The Top Twenty Essential US Government Web Sites

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Top 20 Essential U.S. Government Web Sites

top U.S. government websites

There are literally hundreds of thousands of US government and government-related Web sites online today, and it can be overwhelming (to say the least!) to find what you're looking for. In this article, we'll go through the top United States government sites that you need to know about; the sites that consistently offer the best user experience, helping you to find what you need quickly, easily, and efficiently.

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USA.gov

USA.gov

USA.gov serves as the public's access portal into the vast resources available on the Web from the U.S. government.

Find out more about USA.gov in this profile titled USA.gov.

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The Library of Congress

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the nation's largest repository of culture, as well as the largest functioning library in the entire world.

Read more about the Library of Congress in this profile titled Library of Congress.

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THOMAS

THOMAS.loc

A subsite of the Library of Congress, THOMAS (named for Thomas Jefferson) is federal legislation freely available for the general public.

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GPO Access Core Documents of U.S. Democracy

U.S. Government Publishing Office

From the Articles of Confederation to a Statistical Abstract of the United States, if you're looking for an American historical document, you'll probably find it here at the Core Documents of U.S. Democracy.

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Federal Citizen Information Center

Federal Citizen Information Center

Find government publications, booklets, consumer action alerts, and more at the FCIC - Federal Citizen Information Center. 

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Ben's Guide to US Government for Kids

Ben's Guide to Government for Kids

Ben's Guide is an excellent introduction to the US government: "This site provides learning tools for K-12 students, parents, and teachers. These resources will teach how our government works, the use of the primary source materials of GPO Access, and how one can use GPO Access to carry out their civic responsibilities." 

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Healthfinder.gov

Healthfinder.gov

 Healthfinder.gov is one of the best places to find government-related health and human services information on the Web. Over 1500 health-related organizations are represented here.

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NCHS Vital Records

National Center for Health Statistics

If you are wondering how to obtain vital records, then the National Center for Health Statistics is the best place to start. Every state is represented here, with detailed information on how to go about getting what you need.

Related: Looking to do a free public records search on the Web? I've put together a Top Ten list of where to find the best free public record search databases online, from obituaries to census records. Read more in Top Ten Free Public Records Search Picks.

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Whitehouse.gov

Whitehouse.gov

Whitehouse.gov not only gives you the latest Presidential news, but you can also find out the President's official stand on a whole plethora of policy issues, from budget management to national defense. 

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U.S. Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau

Want US population info? How about the latest census findings? You can find answers to these questions and a whole lot more at the US Census Bureau.

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CIA World Factbook

CIA World Factbook

Find detailed geographical, demographical, and statistical information for every country in the world at the CIA World Factbook - also available in a free download form for easy offline access.

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US Department of Veterans Affairs

US Department of Veterans Affairs

If you are a veteran, then you need to put the VA site in your bookmarks immediately. You can find information about prescription refills, veterans affairs forms, health care benefits, education resources, and much more.

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FEMA

FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a great resource for the latest emergency headlines, disaster preparedness, and how to apply for federal or state emergency assistance.

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Internal Revenue Service

IRS

No, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) probably isn't where you want to spend too much of your time, but it's a very rich resource for when you need to find tax information quickly and efficiently.

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The United States Postal Service

USPS

The United States Postal Service is a wonderful resource; you can print postage and labels online, change your address, stop your mail while you're on vacation, and a whole lot more. 

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NOAA

NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is a treasure trove for weather junkies or anyone else who wants to stay on top of weather happenings, as well as oceanic research and new aquatic developments.

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The National Archives

National Archives

Research your genealogical history, delve into historical topics, and view historical documents and photos of all kinds at the National Archives.

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Social Security Online

Social Security

Need to apply for social security benefits? Replace your Medicare card? How about plan your retirement, qualify for disability, or get help with name changes? You can do all these things and more at Social Security Online.

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USGS

USGS

The US Geological Survey is one of the most interesting sites on the Web: "As an unbiased, multi-disciplinary science organization that focuses on biology, geography, geology, geospatial information, and water, we are dedicated to the timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, our natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten us."

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State and Local Government Information

State and Government Resources

Find links to state and local government here at the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room's list of state government resources.