If you do any writing, presenting or court testimony, you may need to look up statistics on a given topic. Here are a few ways to quickly find statistical data.

1.  Google it, adding the word statistics or rate to your search.

Note the difference in search results below when the word statistics is added (image on the right). You even get a preview of the numbers in the snippets.

Google search: bipolar disorder

Google search: bipolar disorder statistics

Refine your search - filter for images

Select Images from your search results to show charts and infographics. For example:


2. Search within government domains

One of the best sources of statistics is government websites. You don't even need to know which agency keeps track of the statistics you're looking for. Simply set up your Google search like this: your keywords statistics site:gov 

Your search results will show statistics from US government websites. For example, here are the first few search results for bipolar disorder children statistics site:gov

US Census Bureau

The US Census Bureau pulls together statistical information for journalists and others who seek data for specific events or commemorations. Check out their "Facts For Features" and "Stats for Stories."

For example, for Mother's Day, the Census Bureau provided statistics on birth, fertility, stay-at-home parents, daycare and more, as well as links to related websites.

Search for data within non-US government websites

Substitute site:gov with site:canada.ca (Canada), site:gov.uk (UK), site:gov.au (Australia)  or the government domain extension of whatever country you are searching.

Compare statistics from several countries simultaneously

Search at Nationmaster.com


3. Search within academic domains

Universities and other academic  institutions publish press releases and summaries of research by their faculty. Their websites may also store research papers that offer context and commentary on the statistics. To search across multiple academic websites, set up your Google search like this: your keywords site:edu

For example, here are the first few search results for bipolar disorder children statistics site:edu. Note that Google Scholar results are also included:


4. Search news

If you are looking for statistics that are related to a current topic (such as a national holiday or when a celebrity announces having a mental or physical illness) chances are that a mainstream news outlet has done the research for you. Reporters employed by the New York Times, Washington Post, and TV network news typically interview and quote top experts in the field, who may provide statistics on a given topic. At the very least, you can contact those experts directly for further information.

To filter Google results for news, simply select the News tab at the top of the search results.

This blog post is being written on Memorial Day weekend. Here's a snippet of Google news on veterans mental health:


5. Search for Powerpoint presentations

Powerpoint and other slide presentations shared online by experts are a treasure trove of content. The presentations take a given topic and distill it down to bullet points. More often than not, statistics are included.

To find downloadable slide presentations via Google, use this syntax: yourkeywords statistics filetype:ppt

This tells Google to return only results that are Powerpoint files.

You can further refine this search by adding site:edu or site:gov to the above syntax.

Thus, yourkeywords filetype:ppt site:edu will give you Powerpoint files from educational institutions.

Another source of slide presentations is Slideshare.net, where many academics upload their files. The presentations are converted from Powerpoint, and are viewable on your web browser - no need to download anything. You can search at the slideshare.net website. Or ask Google to pull relevant slides for you, via this syntax: your keywords site:slideshare.net.

To further refine your results select the Image tab.

Here's the result of a Google image search for bipolar disorder statistics site:slideshare.net


One more search trick...

Force Google to show you the most recent results

Google ranks its search results by over 200 criteria. The most recent results are not always at the top. To sort the results by date, click on Search Tools, then open the "Any time" drop down menu.

The image below shows a search for bipolar disorder statistics site:edu within the past year. (It doesn't necessarily reflect actual statistics from the past year, but when the web content was written.)