Overview of Data Resources at Harvard

The data collections in Harvard libraries have major strengths in economic and financial information, public opinion and survey polls, health data, inter-governmental organizations' (IGO) data, U.S. and foreign census data, and statistical compendia from the U.S. and foreign governments. Below, we've highlighted major data e-resources.

Like other library items, statistical publications are identified by searching HOLLIS. Adding a word like "statistics" or "data" or "census" to your other search terms can sometimes help surface this information.

  • Data searching often requires considerable digging, and sometimes the assistance of a librarian with data expertise can save you time (and frustration). Data questions should be sent to this address: govdocs@fas.harvard.edu. Librarians the email account throughout the workday.

The library also provides a set of data research guides, covering  economics, education, FDI, Health, IGOs, Public Opinion, Trade, and the US Census.

Quick Links for Finding Data


  • ProQuest Statistical Insight: this database compiles its contents -- on an endless variety of measurable topics -- from the statistical publications of 200 federal agencies, 50 state governments, 100 international intergovernmental organizations, and 500 private and academic sources. Materials published before 2000, when they are not available in full-text directly through this e-resource, can generally be accessed in print or microfiche in Government Documents, on Level B in Lamont Library. 

Political Risk/Regional analyses and data

  • CountryData.com: produced by the PRS Group, the data contained here is drawn from two risk methodologies: "Political Risk Services" and the "International Country Risk Guide Ratings (ICRG Ratings)". CountryData.com provides over 75 country risk-related variables including political, economic, financial and government stability. It also includes domestic and international economic indicators, social indicators, ICRG Risk Ratings and Coplin-O'Leary Forecasts. Coverage dates as far back as 1984.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU): a suite of e-resources which provides data and analysis of macroeconomic factors, country risk, political information, business operating procedures, and risk projections for 200 countries.
  • Migration Policy Institute Data Hub: an independent, non-partisan think-tank in Washington DC, MPI provides analysis, development, and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national, and international levels. The Data Hub showcases the most current national and state-level demographic, social, and economic facts about immigrants to the US; as well as stock, flow, citizenship, net migration, and historical data for countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania. 

Public Opinion

  • Americas Barometer: also known as the Latin American Public Opinion Project, this e-resource provides access to the data from regularly conducted, multi-country surveys of democratic values and behaviors in the Americas. Surveys have measured system support, political tolerance, citizen participation, local government, corruption, and views on authoritarianism for the Americas. Coverage begins in 2004.
  • Gallup Brain: a searchable compendium of U.S. public opinion data, together with questionnaires, collected since 1935.
  • Polling the Nations: a compilation of more than 14,000 surveys conducted by over 1000 polling organizations in the United States and 100 other countries from 1986 to the present time.Each record provides a question asked and the responses given. Also included is the polling organization responsible for the poll, the sample size and the date the poll was released.
  • Roper Center for Public Opinion: provides access to summary-level (aggregate) and micro-level (raw) public opinion data. While the data collection focuses strongly on summary level United States public opinion (iPoll), it also includes growing collections of micro-level European, Latin American (Latin American Databank) and Japanese (JPOLL) public opinion. The Roper Center resources require users to set up (free) individual accounts in order to gain access to the data.

IGO and NGO data

  • IMF e-Library: provides access to the International Monetary Fund resources: International Financial Statistics, Balance of Payments, Government Finance Statistics, and Direction of Trade Statistics. Provides coverage on a number of topics including exchange rates, international liquidity, international banking, interest rates, prices, production, international transactions, government accounts, and national accounts.
  • OECD iLibrary: provides online access to the many publications and databases put out by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Publications include country studies, forecasting publications, reports, periodicals, and socio-economic databases. Topics covered include agriculture, developing economies, education, employment, energy, environment, migration, social issues, and sustainable development.
  • UNdata: a resource from the United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, providing access to major UN statistical databases and those of several international organizations, through a single entry point. Over 60 million data points cover a wide range of subjects including agriculture, crime, education, employment, energy, environment, health, HIV/AIDS, human development, industry, information and communication technology,national accounts, population, refugees, tourism, trade, as well as the Millennium Development Goals indicators. Other useful UN Statistics resources are listed on our UN Research Guide.

  • World Bank Databases: provides access to a wide range of World Bank data including World Development Indicators, Global Development Finance, and Africa Development Indicators. Data includes social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators.