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ILRST 2130 - Applied Regression Analysis (Fall 2023): "Fun" Data Sources

What you'll find on this page

This page contains data sets that don't fit into any particular category, and are often just interesting, entertaining, or utilize data to tell a great story. Many of these data were found via Data Is Plural, a (mostly) weekly newsletter that curates interesting or curious data. 

European Cross-Border Rail Data

This is a dataset from OBC Transeuropa that details passenger train routes in Europe that cross national borders. The file below has an excellent readme file in the first tab. 

Here are two articles that utilize this data to tell a story about European rail travel:

Four ways of looking at European cross-border rail links

More and more trains crossing European borders


LFB Animal Rescue Incidents

The London (UK) Fire Brigade published a dataset of animal rescue incidents they attended. Data are updated monthly. They note that the data was published because they are routinely asked to provide data on the 'special services' (i.e. non-fire incidents) they attend. The data are published on London's public data repository.

Bay Area Rental Prices

Economist Kate Pennington has collected two decades worth of Craigslist data to create a dataset of rental price info in the San Francisco Bay Area by scraping data from Craigslist via the Wayback machine. Both the raw and cleaned data is available for analysis. The cleaned data is linked below.

"Mutant Moneyball"

 "Anderson Evans’s Mutant Moneyball project uses comic book market data to explore the financial value of individual X-Men characters. The project’s dataset provides decade-by-decade statistics for 26 members of the team, drawn from sales histories and pricing guides, as well as a matrix indicating the issues in which each character appeared." (From Data is Plural.)

Movie and TV Data

IMDB provides several downloadable datasets for personal and non-commercial use. Datasets can be used individually or combined.

Amber Thomas also collected a dataset of the ages of actors and the characters they portray on teen television shows, in order to analyze the age differences between actors and their characters.

Tour De France

The Tour De France provides rider results dating back to 1903. You can't download the data from their site. However, Thomas Camminady, an applied mathematician, scraped their data to build a series of CSV file full of Tour De France rider and stage data. (Note: He does include some easy instructions on how to import the data into Python using pandas, but does not include similar instructions for R.)

Venture Studios and Startups

The Venture Studio Index is a free, public database of venture studios and their startups intended for founders, operators and investors working with venture studios.

National Database of Childcare Prices

From Data Is Plural: " The National Database of Childcare Prices, launched in January by the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, “is the most comprehensive federal source of childcare prices at the county level.” For each county and year from 2008 to 2018, the dataset provides estimates of the median and 75th-percentile weekly cost, disaggregated by provider type and child age. The estimates are calculated from the market surveys the federal Child Care and Development Fund requires participating states to conduct."

Transit Costs

 “Why do transit-infrastructure projects in New York cost 20 times more on a per kilometer basis than in Seoul?” With the aim of answering questions like these, the NYU-based Transit Costs Project is building a dataset that already spans more than 500 urban rail projects around the world. For each project, the dataset specifies the city, start year, end year, rail length, number of stations, total cost, and more.

(Data description via

Opera Performance Data

Operabase has gathered information about more than 500,000 opera performances staged since 1996. A dataset on six full seasons of opera stagings across hundreds of cities is available. The data were originally collected to support a study of how copyright affects opera performance frequency. (Linked below.)

Katherine Dunham

Dunham’s Data: Katherine Dunham and Digital Methods for Dance Historical Inquiry is a digital humanities project that uses 20th-century African-American choreographer Katherine Dunham as a case study. The data is curated from a large body of undigitized primary source materials. Interesting visualizations are included, but the raw data are also available for you to explore and conduct your own analysis.