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The Historical Statistics of the United States Millennium edition Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521817912
ISBN-10: 0521817919
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It has been more than 30 years since the Bureau of the Census published an edition of Historical Statistics of the United States. Previous editions were published by the Census Bureau in 1949, 1960, and 1975. The Millennial Edition has been outsourced to Cambridge University Press but authorized by the government. The size of this statistical source has increased from two volumes to five, with more than 37,000 data series. In June Cambridge brought out an online edition. (The 1975 edition had an accompanying CD-ROM.) The project was funded by more than 50 private and public sources, including Colgate University, the British Library, and Rockefeller Center.

The five volumes or parts are arranged by broad topics: Population Work and Welfare, Economic Structure and Performance, Economic Sectors, and Governance and International Relations. Within each part, chapters have a letter code, and statistical tables are assigned an alphanumeric identifier indicating the chapter in which they are located and the range of series they contain. For example, Ed1-5 is the code for "Military Personnel and Casualties, by War and Branch of Service: 1775-1991," located in chapter Ed ("National Defense, Wars, Armed Forces, and Veterans") in part E (or volume 5). Page numbers are used in the table of contents and the index. Sources for tables are carefully noted and include journals, monographs, and scholars' research for dissertations as well as government publications. Detailed documentation is provided as well.

Many topics were "enhanced," and new ones have been added, among them "Poverty," "Slavery," "Confederate States of America," and "Race and Ethnicity." Statistics have been updated to include the 2000 census. Each volume and chapter is preceded by an essay or essays providing an overview of the subject and the trends that have been noted by scholars in the field. Tables, graphs, and extensive bibliographies are a major part of the essays. Several essays have tables listing important events in the history of the topic.

What can one easily find in this major compendium by using the excellent index or browsing? Attendance at horse racing in 1997 was about half of what it was in 1976. Voter turnout in presidential elections in the U.S. was at a high in 1860, with 81.2 percent voting, and at one of the lowest percentages in 2000, with 49.3 percent. When the reviewer's great-grandfather emigrated in the late nineteenth century, he was one of 36,000 arriving from Sweden. In 1894 he was one of 958 men killed in coal mining accidents. In the "Health" chapter, one can discover that the incidence of cataracts in the elderly has stayed fairly constant from 1982 to 1995, while the number of people under 18 who have asthma almost doubled in the same period. Among the statistics that one might not expect to find is the number of American Nobel Prize winners by field and country of birth. This is followed by a table of commercial space launches by country.

French semiologist Jean Baudrillard said, "Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment." All those who enjoys statistics will have their dreams fulfilled by browsing through Historical Statistics of the United States. Christine Bulson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"This ultimate statistical source on numerical U.S. history has been 30 years overdue for an overhaul; now, finally, the best is even better. A bargain for all libraries supporting research; essential particularly where the original statistical sources from which the title draws are out of print." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"A serious academic resource that should be respected for the depth of its scholarship and extent of its detail." -- History Today

"Let us now praise the newest edition of "Historical Statistics of the United States," whose five volumes and 1,781 tables are about to hit libraries and universities all over the country...Unlike earlier editions, this "Historical Statistics" also comes in an online version that, presumably, will be purchased by most universities, colleges and many libraries. Many ordinary students and scavengers of facts—not just academics— should be able to tap this treasure of figures." -- Robert J. Samuelson in NEWSWEEK, January 23, 2006

"A stunning achievement... Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition is a resource that academic libraries and larger libraries can ill afford to be without...It will serve as the standard for years to come." --Against the Grain, June 2006

"French semiologist Jean Baudrillard said “like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment.” Anyone who enjoys statistics will have their dreams fulfilled by using or browsing through Historical Statistics of the United States, which is highly recommended..."--Booklist (starred review)

"...monumental... This ultimate statistical source on numerical U.S. history has been 30 years overdue for an overhaul; now, finally, the best in even better. A bargain for all libraries supporting research." -- Library Journal

"For starters, it weighs 29 pounds. It has five volumes. And it's densely packed with more than a million numbers that measure America in mind-boggling detail, from the average annual precipitation in Sweet Springs, Mo., to the wholesale price of rice in Charleston S.C., in 1707...The new edition...is a gold mine for scholars, students and assorted nerds and numbers crunchers..." -Sam Roberts, The New York Times, February 22, 2006

"Last published in 1975, the five-volume behemoth is 'a numerical atlas of the American past.' In addition to making revisions in areas in which there has been significant new scholarship, such as pre-20th century wages, the book covers areas that had been formerly ignored by the Census Bureau's edition, such as slavery, American Indians and technology." Kirkus Reference Review

"But America? This surpassingly glorious young mess? Can its essence be captured in 4,641 pages of digits? What an outrageous idea. That's why a stroll through the Millennial Edition is a strangely fortuitous, irregular and imagination-firing one." -- Washington Post

"No other reference work offers the same breadth of coverage[...] It is recommended for all college and university libraries supporting undergraduate research and coursework, as well as research public libraries. Even those libraries that own the 1975 and annual editions of " --the Statistical Abstract will benefit from the convenience of having all these statistics in one tool, and from the ease-of-use and context provided by the _ Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition_." --REFERENCE & USER SERVICES QUARTERLY

"This is a fantastic volume to an equally fantastic new edition of _Historical Statistics_." EH-NET
""It is a great success that will easily fill the shoes and self-space of the well-worn, two volume Bicentennial Edition [...]Every library should invest in these volumes. It is rare to see a project that is massive and ambitious come off so well. Astanding ovation is due..." -- Journal of Economic History

"The Historical Statistics of the United States, Bicentennial Edition has been a key resource in any library's reference collection. Cambridge, with its Millennial Edition, has provided a much needed update. Not only have the old tables been updated, but new tables have been added. Cambridge has expanded the very useful bibliographical section from the older Census editions and has added a series of scholarly essays as an introduction to the data chapters." --John B. Phillips Professor and Head, Documents Dept. Edmon Low Library Oklahoma State University

"Personally, I found this revision to be an outstanding achievement. The depth and scope of the material is impressive and when coupled with the ability to use the data electronically the HSUS becomes one of the premiere research tools for statistical analysis." --Aimee C. Quinn Assistant Professor and Assistant Documents Librarian Richard J. Daley Library University of Illinois at Chicago
"Historical Statistics is a valuable source of primary data concerning a broad range of material and social conditions constituting the American experience." --P.J. O'Rourke, The Atlantic Monthly

"In total, this volume of _Historical Statistics_ is a triumph. The chapters provide first-rate introductions to their general area of focus, particularly helpful for researchers and students who are not specialists in either history or demography. Each chapter reading is informative without being burdensome. The voluminous tables are carefully documented and legible, and are disaggregated enough that one may look at interesting features by themselves. While researchers now seem to favor micro-based population research, this volume impresses upon me the importance of looking in the aggregate at underlying demographic trends. Demography is truly unique in that the individual measure directly relates to the population measure. As such, this volume complements the contemporary research agenda in quantitative history quite nicely by providing a background to core demographic measures. It is also quite useful for those whose research falls outside of these areas but who need measures for certain demographic phenomena at a point (and place) in time. The availability of the underlying data in electronic format gives a nod to the fact that the editors understand that the information in these volumes will form the backbone and background of many research projects. Given its numerous sources and size, this volume is a testament to the value of large-scale historical projects and also the value of interdisciplinary work. This work will not only be useful for quantitative American historians, but also for those in the social sciences and history in general who wish to put their research into historical and comparative perspective." -- EH-NET, vol. 1

"Like its 1975 predecessor, this reference volume set stands to be among the most widely cited works in economic history."-- EH-NET, vol. 3 Historical Statistics of the United States. 5 vols. Cambridge Univ. 4641p. ed. by Susan B. Carter & others. maps. index. ISBN 0-521-81791-9 [ISBN 978-0-521-81791-2]. $990. Scholars and laypersons alike can rejoice in this new millennial edition of what's remained the standard for quantitative indicators of American history since 1975. With the explosion of historical data series since 1970, the original two volumes have now grown to five, and 12 new topics have been added. Eighty scholars spent 11 years producing this magnum opus-and it was worth the wait! [Electronic edition is available through www.cambridge.org.] --Library Journal

"This book distills into one massive but handy volume the efforts of an inestimable number of researchers to quantify the development of labor market outcomes and living standards in U.S. history. It contains nearly ten thousand data series (or columns of data), spread across nearly one thousand pages, covering the following topics: "labor," including labor force participation, occupations, wages, hours and working conditions, union participation, and household production; slavery; education; health; economic inequality and poverty; social insurance and public assistance; and nonprofit, voluntary, and religious entities." -- EH-NET, vol 2

“Thirty years worth of data, representing the phenomenal explosion of qualitative scholarship since publication of the bicentennial edition, as well as expanded and revised entries, have been added to this standard history reference for quantitative information...This resource is available electronically via Cambridge University Press, with data accessible for charting, statistical analysis, and regrouping across tables. The malleability of data in electronic form promises to enhance the efforts of scholars and students.” --Choice

"A welcome update to and a significant transformation of a major statistical reference source. Social science researchers will find this to be an extremely useful resource. The narrative chapters accompanying the statistical tables are a major contribution, as they define the subject, provide historical context, and also explain some of the technicalities and derivation of the data. Thanks to logical organization, detailed indexing, comprehensive tables, and a very helpful narrative text, Historical Statistics is a gateway to fascinating factual information about American history and society... Historical Statistics is a fundamental reference source." -- DttP, Documents to the People

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 5000 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Millennium edition edition (January 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521817919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521817912
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 12 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 28.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,926,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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My review is posted as a comment under the previous review. I just wanted to make sure to give this 5 stars to bump up this work's overall rating.
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I purchased this book expecting accurate statistics on a variety of parameters such as births, deaths, murders, divorce, marriage, etc., THROUGHOUT the history of the United States. I discovered most of the data only goes back 40, 60, or at the most 100 years. The book should be retitled "20th Century Historical Statistics of the U.S.," or, more accurately, "Historical Statistics of the U.S. Since 1960." Interspersed with the scanty statistics are the predictable assortment of pro-big-government, collectivist, statist essays from an array of rarified academic types. The 5-volume book is now moldering on my shelf. On the upside, would be great for pressing flowers, stopping doors, dropping on roaches, etc. Thank God I got this used, for about 90% off the list price.
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