Most Popular Government API Categories

Editor's note: Be sure to check out our research on the overall growth of Web APIs since 2005. At the time of writing, this is the most recent data we have, but check the research page to see if we have a more updated article. We will be continually updating the overall growth chart with other charts getting updated on a less frequent basis.

Every month our editor in chief, David Berlind, attends the Washington DC API meetup. This gives him the chance to chat with a number of API practitioners from the area and as such affords ProgrammableWeb an inside view into some of the issues that are important to the government's tech community. Perhaps there are other signals as well. We saw earlier this year that the Government category was one of the most popular API categories within our directory. This is no doubt in part due to the previous administration's mandate that all government generated data be machine readable. But what kinds of data are being made available via API?

The ProgrammableWeb API directory can provide some clues as to the kinds of data that the government has prioritized opening up. There are currently more than 700 APIs listed that have been placed in the Government category. The ten most popular related categories are shown in the chart below.

Top ten government related API categories (through November 2017)

It is no surprise to see Financial, Data and Mapping among the most represented APIs as those categories have been popular for a long time across the entire API economy. On the other hand, it does appear that there are certain categories of APIs that are representative of the kinds of data the government has made available. The US government has stored untold amounts of reference materials and APIs such as the Library of Congress Data Exploration, which stores the Library's collections data; FRED, a service that provides access to the federal reserve's economic data; and, which makes available reference material for small businesses, are just a few examples of the variety of reference data available to developers.

Statistics is another category with a number of APIs to explore. Some of the major APIs include the US Census Bureau which offers countless statistics centered on demographic information, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics where users can gain access to employment information investigated by the US government.

Of course, not all government APIs are related to the US government. A number of APIs are for governments or organizations around the world. England has more than 30 government APIs in our directory.

The table below shows the top 20 government related API categories.


Number of APIs (as of November 2017)
Open Data51

With over 700, we have a lot of government APIs covered in our directory, but there are undoubtedly many many more. Have we missed any obvious ones? Let us know or better yet, use the link below to add the API to our directory.

Be sure to read the next API article: ProgrammableWeb's Most Popular APIs of 2017