Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

What is ICPSR?

ICPSR's purpose is to collect, preserve, and disseminate digital social science data.  Data holdings contain some 6,000 studies and 450,000 files that cover a wide range of social science areas such as:

  • population
  • economics
  • education
  • health
  • social and political behavior
  • social and political attitudes
  • history
  • crime
  • aging, and
  • substance abuse.

To learn more about the organization, visit ICPSR's website.  Also visit our ICPSR FAQs.

What kinds of data can I find?

  • Public opinion polls, survey of mass and elite attitudes, election returns, legislative records, census records, international financial statistics, income dynamics and social welfare program participation, among others.
  • Important data sets such as the American National Election Study, the Quality of Employment Survey, the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and Plea Bargaining in the United States.

Access, Use Requirements, Privacy

In order to access ICPSR data, you must Create a New Account with ICPSR.

NCSU's membership in ICPSR, entitle students, faculty and staff to access and use its resources. Users agree not to distribute data to non-members; to use the data ethically; to cite their source data appropriately; and to provide ICPSR with a copy of any new research that is based on data already in the archive.

How to Acquire Data for Research

When you go to download a study or its documentation, you will be prompted to login with your ICPSR account (see section above). ICPSR data may be downloaded directly from the ICPSR web site, or in some cases Web-based extraction and analysis tools are also available.

Go to the ICPSR web page at Use the search box in the bottom center to search for data sets by keyword or, if known, study number.

It's a very good idea to download a study's documentation and codebook and read it before downloading the data itself. That will help you determine if a study is suitable for your purposes before you accumulate the other associated files.