Brandel Library

Chicago Research Guide

Background Information

The Brandel Library supports the claim that "Chicago is our classroom and all Chicagoans are our teachers." This guide provides an overview of resources related to Chicago that could be incorporated into classroom instruction and other coursework. If there are other Chicago resources that you are using or are interested in, please let the library know so that we can incorporate them in this guide.

Where do I find the data on my community?

Finding sources for demographic and health statistics can be very challenging. Here are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Federal, state and local governments collect data. Many federal agencies collect data at the state and even county and municipal level, so the federal government can be a great source for local statistics.
  • Some statistics are collected regularly, some only occasionally. In general, expect a lag time of at least one year before most statistics are published. Also, expect some gaps and discrepancies.
  • Statistics are not regularly collected for all areas or topics. Data on  may be difficult to locate because there is no law mandating the reporting of this information to local agencies.
  • Become familiar with some major data collection efforts such as Healthy People 2020 and American Fact Finder.
  • When browsing web sites, look for categories such as publications and reports as well as statistics and data.
  • Use a good Internet search engine, such as Google or Google Advanced Search, when you are looking for more obscure data.