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Last Updated: May 15, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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About This Guide

This guide provides Canadian, U.S., and international sources for statistics and data.

General, comprehensive sources can be found by geography (e.g., General Sources - Canada and General Sources - U.S. and International).

More specific sources can be found under Sources by Subject... .

Not finding what you need? Please contact us.



The Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) makes available specific datasets and files, including public use microdata files (PUMFs), to subscribing Canadian post-secondary institutions. The annual subscription fee allows faculty, students, and staff at these institutions unlimited access to these files for research and academic purposes. (DLI Licence

Access these files directly via ODESI.

Read more about the DLI.


2011 National Household Survey (NHS) web module 'wrap-up' home page released

From Statistics Canada:

"The 2011 Census Program Dissemination Project is pleased to announce the official release of the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) web module 'wrap-up' home page.
The 2011 NHS web module home page has been updated to present information from all three of the 2011 NHS major releases and also provides some additional functionality and 'doorways' into the NHS information holdings. It continues to conform to the Government of Canada's website standards for layout, design and accessibility.
The 'wrap-up' home page provides links in the right-hand side bar to find NHS data by geography and by topic. It now also includes the new 'By variable' search (A to Z list) which is based on the definitions within the NHS Dictionary. This feature allows users to access key products (i.e., NHS Profile, Focus on Geography Series and Data Tables) based on variable selection. The user is presented with a link to the selected definition within the NHS Dictionary and the key products (noted above) that contain the selected variable are listed. The videos developed for each NHS release (presented on a rotating basis), along with 'Other links,' also remain in the right-hand side bar.
The centre portion of the page continues to promote 'NHS news.' The 'Analytical products' box now presents all NHS topics. The 'Data products' box now includes all NHS data products including the Aboriginal Population Profile. The 'Reference products' box lists the core reference products and provides a link to additional reference products/materials.
The 'Did you know …' section at the bottom of the page now includes a link to the main analytical document associated with each highlight presented on a random basis."


Data vs Statistics vs Information

These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different, as shown in the following table.

Table: Movie Rentals per Month by University Students

2, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, etc. average number of rentals: 2.5 20 university students rent fewer than 5 movies per month
10, 15, 12, 14, 18, etc. average number of rentals: 14 20 university students rent more than 10 movies per month


Statistics are generally presentation-ready; Data will need to be manipulated in order for it to be meaningful.


What are Statistics?

According to Statistics Canada, statistics refers to "a type of information obtained through mathematical operations on numerical data" (Statistics: Power from Data!).

Examples of statistics include:

  • the median income of people in a city
  • the average number of children per family in a neighbourhood
  • the average temperature over the past week

What are Data?

Yes, "data" is plural! (singular form: datum)

According to Statistics Canada, data are "the raw material from which information is obtained" or the "facts or figures from which conclusions can be drawn" (Statistics: Power from Data!)

Examples of data include

  • the individual income levels of every person in a city
  • the actual number of children per family for each family in the neighbourhood
  • the temperature, taken at hourly intervals, during a one-week period

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Agnes Zientarska-Kayko and Sandra Keys
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Have a favourite statistics or data source? Found one which answered your questions? Let us know! (Please note that addition of sources is at the discretion of your librarians)


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