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Research in Human Rights: History 390S: Finding Census & Government Info/Demographics


Three databases that you should definitely take a look at:

  • Social Explorer provides a detailed view of demographic changes in the United States through the use of interactive maps and data reports from 1790 through the present at a variety of geographic levels- including neighborhoods, counties, and states.
  • Data Planet Statistical Datasets provides access to data from over 70 sources. Take a look in particular at the Population and Income category.
  • American Fact Finder provides access to last two censuses,the American Community Survey, and more.

The Law School Library has also created a nice guide to demographic resources, particularly those published by the US government.

Hearings/Congressional Publications

Congressional Hearings have been held and published since at least 1824. Some hearings are not published and local news stories are the best sources. Duke has an extensive collection of hearings both in print and online. If you know the title of the hearing you are looking for, you can search for it in our online catalog. Printed hearings are held at the Library Service Center (LSC).

How can I find a hearing on a particular issue?

Cumulative Index to the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications 1900-1971 is a printed 15 volume index which provides detailed bibliographic information about government publications including hearings (Perkins Reference Z1223 .B834 1973). You can use this index to identify publications on a particular topic. This index will point you to the complete bib

Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications began publication in 1895. It  issued each month by the Superintendent of Documents for the Government Printing Office, and catalogs all publications of the United States government. The monthly catalog is available online for July 1976 to present. It can also be used to identity Census publications like Current Population Reports and other special publications.

For online access, Proquest Congressional is the database to consult. This database provides full-text access to hearings from 1824 to the present, but the coverage is incomplete.  In the advanced search mode, you can limit your search to hearings only.  You also want to limit your search by date or by Congress.  If you can't find the hearing you are looking for, please let me know.

Other government documents?

U.S. Congressional Serial Set provides full-text access to the reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Date coverage is 1817 to 1994. The Serial Set does not typically include hearings (though some hearings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are included), but it is a great resource to find other government publications on your topic. The Duke University Libraries does have in its collection some of the printed Serial Set volumes.  If you need to see a printed volume, let me know.




Public documents, including printed resources from the Census of Population and Housing in addition to special reports, can be found on the 2nd floor of Perkins Library.  Many of these resources are represented in the Library's online catalog, but you shouldn't hesitate to ask for help.

Overviews (these volumes are all located in the Perkins Reference):

Schulze, Suzanne. Population Information in Nineteenth Century Census Volumes. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1983. HA214 .S385 1983

------. Population Information in Twentieth Century Census Volumes: 1900-1940. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1985. HA214 .S385 1985

------. Population Information in Twentieth Century Census Volumes: 1950-1980. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1988. HA214 S385 1988

Online Resources