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Demographic/Census Data

Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network

Federal, state, and local governments are excellent sources of demographic information. On the federal level, the Census Bureau has details from the last U.S. census -- extremely useful for viewing your regional market. Almost every state and county publishes their own census tracts - population density and distribution figures. These show you the number of people living in specific areas such as precincts, water districts, and neighborhoods. You can probably find this abstract at your research library, through your local Small Business Development Center, or through your state economic development office.

Also contact your local chamber of commerce or economic development authority. Since they are looking to encourage businesses to locate in their areas, they can provide you with information on population trends, payroll statistics, income characteristics, etc. Utilities (the gas and electric company) and banks may also have this kind of information available.

  • Hidden Treasures: Census Bureau Data and Where to Find It - this book, published by the Census Bureau, includes where to find federal and state information.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States - has more than 1,000 pages of statistical information from government and private sources. Excellent for reference citations.

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