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The Government Domain: Click-and-Print State Profiles

By Peggy Garvin, Published on September 28, 2007

Government websites offer a wealth of government-collected data. As the web has matured, the government has offered this data in a growing number of interactive formats. Users can generate custom reports online, map data, and download full or partial data sets for use with their own software. This is wonderful, but sometimes donít you just want to click and print? Or, if particularly ambitious, click and copy and paste?

Various federal government agencies make canned "state profiles", tables of data for a specific state, available on their sites. These tables are quick and easy; you just need to know where to find them. The government statistics portal FedStats.gov is the logical place to start. FedStats has a section called MapStats, which is something like a portal for state profiles. Click on your state on the big MapStats clickable map, and you will get a table of data for that state with a column of the parallel national statistics for comparison.

The MapStats point-and-click menu
The MapStats point-and-click menu
Portion of the MapStats profile for Iowa
Portion of the MapStats profile for Iowa

The MapStats statistics come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Agricultural Statistics Service, National Center for Health Statistics, and Census Bureau. Each state profile has three sections: People (population and housing statistics), Business (person income, business ownership, and more), and Geography (land area and population density). Each line of data has a "?" icon leading to more information about the source and nature of the data, helpful for checking if the MapStats number is the most current available. MapStats offers similar tables for counties, cities, and state and federal judicial districts. For congressional districts, MapStats links to the Census site Fast Facts for Congress. Should your needs go beyond click-and-print, you can download the MapStats database.

A few other notable state profiles from federal government websites are:

NCES bar chart comparing Pupil/Teacher Ratio
NCES bar chart comparing Pupil/Teacher Ratio
Portion of the State Energy Profile for Washington State
Portion of the State Energy Profile for Washington State

Each of the sources cited above provide excellent documentation and most have links to further, detailed data and more sophisticated data applications. Profiles do not tell the entire story, but every so often you may just want to click and print.