This annual factbook, which has been published since 1878, is an authoritative and comprehensive source of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. It includes more than 1,400 tables and graphs on topics as varied as insurance, patents, campaign finance, prisons, national security, and much more.
In addition to providing tables and graphs, the abstract serves as a jumping-off point to other statistical sources and publications. It includes an introductory text for each section and a source note for each table, providing additional resources that you can consult to gather more detailed and in-depth statistical information.
Sources of data include the Census Bureau itself, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and many other Federal agencies and private organizations. Data obtained from unpublished records is also included. Earlier editions of the abstract covering all the way back to colonial times are also available online.
Despite the enormous value of the Statistical Abstract, the 2012 edition is likely to be the last. The Census Bureau is planning to cut the publication because of budget constraints, and even some in the mainstream media are lamenting its demise (click here and here).