15 Great Free Data Sources for 2016

12.04.2016 by Marisa Krystian

One of the biggest concerns we hear from people is that they simply don’t know where to find data. The reality is that there are thousands of free data sets available, ready to be analyzed and visualized. You just need to know where to look.

Here are 15 free data sources covering government, health, economics, entertainment, science and social media around the world:


1) Google Scholar 

Google Scholar provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature and academic studies. You can search across multiple disciplines from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other websites. Sources include articles, theses, books, abstracts, and even court opinions.

2) U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau’s mission is to serve as the leading source of quality data about the people and economy of the US, including population data, geographic data, and education.Their goal is to give analysts, academic researchers and policymakers access to the data tools and research they need to make decisions.

3) European Union Open Data Portal

The European Union Open Data Portal is the single point of access to a growing range of data from the institutions and other bodies of the European Union (EU). Browse data sets by subject or group, including economics, science, trade, education, and employment.

4) Data.gov

Data.gov is home to the US government’s open data. Last year, the US government pledged to make all government data available for free online. Here you will find data, tools, and resources to conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, and design data visualizations.

5) Google Public Data Explorer

Launched in March 2010, the Google Public Data Explorer makes large, public-interest data sets easy to explore, visualize and communicate. This tool was built for students, journalists, policymakers, and data lovers. You don’t have to be an expert to navigate this site. Create data visualizations of public data, link to them, and embed them on your website.

6) Social Mention

Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across all social platforms.

7) Pew Research Center’s Internet Project

The Pew Research Center’s Internet Project offers scholars and the general public access to raw data sets from their research. You can track key national, political, economic and demographic trends in the US. Their data sets are available as single compressed archive files (.zip file), which makes the data easy to visualize.

8) UNICEF Statistics

In collaboration with a wide range of partners, UNICEF gathers evidence on the situation of women and children globally. It uses this knowledge to inform national and global decision-making with the objective of improving children’s well-being. The data sets include accurate, nationally representative data from household surveys and other sources.

9) World Health Organization

The Global Health Observatory provides data and analyses on global health priorities, including world hunger and disease. Each page of the site provides information on a global situation and highlights growing trends. They have detailed health statistics for each country, as compiled by WHO and partners.

10) Freebase

Freebase calls itself a community-curated database of well-known people, places, and things. With Freebase, you have access to over 58 million topics and 3 billion facts covering just about anything. You can gain access to information about television, sports, education, business, architecture, astronomy, religion, language and so much more.

11) New York Times

You already know that NYTimes.com is an unparalleled source of news and information. But now it’s a premier source of data, too! Search Times articles from 1851 to today, retrieving headlines, abstracts and links to associated multimedia. You can also search through Times book reviews, NYC event listings, movie reviews, congressional data and community news.

12) The Broad Institute – Cancer Program Data

The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT is committed to meeting the most critical challenges in biology and medicine. Broad scientists pursue a wide variety of projects that cut across scientific disciplines and institutions, and you can access their cancer-related data sets here.

13) Amazon Web Services

Browse Amazon Web Services’ Public Data Sets by category for a huge wealth of information. You can search through NASA’s satellite images of Earth and climate projections, data from a million contemporary popular music tracks with the Million Songs Collection, and the 1000 Genome Project.

14) Google Finance

Google Finance provides you with up-to-date stock market data, market news, and data on emerging trends. You can also create a portfolio and manage your own stocks with the financial data provided. You can even navigate up to 40 years’ worth of stock market information and prices.

15) National Centers for Environmental Information

This page provides quick access to many of NCEI’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various resources. You can navigate a large collection of environmental, meteorological and climate data sets from the world’s biggest archive of weather data, the US National Climatic Data Center.


We hope you enjoyed browsing through some of the greatest data sets the Internet has to offer. We encourage you to continue exploring with data – make amazing data visualizations, find answers to your questions, and discover new questions you didn’t know you had.

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