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SOC2230: Introduction to Human Services: Demographic Information

Demographic Information

Pixabay: geralt, Demographic Information

When designing an intervention, it's essential that you understand the population that it is intended for.  This may mean understanding the poverty rates for a state, county or town, the prevalence of certain health conditions within a community, etc.

The Library offers two statistical databases (see below), but much of this information can also be found through government and organization websites.  A sampling of sites are listed below, but you can also explore on your own.  Just be sure that you only use sites that you can trust!

(Don't forget that the Library databases link to articles that might be directly related to your populations!)

Statistical Databases

U.S. Statistical Resources

NJ Statistical Sources

Google Searching

Looking for statistics and reports can be difficult, but Google offers some features that make the process of finding authoritative sources easier.

  1. Use Google's Advanced Search to have better control over your searches.

    The "Search within this domain" option lets you limit to just government pages, by typing .gov into the box.

    Combine this with the keyword 'statistics' and your topic keyword(s) (healthcare, crime, gender inequality, etc.) to find related statistical data and government reports.

Online Resources

Whenever you use a website or other online resource in your research, it's important that you think critically about the source of information, as well as its credibility. 

Think about the following criteria when considering a website for your research:

  • Authority
    (who created/hosted/edits the site, and what are their credentials?)
  • Accuracy
    (are there errors/omissions/mistakes/lies?)
  • Objectivity
    (what is the purpose of the site (Sell/Persuade/Fool/Inform/etc.)?)
  • Currency
    (How recent is the research, and does it matter to your topic?)
  • Coverage
    (To what depth is the information covered, and is there anything new that you haven't already found elsewhere?)

If you feel that there is any doubt about the quality of the information you find, always look to an authoritative source for confirmation.