Major sourcesHistorical sources
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Statistics and Data   Tags: census, countries, data, how to, statistics  

Sources of Australian and international statistics and data.
Last Updated: Oct 1, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Finding Statistics Print Page

How to find statistics

Start by identifying organisations that might be collecting the types of data you are looking for. Examples are: the International Monetary Fund for monetary and fiscal concerns, the World Health Organisation for health, the World Bank for development.

  • Governments - Most statistics are collected by national and subnational government agencies, e.g. the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Office for National Statistics (UK).
  • International organisations - Organisations and institutions such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) collect and collate statistics from different countries.
  • National organisations - Many national organisations and research bodies collect statistics on particular areas of interest, e.g. the Australian Council for Educational Research, Diabetes Australia.
  • Professional associations - Some professional bodies conduct research and publish survey findings, e.g. the Australian Institute of Management.

Remember that international statistics are dependent on the collection of data by national governments and other agencies, so the types, depth and dates of data are not always consistent between countries. Collection of data within individual countries also changes over time, may be inconsistent across states, and can be disrupted by events such as regime change and war.

Databases and websites provide searchable access to a great deal of publicly available data. However, some historical statistics and data may only be available in hardcopy sources. For historical statistics you should also search the Library Catalogue using a keyword search statistics and your topic e.g. population, and then refine your search to the historical period.

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Featured resource

logo of Australian Data Archive

Australian Data Archive (ADA)

Australian digital research data.

  • Social Science
  • Historical
  • Indigenous
  • Longitudinal
  • Qualitative
  • Crime and Justice
  • International


  • The Historical archive includes Australian colonial census publications for 1834-1901, and Australian population censuses from 1966 onwards.

  • The Social Science archive includes Australian public opinion polls from 1944 onwards including Australian Gallup Polls, Age Polls and Saulwick Polls.

Need further help?

Look at the Help links inside individual databases and websites.

Research Consultations

University of Melbourne postgraduate students and academic staff can book a research consultation.


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