NAEPDC - National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium LINCSearch - Search Literacy Information
A natural resource for adult education state directors and their staff members.
Members State Staff Publications Staff Site Map

Information Sources and Strategies for

Determining Needs


State/National Data and Research


A thorough analysis of your state’s demographics related to educational, economic, and other appropriate issues is a good first step.  A review of pertinent national research can also provide additional insight into trends, challenges, and needs.  These sources give you information about the environment in which you are programming.


US Census Bureau

US Department of Education

National Institute for Literacy

National Adult Literacy Survey

US Department of Labor

International Adult Literacy Survey

Limited English Proficient Data Sources

National Research


A.     US Census Bureau

Basic Facts

Basic Facts provides tables and maps for the United States, states, counties, cities, towns, and US Indian reservations on a variety of areas including education, employment, income, poverty, population, housing, race, ancestry, and language.


Current Population Survey

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the primary source of information on labor force characteristics of the U.S. population.


B.     US Department of Education

Profiles of the Adult Education Target Population: Information from the 2000 Census, April 2004:

  • Census Report Section 1: Overview and National Profiles [downloadable files] PDF (192 KB)
  • Census Report Section 2: Regional Profiles of the Adult Education Target Population [downloadable files] PDF (247 KB)
  • Census Report Section 3: State Profiles of the Adult Education Target Population [downloadable files] PDF (2,498 KB)

National Household Survey

The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population and offers researchers, educators, and policymakers a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The NHES surveys cover learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age to adulthood. The most recent data collection in 2003 consisted of two surveys: Adult Education for Work Related Reasons and Parent and Family Involvement in Education.


Participation Trends and Patterns in Adult Education:  1991 to 1999

This report uses data from the 1991, 1995, and 1999 Adult Education Surveys of the National Household Education Surveys Program to examine participation rates in adult education over time. Participation is examined among different groups of adults (by age, sex, race/ethnicity, education level, labor force status, occupation group, and whether the adult has continuing education requirements), and for different types of adult education (adult basic education, English as a Second Language programs, credential programs, apprenticeship programs, work-related courses, and nonwork-related courses).


Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

This study is sponsored primarily by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), in collaboration with other federal agencies and organizations. It provides detailed information on children's health, early care, and early school experiences through two cohorts, the Kindergarten Cohort and the Birth Cohort.


National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

This national assessment has conducted regularly administered assessments in a variety of subject areas to nationally representative samples of students since 1969. NAEP has two main assessment programs, the long-term trend and the main national assessment.


C.  National Institute for Literacy

National Institute for Literacy Fact Sheets

The NIFL Literacy Fact Sheets include facts and statistics pulled from more than 50 research studies. Facts are organized by the major topic areas in the field of literacy.


D.  National Adult Literacy Survey

National Adult Literacy Survey

Technical Report and Users’ Manual

In 1992, nearly 13,600 individuals age 16 and older, randomly selected to represent the adult population in this country, were surveyed in their homes. In addition, about 1,000 randomly selected adults age 16 through 65 were surveyed in each of 12 states that chose to participate in a concurrent State Adult Literacy Survey designed to produce state-level results comparable to the national data.


The State of Literacy in America:  Synthetic Estimates of Adult Literacy Proficiency at the Local, State, and National Levels

The National Institute for Literacy presents here an extrapolation of NALS data for states, counties, Congressional districts, and cities with adult populations over 5,000. The data were prepared by researcher Stephen Reder of Portland State University, and made possible by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education's Division of Adult Education and Literacy.


E.   Department of Labor

Department of Labor

This locator website provides access to individual state information on Department of Labor services, programs, and statistics, including current labor force data, wage information, and unemployment rates.


F.  International Adult Literacy Survey

International Adult Literacy Survey

The survey was a 22-country initiative conducted between 1994 and 1998. In every country, nationally representative samples of adults aged between 16-65 were interviewed and tested at home, using the same literacy test.


G.  Limited English Proficient Data Sources

Migration Information Center
This Web-based resource for information on migration worldwide has a data center that tracks migration patterns, trends, and related statistics on a country-by-country basis.


National Center for ESL Literacy Education

The National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE), the only national information center focusing on the language and literacy education of adults and out-of-school youth learning English, works to support those providing such services. For over ten years, NCLE has provided information on adult ESL literacy education to teachers and tutors, program directors, researchers, and policymakers interested in the education of refugees, immigrants, and other U.S. residents whose native language is other than English. This population includes adults who are low-literate and low-skilled, as well as those who are more educated but need to improve their English language skills.

National Clearinghouse for for English Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs FAQs
Many of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and their answers on this page of the National Center for Bilingual Education's (NCBE) Web site focus on statistical information about English language learner populations in the U.S. While NCBE's focus tends to be K-12, there are resources and statistics discussed that may be of interest to educators working with adults and out-of-school youth.

National Immigration Forum
The reports and articles on the Forum's Web site present information and statistics on a variety of topics related to immigrants and immigration, including refugees and asylees, immigrants and the economy, employment-related and family immigration, and profiles of today's newcomers.

Numbers and Needs
Numbers and Needs is a newsletter that both reports on and discusses the implications of a variety of statistics related to ethnic and linguistic minority populations in the United States. While the focus tends to be K-12 education issues, there are resources and information related to post-secondary and adult groups as well. The Web site provides access to issues from the years 1998 and 1999.

Office of Immigration Statistics Materials, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
This section of the CIS Web site provides access to a variety of immigration-related statistics and to reports based on these statistics. There is also a link to the online version of the Yearbook of Immigration Statistics.

Tomás Rivera Policy Center's Latino Facts and Statistics
The Center, a nonprofit policy research organization, provides this page of facts and statistics on the Latino population in the United States. (Different statistics, drawn largely from U.S. Census, cycle onto the page every 6-8 seconds.) The Center also produces reports on this population.

Urban Institute's Research Reports on Immigration
These reports, available online in full-text, provide data and information on immigrants and topics such as public benefits, employment, children and families, and employment.

Also of interest:


H.  National Research

Current Research in Adult Literacy and Learning

This website provides a partial listing of research projects currently being undertaken or completed within the fields of adult learning and literacy.  The list represents information gathered from a network of organizations who are affiliated or in contact with the National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy or whose researchers have previously contributed to Focus on Basics. It is by no means comprehensive of all of the research being completed but will give you a place to start.


Research Reports from the National Research and Development Centers

This web site provides links to research reports and publications for the 12 National Research and Development Centers of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement.


National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium Research Notes

The NAEPDC has developed one-page research notes that summarize the findings and implications of a variety of national adult education research projects.  The notes also include links to the full research reports.


Contact us: Dr. Lennox McLendon, Executive Director; 444 North Capitol Street, NW; Suite 422; Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-624-5250; Fax: 202-624-1497; Email: