Our Ten Favorite Sources for Open Data

March 4 is Open Data Day, “an annual celebration of open data all over the world.” At LiveStories, we celebrate open data every day—freely available government data is the lifeblood for us and for many of our partners, and we offer open data portals as a service.  

In the spirit of Open Data Day, here are ten of our favorite open data sources.


The Big Three Open Data Sources: Oldies but Goodies

1. The American Community Survey (ACS)

For broad data on American society, you can’t beat the ACS, conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau. The ACS includes data on demographics, poverty, immigration, housing, transportation income, income inequality—practically anything a social scientist or interested citizen would want to know. ACS data is typically available for multiple geographic levels, from national and state figures to counties and municipalities.

2. CDC Wonder

Interested in the rate of firearm homicides for a particular state, region, age range, or ethnicity? Do you want to see the trends in drug poisoning deaths in communities wracked by the opioid epidemic? Or perhaps you have a macabre curiosity about how many Americans died from relatively obscure causes, like “hot objects/substances” (66 people in 2015) The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) offers all of these data on CDC Wonder.


3. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Perhaps more than any other source, the BLS is responsible for providing data on the country’s economic health. It is most famous for collecting and distributing data on unemployment—the official rate (U3) as well as other metrics across various localities and industries.


More U.S. Government Open Data

4. Data.gov

The government produces a huge amount of data beyond the three sources above. An initiative started by the Obama administration, data.gov, is a motherload of government-produced data, organized into 14 broad topics, including agriculture, climate, energy, science and research, and local government.

5. Data.mil

One of our partners, the U.S. Digital Defense Service (part of the Department of Defense), put together a fascinating open data portal on airstrike data. Their datasets cover the millions of bombs dropped during World War I and II, Korea, and Vietnam.

6. California Health and Human Services Open Data Portal

The CHHS’s portal is a great example of open data at the state level.

7. FBI Uniform Crime Reporting

The Federal Bureau of Investigation collects crime statistics released by local law enforcement.

Other Open Data Sources

8. WHO: Global Health Observatory Data

Published by the World Health Organization, this open data portal tracks crucial hrealth data from around the world.

9. Google Trends

The most popular search engine offers historical data on search terms to the public.

10. Kaggle

Kaggle is a platform for anyone uploading and downloading open data sets. The topics are wide-ranging

Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite source for open data that we've missed. And if you're interested in building your own open data portal, learn how LiveStories can help here.