic and individual data tables. 

Data in American Fact Finder is downloadable. 

Data in American Fact Finder will cease to be updated in June 2019. 

Data sources in American Fact Finder:

American Community Survey, American Housing Survey, Annual Economic Surveys, Annual Surveys of Governments, Census of Governments, Decennial Census, Economic Census, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation, Population Estimates Program, and Puerto Rico Community Survey. 

Economic Indicators

Census Bureau Indicators:
  • Manufacture and sales of goods
  • Sales of services
  • Housing 
  • International trade 
  • Construction spending
  • Inventories

Current release data for each is available to download as a spreadsheet, and there are links to historical data.

Economic Census

The Economic Census is the Census Bureau's most  comprehensive survey of the American economy. Undertaken every five years on years ending in 2 or 7, the Economic Census surveys about 4 million business locations to learn about their geographic location, industry type, their workforce, and their total sales in goods and services. It provides benchmark information on the economy. 

Annual Business Survey

ABS Covers:
  • Economic and demographic characteristics of business owners
  • Data on business research and development
  • Other characteristics of business establishments

The Annual Business Survey is a new Census program and replaces three previous surveys.

Historical business surveys:

Annual Survey of Manufactures

This survey covers manufacturing establishments with one or more paid employee.

ASM Covers:
  • Employment & payroll
  • Supplemental labor costs
  • Cost of materials consumed 
  • Operating expenses
  • Value of shipments
  • Value added
  • Detailed capital expenditures 
  • Fuels and energy use
  • Inventories

County Business Patterns

The County Business Patterns data is annually-updated survey of the number of U.S. business establishments, their employment, first-quarter payroll, and annual payroll. Data can be segmented by industry and geographic location.

Statistics of U.S. Businesses

This survey covers data on number of firms, number of establishments, annual payroll, and employment of U.S. businesses by geography, industry, and enterprise size.