Skip to Main Content

Data and Statistics: Key Data Sources

UK Census

The UK Census is conducted and made available by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  Census data is also made available to academic institutions via the UK Data Service. If you require data for use with GIS software you should use the UK Data Service.

Histpop makes historical census reports available from 1801-1937.


International Data

Inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) including the United NationsWorld BankIMFWorld Health OrganizationInternational Labour OrganisationOECD and EU are major providers of statistical data.  They all make data freely available on their websites but may charge for some datasets. 

Passport provides IGO data in a form that allows you to compare countries. The UK Data Service also provides access to some IGO data which is not freely available.

Most national governments have statistical agencies and many government departments also collect and publish statistics.  Browse the University of Auckland’s OFFSTATS 'By Country' to find national statistical agencies.  To find government departments, select a country and then click on ‘Government’ in WorldLII.

Be aware of potential sampling bias

It can be helpful to be aware of potential sampling bias in data.  If you wish to explore this topic further, the following research can be a good starting point:

  • Ilic N, Prescott A, Erolin C, Peter M. (2022) Representation in medical illustration: the impact of model bias in a dermatology pilot study. J Vis Commun Med. 2022 Oct;45(4):253-262. doi: 10.1080/17453054.2022.2086455. Epub 2022 Aug 1. PMID: 35913131.
  • Clarkin, C., Cardo, V., Sharma, A. (2022) Bias in Bones: Integrating sex into skeletal health and research policy to improve public health outcomes, Policy Brief, University of Southampton, DOI: 10.5258/SOTON/PP0004
    • Which promotes the integration of sex as a variable into skeletal health and research policy to improve gendered health inequalities.  
  • Heinrich, Heine and Norenzayan (2010)
    • Discusses sampling bias in psychological studies, often drawn entirely from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies, consider how the data used in examples for teaching might also be 'WEIRD'.

Key Resources