Thursday, March 15, 2007

Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial Edition

The first title we are going to look at in this blog is the new, long awaited millennial edition of the Historical Statistics of the United States. This is a pricey item at nearly $1000, but is one of those reference resources that is still a "must have." Granted, much of the material can be found online, but the convenience of having all this, plus the helpful introductory chapters for each section, all in one place makes the set worth the price. Browsing is a joy and the index is excellent.

Here are some quotes from reviews:

"What can one easily find in this major compendium by using the excellent index or browsing? Attendance at horse racing in 1997 was about half of what it was in 1976. Voter turnout in presidential elections in the U.S. was at a high in 1860, with 81.2 percent voting, and at one of the lowest percentages in 2000, with 49.3 percent. can discover that the incidence of cataracts in the elderly has stayed fairly constant from 1982 to 1995, while the number of people under 18 who have asthma almost doubled in the same period. Among the statistics that one might not expect to find is the number of American Nobel Prize winners by field and country of birth. This is followed by a table of commercial space launches by country."

"This ultimate statistical source on numerical U.S. history has been 30 years overdue for an overhaul; now, finally, the best is even better. A bargain for all libraries supporting research; essential particularly where the original statistical sources from which the title draws are out of print."
Library Journal

"'s densely packed with more than a million numbers that measure America in mind-boggling detail, from the average annual precipitation in Sweet Springs, Mo., to the wholesale price of rice in Charleston S.C., in 1707...The new edition, which sells for $825 and is also available in an online version, is a gold mine for scholars, students and assorted nerds and numbers crunchers..."
New York Times

"Last published in 1975, the five-volume behemoth is 'a numerical atlas of the American past.' In addition to making revisions in areas in which there has been significant new scholarship, such as pre-20th century wages, the book covers areas that had been formerly ignored by the Census Bureau's edition, such as slavery, American Indians and technology."

"Many ordinary students and scavengers of facts—not just academics—should be able to tap this treasure of figures."


Janie L. Hermann said...

I agree that this reference book is still a "must have" -- along with the annual Statistical Abstract. Often times I use books like this to lead me to right government web site or they have (at times) been the best source for tables that are not online. Pricey but worth it!

mlh said...

Count me in on this title. Janie is correct about the tables. Mary Lou