Some cool data sets I have found online...

I am collecting a list of the most interesting economic data I have found on the web. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of every data web site but just what I have found most useful for creating my infographics about the US economy.

Check out my list of data sources for An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States.


Historical Tax Rates

Individual Income (earned & unearned)

Medicare (ACA surcharges) 


Capital Gains

C corporate Profit

Income share of Top 1% since 1913

Top Incomes in the United States, 1913-1998 [xls file] Top Incomes country by country comparison [xls file]

Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have been analyzing IRS micro files for several years and have constructed annual series based on income reported on individual tax returns. It is the best source I know of if you want to know the  how much to the wealthiest people (Top 1%, 0.1% and 0.01%) earn in the United States. In addition, they have collaborated on articles looking at top incomes in other countries.

US Income Distribution

Number of Households per Income Range, 2007 [xls file] Number of Families per Income Range, 2007 [xls file]

From the Census Bureau, using these tables one can create the income distribution curve for incomes up to $250,000. I used household income in my 2005 graphic.

Taxes and Income

Average Federal Tax Rates by Income Group since 1979

The Congressional Budget Office's annual look at the taxes paid by households in various income categories for the largest sources of federal revenues--individual income taxes, social insurance (payroll) taxes, corporate income taxes. Data is available in xls files.

Average Income and Tax Rates of the Top 400 Taxpayers 1992-2007

The report (PDF) from the IRS is not updated frequently but you are not likely to find this data anywhere else. It explains how much the superrich pay in taxes to the federal government.

World GDP & Population 1-2008

Angus Maddison's Estimates for GDP and World Population 1-2008 A.D. [xls file]

The only set of data I have found that goes back 2000 years! Most countries are in the series. These statistics were collected by the academic Angus Maddison (who passed away in 2010). A group of his colleges will continue his work here. You can find more about his work at his original web site.

US GDP 1790-present UK GDP 1300-present Gold Prices  1257-present

Measuring Worth

This site provides several historical data sets through their web form. Including exchange rates and stock prices.

U.S Housing Market

Home prices, building costs, population and interest rates since 1890 [xls file] Stock prices, earnings, dividends and interest rates since 1871 [xls file]

This is the data used by Robert J. Shiller in his book Irrational Exuberance looking at bubbles in stock and housing markets.