Digital Content Needs Data: 33 Places to Find Free Data

When it comes to dynamic digital content like infographics, interactives, and whitepapers, data is everything. To find data relevant to your industry, rest assured that there’s no need to do primary research. In fact, you’ll find dozens of free data repositories on the web. The next time you want to create great digital content, use these 33 places to find free data online.

United States Census Bureau

Image via Flickr by r2hox

From population metrics to education information to geographical information, the U.S. Census Bureau has it all. The Census Bureau even offers options like data visualizations and interactive web apps, which market researchers will find useful.

Data.gov

Whether you’re looking for financial data, manufacturing numbers, energy statistics, or climate information, the Data.gov platform hosts the mother lode. Private and public sector organizations in numerous industries should reference this resource.

Open Government

Like Data.gov, Canada’s Open Government portal provides datasets and statistics for Canadian politics and projects. This resource works well for developers and policymakers.

Data.gov.uk

If you’re looking for similar information for the United Kingdom market, Data.gov.uk provides agricultural, environmental, and geographical data. This is a strong resource for developers in a number of industries.

European Union Open Data Portal

For a look at statistics throughout the European Union, the EU Open Data Portal hosts a large number of datasets. This repository houses information about everything from geography to occupations to gender.

World Factbook

Produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, the World Factbook houses data on government, economy, energy, population, and more. Since this resource includes data on 267 countries, it makes an excellent resource for policymakers in many industries.

UNICEF

Organizations specializing in public health and social work need access to social and health data for global populations. UNICEFprovides data on women and children around the world, along with information on specific issues and populations.

World Health Organization

Like UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides data useful to those working in public health and politics. This data repository includes statistics regarding health issues and mortality rates.

Department of Health and Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has health care data with information on hospital stays, inpatient care, national and state numbers, and quality assessments. This is an excellent resource for policymakers and health care organizations.

Broad Institute

With data on hundreds of organisms and diseases, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Broad Institute offers extensive statistics for health care and science organizations.

Gene Expression Omnibus

A genomics repository, the Gene Expression Omnibus allows gene expression searches and analysis. Scientists and health care organizations will find this resource useful.

ClinicalTrials.gov

Pioneered by the National Institutes of Health, ClinicalTrials.gov aggregates data and outcomes from clinical trials in the U.S. This repository works well for health care and science organizations.

Gapminder

To save time scouring various databases, Gapminder compiles data from the WHO, World Bank, and other resources. Health care and finance organizations will find this invaluable.

Google Finance

With more than 40 years of historical stock market data, Google Finance has extensive databases. This repository is ideal for those in the finance and accounting fields.

Nasdaq

From stocks to IPOs to market trends, the Nasdaq repository has it all. This resource is ideal for finance organizations.

Weatherbase

Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals depend on weather data to research and analyze geographic data. Weatherbaseoffers weather and climate statistics for more than 42,000 cities around the world.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Researchers seeking weather-related data from the U.S. and worldwide will find the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration databases useful. This repository includes climate data, precipitation statistics, and more.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

With data from life science, astrophysics, and solar system exploration, the NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive holds extensive information for the science and GIS industries.

Google Trends

Communications and marketing organizations will appreciate Google Trends, which provides data on searchable topics. This repository works well for comparing the popularity of headlines, news topics, and search queries.

New York Times

Communications organizations have long referenced The New York Times to track topics. The New York Times API makes data available on top stories, news geography, and people and places in the news.

The Guardian

From political relationships to health care statistics to election information, The Guardian frequently publishes research-heavy political pieces. The Guardian Datablog aggregates all of this information.

GDELT Project

The GDELT Project aggregates and analyzes global news. The data repository includes information about topics, people, locations, and more.

Google Books

The Google Books Ngrams dataset compiles information from millions of books. Since it allows text and phrase searches through 200 years of literary history, it works well for marketers and historians.

ESPN

For most sports writers and marketers, ESPN is an invaluable resource. The ESPN API collects statistics on a wide range of sports, teams, and players for use by developers.

Million Song Dataset

Those in the music industry can reference the Million Song Dataset, which aggregates song metadata and other features for a million songs.

Amazon Web Services

Offering much more than just purchasing data, Amazon Web Services compiles public data on a huge range of topics. From satellite imagery to human genetic information to material data safety sheets, this repository can prove useful to most industries.

Google Public

Like Amazon Web Services, Google Public offers a wide range of information. These statistics will appeal most to those in the economic and political sectors.

Re3data.org

An index of more than 1,200 data repositories, Re3data.org aggregates the top data repositories for researchers in numerous industries.

Wikipedia

The Wikipedia database allows downloads of all content available on the encyclopedic website. Researchers seeking simpler Wikipedia searches and analysis will find this repository useful.

DMOZ

DMOZ offers one of the most comprehensive directories of the Internet. Many online search engines rely on this repository of URLs.

Facebook

Data from social media platforms is important for web developers building third-party applications, social sharing tools, and interactive websites. Platforms like Facebook make this information available via The Graph API.

Foursquare

Foursquare also makes its databases available to the public, allowing developers to interact with users, businesses, and locations. Retailers and marketers can reference the Foursquare API as they develop products and services.

Yelp

Yelp provides data and review information for a select group of businesses near 30 major universities. This dataset is ideal for aspiring marketers.

Whether you want to produce whitepapers, infographics, or interactive content, you’ll need reliable data sources to produce top-notch content. Reference these data repositories to take your digital media assets to the next level.

About the author

Anna Sonnenberg

Anna Sonnenberg is an experienced writer and editor who focuses on digital marketing, travel, and natural products — but rarely all at once. With a background in research and the arts, Anna has a solid sense of the art of storytelling, along with a drive to gather the supporting data.