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6.16: U.S. Census Bureau and Demographic Data

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    Learning Objectives

    • List the types of demographic data a retailer can obtain from the U.S. census bureau

    So remember back to the last section! We found this awesome spot that would be ideal for our new retail location. Well, we think it will be awesome, but there are so many things to think about and analyze before we can say for sure this space will work! We need to know if there are enough people, with a high enough income and the right demographic to shop in our retail store. We also need to make sure we have parking and access, along with knowing the competitive environment. So where should we start? Well, the U.S. Census Bureau collects tons of information!!

    The U.S. Census Bureau

    A census gathers information from every household in the United States every 10 years. This data includes:

    1. Number of people in the household.
    2. Household relationships
    3. Age, sex, race and marital status
    4. Number of household units in each address
    5. Status of the plumbing facilities, number of rooms.
    6. Owner occupied or rental
    7. The value of the home and the vacancy status

    Census data can be out of date, since it is only gathered every 10 years, but it is a good place to start your research once you have chosen a general area.

    This Quickstart will help you pinpoint the demographics you need to get started! Note that this Quickstart is only available for towns over 5,000 people, so if you are working with a small town, you may need to do some different research!


    Let’s look at the Census QuickFacts about Wausau, Wisconsin as an example. The drop down lets you select among a variety of information choices.

    Screenshot of the US Census web page for QuickFacts about Wausau, Wisconsin. There is a drop-down menu from which you can select the kind of information you'd like to look at.

    So, looking at the median income of the Wausau, Wisconsin area, if you are planning to put in an upscale steakhouse, do you think it would make sense?  What if you were planning a McDonald’s or a Taco Bell?

    What other information might you be interested in reviewing?

    Screenshot of the US Census web page for QuickFacts about Wausau, Wisconsin. The topic Income & Poverty has been selected from the drop-down menu.

    In this Quickstart, you have access to a variety of topics such as population, age and sex, race, health and economy, among others. Take some time and do a little research on the U.S. Census website. Think about a business location and business idea. Then wander out there and do some research.

    Do you think the community you chose would support your business idea? Is the population enough? Does the education level support your business? Have fun with this website for a bit, daydreaming about your big idea!

    So remember, this data is only collected every 10 years, so it may be a bit outdated. It is a good starting point though to review your idea to see if the location is feasible.

    Contributors and Attributions

    CC licensed content, Original
    • U.S. Census Bureau and Demographic Data. Authored by: Freedom Learning Group. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution

    6.16: U.S. Census Bureau and Demographic Data is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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