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Researching the Local Community: Home

Search strategies and resources to learn about Terre Haute, Vigo County, and the local community.; NUR 444, ECON, other courses

Guidelines for Researching a Local Community

The sources below can be used to find many kinds of information about the local community.

When researching a local community, you may need to think bigger and smaller sometimes. For example, Terre Haute is affected and influenced by the actions and decisions of the state of Indiana, the Wabash Valley, the United States government, the townships, and the neighborhoods. 

The sources on this page provide aspects of information about the community.

The job of a local government is to manage the community for its people. In the course of this work, they create committees, agencies, departments, programs, and groups to do the work designated as appropriate by the government. These committees, agencies, departments, programs, and groups may collect statistics or institute programs for the benefit of the community. So they can be a good source of information. 

The state government also has committees, agencies, departments, programs, and groups that may affect or oversee work within a smaller local community within the state.

In fact, some debate occurs regarding just which branch or level of government should be responsible for certain aspects of the community. And sometimes the argument is that the government should stay out of it. If so, is it anyone's responsibility? You might want to find out for your own community.

In addition, there may be organizations, groups, or charities not part of the government which also serve the local community. These may also collect and share statistics, reports, and aid. They may step up when the government entities are not handling a community need.

Sometimes it is easier to understand the statistics when they are compared to a location that is familiar to you. For example, some of these sources compare a city to the entire state so you can see if your city is richer or poorer than is average for the state, more or less crowded, get the picture.

As you retrieve tables of data and statistics, pay attention to where the data came from. You may notice some common data sources. These are worth remembering for the future. 


StatsIndiana is a website of Indiana data and statistics maintained by the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. Much of the data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey.

Vary the steps below to search for county information.

  1. Go to StatsIndiana
  2. At the top of the webpage, click Profiles > USA Towns in Profile 
  3. Enter the name of the city or town. Town names will be suggested.
  4. Select the appropriate one. The search will automatically start.

American Community Survey
Births / Deaths / Health
CDBG Grant Data
Child Care
Commuting Patterns
Economic Forecasts
Employment & Wages by Industry
Exports / Foreign Direct Investment
Households / Marriage
Housing / Foreclosures
Innovation Metrics
Labor Force / Unemployment
Leading Index for Indiana
Local Employment Dynamics
Population Projections
Poverty / Welfare
Property Sales Disclosures
ZIP Code Data

Indiana State Archives

The Indiana State Archives is under the Indiana Commission on Public Records, and contains materials ranging from vital records of value to genealogists, to a database of early Indiana Supreme Court cases.

Bureau of Economic Analysis

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce provides economic accounts data  of the U.S. economy.

I suggested a way to pull up data but don't hesitate to explore on your own. There is a lot of data here.

Other Useful Subject Guides

American Community Survey

The American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census Bureau uses a series of monthly samples to produce annually updated estimates for small areas (census tracts and block groups).

  1. Go to the American Community Survey.
  2. On the left, select Data Profiles
  3. Select the most recent year.
  4. In the box in the middle of the webpage, select your State.
  5. Select your County or Place (town).
  6. Click Get Data Profile button.
  7. The Results appear below the button.
  8. Click the following, as desired.
    1. Social Characteristics
    2. Economic Characteristics 
    3. Housing Characteristics
    4. Demographic Characteristics

Terre Haute Visitors & Convention Bureau

A Visitors & Convention Bureau provides information to those new to the community for business or pleasure. It includes information on events, museums, art, parks,  science, lodging, restaurants, shopping, and history.

Indiana Indicators

Indiana INdicators is maintained by the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Hospital Association and includes health measures to monitor and evaluate health. 

It is worth taking the time to explore the different parts of this website. There is information on health, education, politics, public safety, transportation, the environment, the economy, and more. A few areas of the website are described below.

Community Dashboards

  1. Go to Indiana INdicators at
  2. Under Community Dashboards, enter a county or city name.
  3. Press Enter.
  4. Suggestions will appear. Choose the one you want.
  5. The search will automatically start.
  6. Results will appear as a list of health metrics displayed on a colorful bar as compared to the state of Indiana as a whole.

Key Indicators

  1. Go to Indiana INdicators at
  2. Under Key Indicators, enter a county or metropolitan region.
  3. Press Go.
  4. Tables will appear that summarize demographics and characteristics of the selected geographic area.


  1. Select Maps (If necessary, click Get Flash to see the map.)
  2. Select Build a Neighborhood Profile
  3. Drag the map to the desired location.
  4. Click to switch to between NAVIGATE Mode to move the map and SELECT Mode to highlight the desired location. (Click map to select or deselect a tract)
  5. When you are ready, click Get Report.

Terre Haute

Vigo County

Indiana State Library

This library has very strong collections which support research in the areas of Indiana history, culture, state government, and extensive colections on Indiana family history and genealogy materials; plus it contains Indiana newspaper holdings, as well as near-comprehensive-level collections of State of Indiana and federal government documents.

National Association of Counties

The National Association of Counties provides access to the official websites of the counties of various states.

State Government Information Index

The State Government Information Index is a collection of state government link pages giving detailed information on each state; it was produced by the Government Information Department of the library of St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX.

Indiana Association of Cities and Towns

This is an organization whose board of directors is made up of mayors and other officials from cities and towns across the state.

Statement of purpose: “To foster, promote and advocate for the success of Hoosier municipalities as laboratories of innovation, hubs of talent and the engines driving our state’s economy.”

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The official website of this state's government, this serves as a gateway to the websites of all the state agencies, to electronic forms, etc. -- even to online versions of such Indiana documents as "2008 Recreation and Fishing Guide" and "Indiana Driver's Manual".

Besides serving as a portal to federal agency websites and individual electronic documents, also has a section which takes users to the official websites maintained by every individual state. is a community news source affiliated with WTWO and WAWV. It includes local information on news, business, sports, events, weather, and recreation.

Click Sections.