Information about how to download political and social science data sets.

What's In this Guide

This guide is to help you use ICPSR to find data relevant to your research.

What is ICPSR?

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the world's largest archive of social science data. ICPSR provides Web access to documentation and data files for use with statistical software, such as R, SAS, SPSS, and Stata.

The ICPSR data holdings contain more than 500,000 files that cover a wide range of social science areas such as population, economics, education, health, social and political behavior, social and political attitudes, terrorism, history, crime, aging, and substance abuse.

Who Can Access the Data?

UNC-Chapel Hill is an ICPSR member institution. Students, faculty and staff have direct access to most data available at ICPSR. Users must create a My Data account and agree to abide by the terms of a responsible use statement (see the section below on Downloading Data for more information). Some data sets in the topical archives are federally funded and are available to anyone but many are restricted to ICPSR member institutions, and some have further restrictions so that researchers must apply to use them. Documentation for all but restricted studies is freely available to all; restricted data sets usually provide at least general scope and methodology notes.

Searching for Data

Search for data using ICPSR's search interface. You can also browse data by topic, series, geography, investivator, or multiple fields. Improve results by using search facets on the right side of the results pages.

Downloading Data

UNC-Chapel Hill students, faculty and staff may download data directly from ICPSR while on-campus. First time users must create a My Data account to access data. After one on-campus use, users' accounts are authenticated to access ICPSR from off campus for six months.

The majority of data files come with SAS, SPSS, and Stata setup files which enable you to read data into these statistical software packages. If a file isn't in the format you need, contact Michele Hayslett for assistance.

Users simply click on the link for the files and data format they want to download. All files are downloaded as zipped files and must be uncompressed on your machine. Additionally setup files must be edited to point to the full pathname of the downloaded file.

See ICPSR's YouTube channel for step by step instructions.

Data Librarian

Michele Hayslett

Data Management
Numeric Data
Census Data
Locating Data
Website / Blog Page

Get Help

ICPSR's YouTube channel offers a quick overview of searching and accessing ICPSR data.

Additional documentation is available as a FAQ database.

Contact Michele Hayslett for help with locating or downloading ICPSR data.

The ICPSR Official Representative at UNC-Chapel Hill is Thu-Mai Christian in the Odum Institute.

  • Last Updated: Dec 6, 2015 4:19 AM
  • URL: http://guides.lib.unc.edu/icpsr