20 Awesome Sources of Free Data


We all like free things right?

The web is practically swimming in free (and sometimes incorrect or misleading) information.

But these 20 sources of free data are widely considered to be quite reputable.

dataset

This enables you to search available datasets that have been marked up properly according to the schema.org standard.

While this could be viewed as a one-stop shop for datasets that includes data from sources like NASA and ProPublica, there are many niche datasets that may be better for certain purposes.

You’re shown the results and each one is clickable to tell you:

  • The name of the dataset.
  • When it was last updated.
  • A description.

With certain results you get more information, such as the formats in which the dataset is available.

Google Trends

With this tool, you can search for keywords and see a variety of information about them, including:

  • Interest over time.
  • Interest by region.
  • Related topics.
  • Related queries.

You can select options including which country (or worldwide) you want to see, narrow it down to categories, or confine your search to all of the web, images, news, shopping, or YouTube.

You can also compare your search to another topic.

census

This allows you to get information related to population, the economy, and geography.

You can browse by topic or search.

This is a great tool if you need statistics for content.

They have some great visualizations that you can embed within your content too.

EU portal

Available data includes:

  • Geography.
  • Finance.
  • Statistics.
  • Election results.
  • Legal acts.
  • Information on crime, transport, health, the environment, and science research.

This platform is searchable and browsable.

gov

The home of the U.S. government’s open data, this site allows access to information about a variety of topics provided by federal, state, local, and tribal governments.

UK data

Similar to the US’s Data.gov, this site allows access to data in a variety of topics.

Data is provided by the central government, local authorities, and public bodies.

health data

Searchable topics include medical devices, environmental health, substance abuse, mental health, and others.

CIA

Containing information on 267 world entities, this is a treasure trove of data that is updated weekly with information about the world.

You can select a country to view and then click on whatever topic you like (such as Economy or Transportation.)

The site is also searchable.

There is a section for World Leaders and one for CIA Maps.

altmetric

Altmetric does offer some paid plans but they have a very useful set of the top 100 most mentioned articles that have been published in a year.

2018 is the latest but there are sets going back to 2013.

They also offer a few free tools.

opencorp

The largest open database of companies in the world, Open Corporates gives you access to information about over 100 million companies.

You can search by companies or officers and limit your jurisdiction if you need to.

NOAA

This covers geophysical, atmospheric, and oceanic data. They are currently the world’s largest provider of climate and weather information.

They also provide links to older tools that may not be available currently on the website but reside elsewhere.

subreddit

You do have to sign up but it’s free. You can search for datasets and find people giving information and requesting it.

Reddit, in general, is also a great place to look for information and see what’s trending.

kaggle

Kaggle currently has close to 16,000 datasets. You can find data on anything from sports team player stats to Los Angeles parking citations.

earth data

The Earth Observing System Data and Information System contain NASA’s earth observation data which includes things like land surface temperature in NC and carbon flux.

pew

If you’re looking for sociological data, this is a great source.

There are some interesting articles that you can find by browsing around too. You do need to sign up to view and download datasets but it’s free.

CDC

Covering health topics, this site gives you access to an incredible amount of data that is browseable and searchable. You can even create your own filtered datasets through various topic-related portals.

labor

Here you can find data about labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in our economy.

538

They have data on politics, sports, science and health, economics, and culture.

grouplens

Group Lens has several available datasets that are useful for more niche projects.

Some datasets are over a decade old. You can get a lot of information on books and films here.

github

This one gives you data from Buzzfeed. If you want information about fake news from 2016 to 2018, this one’s for you.

Bonus Source: Find Free Images

I’d like to give an honorable mention to a great list of sources for free images to go along with all this data so definitely check it out: 41 Places to Find Free Images Online That You Will Actually Want to Use.

More Resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, April 2019



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