Sources should be cited with all data visualizations so that users understand where the underlying data comes from.
When cited properly, sources help expert users access the underlying data for their own purposes. While many federal agencies have their own guidance for formatting sources (see below examples), you can start by ensuring that your source statement:
- Indicates the agency that provided the data.
- Indicates the program(s) that provided the data.
- Indicates the date of the source data.
- If publicly accessible online, links to the source data.
Sources should be the last element included in a data visualization, ideally below the description or the visualization itself.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s style for citing references is:
U.S. Census Bureau, [Program/Publication], [Page number], [Posted date/Date of source data], [URL], Accessed on [Date].
Follow the U.S. Census Bureau’s (or your agency’s, if different) citation styles.