New Statistical Abstract of the United States
The U.S. Census Bureau recently released the 2011 edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States. This annual publication is a comprehensive collection of demographic, economic, and social information about the country. The publication of this title is mandated by the U.S. Code. 44 U.S.C. §1343, for example, specifies the number of copies of the Statistical Abstract to be printed.
The Statistical Abstract of the United States has been published nearly every year since 1878, and was originally prepared by the Bureau of Statistics, which was under the U.S. Treasury Department. This agency was transferred to the Department of Commerce and Labor when that department was created in 1903 (Public Law 57-87). and renamed the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce in 1912 (P.L. 62-299). According to the notes following 44 U.S.C. §291 (1964 edition), the Bureau of the Census became the publisher of the Statistical Abstract prior to the 1950 Reorganization Plan under the authority of 5 U.S.C. §601.
Nearly all of the older editions are available online. These older editions provide interesting historical trivial, such as the number of post offices in 1882 (46, 231) or the number of Utah divorces in 1948 (2,199).