What is FRED? | Getting To Know FRED (2023)

What is FRED? Short for Federal Reserve Economic Data, FRED is an online database consisting of hundreds of thousands of economic data time series from scores of national, international, public, and private sources. FRED, created and maintained by the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data. In essence, FRED helps users tell their data stories. The purpose of this article is to guide the potential (or current) FRED user through the various aspects and tools of the database.

A Brief History…

FRED began in the early 1990s as an offshoot of the long-running legacy at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis of providing monetary data to help better understand the Fed’s policy decisions. Before the popularization of the World Wide Web, the data were provided in list form on a dial-in, electronic bulletin board system. The data were organized into categories containing roughly 300 data series and expanded from there. Perhaps surprisingly, FRED did not begin as part of a grand scheme or strategic objective. Rather, it grew over time in a very organic way. St. Louis Fed staff who were involved either directly with the FRED project or working on the periphery developed tools for the database in an independent, ad hoc manner. One example was in 1995 when a member of the Research Department staff decided to write the code that would officially take FRED “online.” Further work would bring the following FRED developments:


ALFRED (ArchivaL Federal Reserve Economic Data) goes live, offering users the ability to access vintage data for many of the available FRED series.

FRED Graph is introduced alongside the ability to download data in an Excel format.

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Unit transformations allow users to change data from levels to percent change, among others.


GeoFRED provides mapping tools for FRED data.

Published Data Lists go live, allowing users to post created groupings of data.


The FRED API is released, allowing software developers access to the database functionality.


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Frequency aggregation is developed, allowing users the ability to aggregate data from a higher frequency to a lower frequency (e.g., from monthly data to annual data).


The add-in for Microsoft Excel and iPhone app are released.


The Android app becomes available in Google Play.

These tools,in combination with the raw data, have culminated in a widely popular database that is accessed by over two million persons per year from almost every country in the world.


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The Research Department has a firm commitment to thegrowthof the database. Since its inception, FRED has contained many of the more popular figures reported by the Board of Governors, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Census—among others. Through time, FRED has expanded its collection to include many more international, national, and regional data series. More recently, it has become clear that data relevant toother topics and geographies must also be included if FRED is to best serve its users so the data content will continue to grow and evolve. Naturally, care willbe taken to add data in a thorough and prudent manner.

Certain data, as it travels through time, is subject to revision. Anyone who follows GDP long enough will be familiar with the BEA revising (up or down) their quarterly released figure. The FRED database always contains and displays the most recent revision—or vintage—of the data available. But FRED’s real-time relative, the aforementioned ALFRED (ArchivaL Federal Reserve Economic Database), captures all of these individual revisions to a data series. This means that collectively, FRED and ALFRED data can literally be used as a data time machine, allowing users access to the precise data that their predecessors used. Researchers often attempt to replicate results of previous academic papers or use data to “train” economic models; in these instances, the relevance of these FRED tools becomes clear.


The data are accessible from a variety of different hardware and software, with the primary point of access being the FREDwebsite. From the homepage, users can choose to search for the data by typing in their search term or alternatively can browse the data through other organized points of access. Data are browsable by (1) source (the institution or company that produces the data), (2) release (the document associated with the data’s publication), (3) category (a list of data topics as organized by the FRED staff), (4) latest update (the most recently updated data), and (5) tags.

While the categories structure has traditionally been the most popular, the recent expansion of the database has made this method of organizing data increasingly difficult to use, as the number of series in any one category can grow quite large. Tags are seen as the next, more-efficient evolution of this structure. By assigning metadata concepts to the series, as opposed to assigning the series to the concepts, FRED allows for a more flexible cataloging structure that will both accommodate further expansion of the database and help users more quickly and intuitively search these data.

Access doesn’t stop at the website, however. Starting with the FRED application programming interface (API) and building from there, the FRED team and private contributors have developed a suite of applications and programmatic wrappers that make accessing the data much simpler for those with specific computing preferences. For example, staff used this tool to develop the FRED add-in for Microsoft Excel. The add-in gives Microsoft Excel users access to all of the data and tools available in FRED. Users can search for, download, and update data; create charts; and perform frequency aggregation and units transformations, all without leaving their spreadsheet. For users on the go, the FRED apps for the iOS and Android platforms allow access to almost all of the FRED tools in the palm of your hand. For those who use devices outside of these platforms, the FRED mobile website provides an excellent alternative.

The FRED team also works on creating tools for software design. To date, these efforts have allowed third-party developers to create accessibilityfrom R, STATA, MatLAB, RATS, and EViews. FRED is also used in Pearson Education’s MyEconLab, a facility designed to help students understand the intricacies of economic data and theory. Above and beyond this, there are several programmatic wrappers and toolkits available for the FRED API including Java, .NET, PHP, Python, and Ruby. Staff are always exploring the development of further products.

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Having the data that users need and putting it in their hands is certainly helpful; but, to truly help persons tell their data story, you need to provide the necessary tools to work with the data. FRED provides several simple but powerful tools that aid the user in viewing and presenting the data in a manner that is both accurate and understandable. By far, the most popular way to view a time series in FRED is in a line chart. FRED allows the user to not only display their chosen data in this format, but also completely customize the aesthetic of this chart. Users can adjust the fonts, colors, and line weights, among other attributes of the chart. Line charts are helpful for viewing trends over time, but not always the best at comparing recent observations. For this purpose, FRED can also chart data in pie, bar, and scatter plot form. Beyond this, it can also be helpful to view data in its geographic context. GeoFRED allows user to view data at the state, MSA, and county level.

It’s often the case that we need to use more than one series to tell a particular data story. One could imagine a yield spread, for example. In FRED, this calculation is accomplished easily by first pulling the two series into the FRED chart and subtracting one from the other. Going further, we could imagine charting both the 10-year Treasury rate and an AAA corporate bond rate and subtracting the Treasury rate from the bond rate to create our spread. While this is a simple example, users can interact many series on a single chart. When thinking about creating series such as the Taylor rule, this can be quite a handy tool.

Data are often reported in units that might not be the most conducive to analysis. In FRED, units are easily modified. If users view the FRED series for “real gross domestic product in billions of chained 2009 dollars,” they can quickly change this series to “percent change from a year ago” with one simple selection. Change, percent change, and compounded annual rate of change are among the many selections available.

As with units, frequency can also be an issue. It is often the case that, for purposes of estimation and graphing, the frequencies of all data series must be equal. FRED’s built-in frequency aggregation tool makes this a simple matter. Users can quickly and easily aggregate a data series from a higher frequency to a lower one.


At its worst, data can be intimidating to deal with and difficult to understand. To help alleviate these potential obstacles, many series in FRED contain notes that help the user understand or interpret the data in question. These notes are sometimes an off-site link to more information. Other times they can be full explanations about how a series is constructed or should be interpreted. FRED staff will continue to develop these notes as time goes on.

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While we are constantly striving to make FRED as user-friendly as possible, we know that everyone needs help from time to time. Whether a user requires assistance using one of our tools or is simply trying to understand an aspect of a particular data series, we are always available to assist.


Is life of Fred math enough? ›

Believe me, I would love to tell you that a short story and a small handful of math problems was enough to call it good for the day…but I just can't do that. Life of Fred is fun and definitely educational, but I would never call it a complete math curriculum.

Who is Fred Gauss? ›

Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum (Latin for '"the foremost of mathematicians"') and "the greatest mathematician since antiquity", Gauss had an exceptional influence in many fields of mathematics and science; he is ranked among history's most influential mathematicians.

Is Life of Fred a full math curriculum? ›

Pre-Algebra Life of Fred Books

This set would be considered a middle school math program, for students in 5th through 9th grades. Many high school aged students would benefit by going quickly through these books to lay foundations that they might have missed.

Is Life of Fred a stand alone curriculum? ›

The series is intended as a standalone curriculum, though many adapt how they use the books. The series is written for use through high school. Fred and the other characters do get into unusual situations. There are some life lessons thrown in.

Which is the hardest math course? ›

What is the Hardest Math Class in High School? In most cases, you'll find that AP Calculus BC or IB Math HL is the most difficult math course your school offers. Note that AP Calculus BC covers the material in AP Calculus AB but also continues the curriculum, addressing more challenging and advanced concepts.

What is the lowest math class in college? ›

Entry-level math in college is considered the stepping stone to more advanced math. Algebra 1, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus 1 are the basic math classes. Once you have successfully navigated through these courses, you can trail blazed through more advanced courses.

Who is Fred math? ›

The Life of Fred books follow Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius, during his exciting and fun adventures, in which he encounters and solves every day math problems. Many of the books have quizzes. Some books have all the problem solutions in them, while others have separate answer keys or companions.

What was Gauss IQ? ›

Carl Gauss

His estimated IQ scores range from 250 to 300 by different measures. His writings were particularly influential in the study of electromagnetism. He refused to publish anything until it was absolutely perfect.

Who invented math? ›

The earliest evidence of written mathematics dates back to the ancient Sumerians, who built the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia. They developed a complex system of metrology from 3000 BC.

Is Year 7 math hard? ›

There is a significant jump from Year 6 Maths to Year 7 Maths. Students may find it difficult to apply the concepts they learned in Year 6 to Year 7 because the level of Maths is much harder and the jump into High School can be unsettling.

What is the best homeschool math curriculum? ›

The 10 best homeschool math curriculum programs
  • Math-U-See.
  • Saxon Math.
  • Horizons Math.
  • Life of Fred.
  • Rightstart Math.
  • Khan Academy.
  • VideoText Math.
  • Math Adventures.
Oct 20, 2021

What is the best math curriculum for high school? ›

Top High School Algebra Curriculums 6-10
  • Video Text Interactive Math Algebra.
  • Abeka Algebra.
  • Dive Into Math Algebra.
  • CTC Math Algebra. BJU Press Algebra.

What grade is life of Fred ice cream? ›

Ice Cream is the ninth book in the Life of Fred Elementary Series, which is designed for students in grades 1-4.

What grade is life of Fred dogs? ›

While the entire series can be completed in just 12-18 months, Apples through Dogs was designed for grades 1-4, Edgewood through Jelly Beans for grades 2-4. Regardless of starting grade level, you will want to begin in Apples. So far, there are ten books to the series.

What grade is life of Fred kidneys? ›

Kidneys is the first book in the Life of Fred Intermediate Series , which is designed for students who have completed the elementary series books but have not yet completed grade 5.

Which math is fastest? ›

Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash (born 13 October 1999) is a human calculator from India, and is titled as the "World's Fastest Human Calculator". BBC said "Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash is to math (mental calculation) what Usain Bolt is to running".

Is Grade 12 math hard? ›

It's no secret; Grade 12 Calculus is a challenging course. Many students struggle because they are learning new and complicated concepts they've never seen before. If you plan on taking calculus, here are some tips to help you prepare for your journey ahead.

Did Bill Gates pass math 55? ›

Bill Gates took Math 55.

To get a sense of the kind of brains it takes to get through Math 55, consider that Bill Gates himself was a student in the course. (He passed.) And if you'd like to sharpen your brain like Microsoft's co-founder, here are The 5 Books Bill Gates Says You Should Read.

What degree has no math? ›

Jobs in writing, publishing, public relations, advertising, and communications also require virtually no math at all. If you love history, literature, civics, foreign languages, or art, you may find your sweet spot teaching a favorite subject in private or public schools.

What if I fail a math class in college? ›

If you fail a class, you'll get a 0 on your transcript — and that can bring down your GPA. Failed classes count toward your GPA, though some colleges do not count pass/fail classes in your GPA calculation. If you get an F, you still have to pay for the class without receiving any credit toward your degree.

What is the easiest class to take in college? ›

That being said, here's a look at some college classes that tend to be easier than some core classes.
  • Creative Writing. ...
  • Physical Education. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Public Speaking. ...
  • Anthropology. ...
  • Art History. ...
  • Acting. ...
  • Photography.

Is Life of Fred good? ›

Life of Fred is a great math curriculum for kids because it tells the story of a 5-year-old math genius, Fred, who lives and works at KITTENS University. The author, Stanley F. Schmidt, Ph.

Who is math meme? ›

The meme is known as “Math Lady” or also known as “Confused Lady”. The “lady” is, in fact, Renata Sorrah who is playing a character from the telenovela “Senhora do Destino”, a popular show in Brazil.

Who has 500 IQ? ›

Marilyn vos Savant
BornMarilyn Mach August 11, 1946 St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
OccupationAuthor columnist
SpouseRobert Jarvik ​ ( m. 1987)​

Who had an IQ of 400? ›

Adragon De Mello: IQ 400

In 1988, when Adragon De Mello graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a degree in computational mathematics at the age of 11, he was the youngest college graduate in the United States (a record he no longer holds).

Who had an IQ of 300? ›

His score was the highest that had ever been obtained. In terms of IQ, the psychologist related that the figure would be between 250 and 300. Late in life William Sidis took general intelligence tests for Civil Service positions in New York and Boston. His phenomenal ratings are matter of record.

Who found zero? ›

Aryabhata, a great astronomer of the classic age of India was the one who invented the digit “0” (zero) for which he became immortal but later on is given to Brahmagupta who lived around a century later 22, another ancient Indian mathematician.

Who put letters in math? ›

At the end of the 16th century, François Viète introduced the idea of representing known and unknown numbers by letters, nowadays called variables, and the idea of computing with them as if they were numbers—in order to obtain the result by a simple replacement.

Why is it called math? ›

The word mathematics comes from Ancient Greek máthēma (μάθημα), meaning "that which is learnt", "what one gets to know", hence also "study" and "science". The word came to have the narrower and more technical meaning of "mathematical study" even in Classical times.

What grade level is life of Fred mineshaft? ›

This Life of Fred Intermediate Set includes the following 3 books: Kidneys, Liver, and Mineshaft. Each book contains 128 pages of intermediate math with practice problems and examples designed for 4th-6th grade students. It is designed to be read with the student.

What grade level is life of Fred Dogs? ›

The fourth book in the Life of Fred Elementary Series. There are 10 books in the Elementary Series are for grades 1 through 4.

What grade level is life of Fred butterflies? ›

Butterflies is the second book in the Life of Fred Elementary Series , which is designed for students in grades 1-4.

What curriculum do most homeschoolers use? ›

Our Favorites Best Homeschool Curriculum
  • Easy Peasy All-in-One Complete Homeschool Curriculum. ...
  • BJU Press Homeschool Curriculum. ...
  • Abeka Homeschool Curriculum. ...
  • Bridgeway Academy Homeschool Curriculum. ...
  • Teaching Textbooks Homeschool Curriculum. ...
  • CTC Math Homeschool Curriculum.

What is the most popular homeschool program? ›

Top 10 Best Programs for Homeschooling
  • Memoria Press Academy. Time4Learning is one of the best online homeschool programs available. ...
  • The Keystone School. Keystone School Online is another great online school. ...
  • BJU Press Homeschool. ...
  • Calvert Homeschool. ...
  • Khan Academy. ...
  • edX. ...
  • Easy Peasy Homeschool. ...
  • Abeka.
Nov 17, 2022

Is Khan Academy enough for homeschool math? ›

When people find out that Ben uses Khan Academy, the first thing they ask is if Khan Academy math lessons can be used as a full math curriculum. The answer is yes! Khan Academy math lessons can absolutely be used as a full homeschool math curriculum.

How many Life of Fred books are there? ›

The 10 titles (Apples, Butterflies, Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, Farming, Goldfish, Honey, Ice Cream and Jellybeans) make up the LIFE OF FRED elementary series. They are designed to be used in alphabetical order as listed and cover grades 1-4.

When was life of Fred written? ›

The Life of Fred actually begins in the Calculus as serious as it needs to be book (in which Fred is born), the first written (in 2001).

How old is life of Fred? ›

Life of Fred - Advanced Maths is aimed at young people aged 17 and over and is roughly equivalent to "A" Level and higher college mathematics.

What level is guinea dog? ›

His worst friend has one. But his dad has a few objections: They whine. They gnaw. They bark.
Guinea Dog.
Interest LevelGrade 3 - Grade 6
Reading LevelGrade 3
PublisherLerner Publishing Group
ImprintDarby Creek ™
5 more rows

What level is Big Dog Little Dog? ›

Product information
Publisher‎Clarion Books; Reprint edition (June 16, 2015)
Reading age‎4 - 7 years
Lexile measure‎160L
Grade levelPreschool - 3
Dimensions‎6 x 0.12 x 9 inches
8 more rows

What level is Beast Academy Level 3? ›

Beast Academy 3A

Recommended for students ages 9‑10. Beast Academy provides a fun, rigorous, challenging, complete curriculum for aspiring math beasts.

What level is caterpillar to butterfly? ›

This is a Level 1 Let's-Read-and-Find-Out, which means the book explores introductory concepts perfect for children in the primary grades. The 100+ titles in this leading nonfiction series are: hands-on and visual. acclaimed and trusted.

What level is Beast Academy Level 2? ›

Beast Academy 2A

Recommended for students ages 7‑9. Beast Academy provides a fun, rigorous, challenging, complete curriculum for aspiring math beasts.


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