35 Free Public Data Sets & Sources for Creating Content

Shelley Walsh

Jun 16, 20215 min read
Free Public Data Sets & Sources

The internet is the world’s best repository of information, but it’s also stuffed with a lot of misinformation. To find the best public data sets and sources of information, you have to get to the credible sources. 

If you’re creating content, the quality of what you create is based on the credibility of the sources you cite. If you get fake data from an invalid source then your reputation as a creator is at stake.

From our experience of research, data sources are often replicated and not always correctly cited. This involves falling down a rabbit hole trying to find the original data source.

We curated a list of the best free public data sets and sources of data and information where you can go straight to the source to research ideas for your content marketing strategy and find valid data to support your content.

The following 35 free public data sources are all reliable, credible and the best sources of all data across the internet.


Government Public Data Sets

1.  Data.gov US

Government, Population, and Social
An open data site of nearly 300,000 data sets from local governments and focused around the population. Managed by the US General Services Administration, Technology Transformation Service.

2.  US Census Bureau

Government, Population, and Social
Centralized demographic and economic data from the US Census Bureau. A wealth of data, tools and embeddable visualizations for population-based data in the US.

3.  Bureau of Labor Statistics

Workforce
US-based statistics and data about the workforce and job market.

4.  Data.gov UK

Government, Population, and Social
UK-focused data, published by central government, local authorities and public bodies.

5.  Office for National Statistics

Government, Population, and Social
A central source of data about the UK’s population and economy on a regional and local level, with over 600 releases of statistics every year. Includes data from the national census that takes place every 10 years.

6.  UK Data Service

Government, Population, and Social
A collection of UK and global socio-economic data funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. With a claim to be the UK’s largest collection of data, this is a good portal to search across social and population data.

7.  European Union Open Data Portal

Government, Population, and Social
A considerable-sized resource of EU-focused social and economic data sets and statistics.

8.  Eurostat

Government, Population, and Social
A portal for data from the statistical office of the European Union. European statistics are produced in partnership with other national authorities in the EU Member States, including European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland.


Worldwide Public Data Sets

9.  UNESCO

Education, Science and Culture
Global data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

10.  The World Factbook

Government, Social, and Environment
A global almanac of data about the countries of the world compiled by the Central Intelligence Agency for 266 world entities.

11.  United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Crime
A repository of data for global crime and drug statistics including trafficking, production and consumption.

12.  UN Data

All topics
A portal of global data and statistics compiled by the UN covering a wide range of topics.

13.  Earth Data by NASA

Earth Science
A wealth of (truly) global data gathered from NASA's missions and experiments. Data available comes from a variety of sources including satellites.

14.  National Center for Environmental Information

Weather and Environment
The world’s biggest selection of weather and climate data. Including marine, satellite, weather balloon, and land-based data sets.

15.  OECD Data

All topics
Global data sets from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development across a range of topics related to the economy.


Finance & Business Public Data Sets

16.  International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Finance and Economy
Global data from the IMF about lending, exchange rates and world economy.

17.  World Bank Open Data

Finance and Economy
Global development data and a collection of data and statistics from the financial sector.

18.  Open Corporates

Business
The largest global open database of companies in the world.


Health Public Data Sets

19.  NHS Digital

Health
A wide range of data sets and interactive data compiled from the National Health Service in the UK.

20.  HealthData.gov

Health
A wide range of US-focused health-related data collected from the US Department of Health and Human Services and partners.

21.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Health
A range of data compiled by the CDC. Statistics, data sets and tables on a variety of diseases and health issues such as Lyme disease, COVID 19, asthma, TB, diabetes and genomics to name a few.

22.  Global Health Observatory (GHO)

Health
Global data sets and visualizations related to health and disease from the World Health Organization (WHO). Searchable by health topic or country.


Public Opinion Data Sets

23.  YouGov

Social science
A UK-based international market research site for public opinion surveys across all socially-related topics. A heavily cited source of data by journalists in the UK.

24.  Gallup

Social science
Independent research and surveys in the US, UK and globally on a wide range of topical issues. Including the Gallup World Poll, a worldwide survey that connects with 99% of the world population.

25.  Roper Center for Public Opinion Research

Social science
The Roper Center is a public opinion facility at Cornell University in the US and established as a resource to improve the quality and practice of survey research. With analysis from over 100 countries, it has the world’s largest public opinion data archive. Paid membership is required, so technically this isn’t free but it is noteworthy for the quality of data available.

26.  Pew Research Center

Social science
Non-partisan public opinion polling covering all topics from politics to social science.


Data Set Collections

27.  Statista

Consumer data

Covering 150 countries and 200 markets of consumer goods. Statista is a wealth of consumer data. Free data can be searched and premium subscriptions offer extended data.

28.  Kaggle

All topics
Over 50,000 public datasets across all topics available on this data-sharing platform.

29.  Google Dataset Search

All topics
A search engine for datasets. Any data available on the internet that has been marked with Schema can be searched and found.

30.  Google Scholar

Academic research
A search engine for academic research papers that can help supplement any content with credible citations.

31.  Google Trends

All topics
Data and trends from what users search for on Google. Useful for finding current trending topics and reviewing the historic trends of keywords. Data can be searched at a city level and graphs and charts are embeddable.

32.  Altmetric

Academic research
A little different from other data sources, Altmetric provides annual top 100 lists about the most discussed research for each topic. Data is collated from their searches of 3.4 million pieces of scholarly content. A great source for ideas.


Other Types of Public Data Sets

33.  Data Sets SubReddit

All topics
Reddit is a great resource to find anything but you do have to wade through a lot of noise to find anything of value. A useful source for inspiration when brainstorming.

34.  Five Thirty Eight

All topics

Politics, Sports, Science and Health, Economics, and Culture
The news site shares the data and code behind some of their reporting. You can find useful indexes and graphs, mainly based on sport and politics. A lot of visualizations and a lot of topical data.

35.  BuzzFeed News on Github

All topics
A repository of data from Buzzfeed articles and reporting. Targeted towards data scientists, it’s not the most user-friendly to search and you have to be adept with code to translate much of what’s offered. But, there is a wide range of data to be found.

Try the Topic research Tool

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Shelley WalshShelley is a content marketing consultant and contributor to the industry for over 10 years. Shelley has been published on many industry sites and spoken at online and offline events over the years.
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