Understanding your customer is key to the success of any small business. Fortunately, there are many great sources of data on the population and how it is changing — this is called Demographics Data. This page is a collection of some of the best sources for demographics data. Most of these links are to public data sources that are free.
If you would like some help sorting through this data, or want a customized research report at no cost to you (it’s prepaid by the U.S. Small Business Administration), don’t forget your local Small Business Development Center — where you can also find free or low-cost training opportunities, plus free professional business counseling.
General Business Statistics
The federal government collects and reports statistical information for a wide range of demographics data and economic topics. You can search for collected information at http://www.fedstats.gov/. The White House has also prepared a compilation of frequently requested topics on their web site. The greatest source of demographics information can be found at the AmericanFactfinder, the Census Bureaus web site for disseminating Census 2000 data. Please realize that all most all services, including GIS, that offer demographics use the Census data. So, you may be paying for a service that is giving you demographics that you could easily be looking up your self for free. If you are paying for your demographics please check to make sure you are getting information that is worth the money you are spending for demographics.
During each decade, the Census Bureau collects data on a variety of different subjects, including economic and business related, housing, and special demographics tabulations. See Subjects A to Z to locate the information you need. The Statistical Abstract of the United States is a compendium of statistics from a variety of government and other publications.
Sometimes, information on best customers or target markets can be found within articles in newspapers and magazines. American Demographics is the primary resource for market research articles. Their web site provides snippets of information for free and full articles for a nominal fee.
The Population Reference Bureau provides overviews of their studies at http://www.prb.org/.
Demographics by Geography: State, MSA and County
- State & County Quickfacts Most recent economic and demographics estimates by State and County.
- CensusScope Create eye-catching charts and tables for key demographics variables by State or MSA.
- FDIC Regional Economic Conditions (RECON) Nice charts and tables of economic indicators by MSA and County. Includes statistics on bankruptcies, housing, employment, and income.
- County Business Patterns – employment and establishment data for counties, ZIP Codes, and Metropolitan Areas for 1993 to 2000
- Migration Data can be charted on this web site. See migration by year for the 1990s for MSAs and States. ZIP Code
- Acorn Lifestyle Lookup– see 2001 demographic estimates and geo-demographic lifestyle data.
- Don’t know the ZIP Code? Look up the ZIP Code for any address here.
- Use MelissaData.com to find out what ZIP codes are within a certain radius of your primary ZIP code.
- The Right Site 2000 Census Data (Free)
Demographics by Subject
Agriculture and Forestry 1997 Census of Agriculture – statistical information about farms and farming (USDA). American Indians/Alaskan Natives Facts on the American Indian/Alaska Native Population – fact sheet and links to American Indian/Alaska Native data from the Census Bureau.
Asians/Pacific Islanders Facts on the Asian/Pacific Island Population – fact sheet and links to Asian/Pacific Islander data from the Census Bureau.
Blacks/African Americans Facts on the Black/African American Population – fact sheet and links to Black/African American data from the Census Bureau. Business & Economic Data 1997 Economic Census– business establishment data for the nation, states, MSAs, counties and cities.
EconData.net– another webliography of economic related data sources.
Computer and Internet Use Demographics
- CyberAtlas – compendium of online statistics.
- Computer Use and Ownership national data from the Census Bureaus Current Population Survey.
- Pew Internet & American Life – Research on the hyperspace use.
- Consumer Expenditure Survey – consumer expenditure estimates by region and consumer type.
- Bureau of Justice Statistics – everything you want to know about crime and crime control.
- National Center for Educational Statistics – from the US Dept. of Education.
- ChildCare.gov – statistics related to the childcare industry.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Official Source for statistics on unemployment, employment and wages.
Healthcare, Aging and Vital Statistics
- Demographic Characteristics of the Aging Population compiled by the Administration on Aging.
- Statistics on Healthcare and Healthcare Expenditures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
- National Center for Health Statistics – vital (births & deaths) and health statistics for the nation and states.
- Hispanic Research provides overview of Hispanic market.
- Facts on the Hispanic/Latino Population fact sheet and links to Hispanic/Latino data from the Census Bureau.
- American Housing Survey – US Census Survey of Housing in metropolitan areas (2001).
- Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Research – recent research about affordable housing.
Religious Affiliation and Attitudes Demographics
- Adherents.com – find out how many Methodists (or other religious adherents) are in your state. Compilation of data from several different sources.
- American Religion Data Archive Create maps and charts of religious affiliation by state and county. Access to other surveys on religious affiliation and opinion. Funded by the Lilly Endowment through the Pennsylvania State University.
- American Religious Identification Survey conducted by the City University of New York. Key findings and statistics for the Unites States can be found on this web site.
- Barna Research conducts public opinion surveys of Christians and provides analysis of Christian Churches.
- Hartford Institute for Religion Research a source for various studies on culture and religion. Includes links to other research centers and denominational statistical offices.
- North American Jewish Databank statistics are not available online, but information on research conducted nationwide and in various communities can be found here. Contact information for data sources is provided.
- Religious Congregations and Membership: 2000is a report from the Glenmary Research Center. This Catholic group conducts a census of religious bodies every decade at the same time as the U.S. Census. Highlights and summary information can be found at the web site along with information on how to purchase the full report.
- Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches is a book published yearly by the National Council of Churches in the USA. Includes statistical information on religious congregations as well as contact information for denominational offices. Includes most religious bodies found in Canada and the United States. The web site includes current statistics for Christian denominations who are members of the NCCUSA.
BLS Demographics Data
Several programs at the Bureau of Labor Statistics make significant amounts of data available for specific demographic categories. Demographic categories used by BLS include sex, age, race, and ethnic origin. The data by age generally are limited to persons of working age, defined as 16 years and older. Data on race generally are for blacks and whites. Data on ethnicity are confined chiefly to information on persons of Hispanic origin.
BLS Statistics, by demographic category:
- Demographic Characteristics of the Labor Force (Current Population Survey) – A monthly household survey provides comprehensive information on the employment and unemployment of the population classified by age, sex, race, and ethnic origin, as well as other characteristics such as educational attainment and veteran status.
- Geographic Profile – The Geographic Profile of Employment and Unemployment contains some demographic information from the Current Population Survey for regions and divisions, 50 States and the District of Columbia.
- Consumer Spending – The Consumer Expenditure Survey measures the spending habits of U.S. consumers and includes data on their expenditures, income, and demographic characteristics.
- Injuries and Illnesses -Demographic details are available for both fatal and nonfatal occupational injuries along with information about the event producing the injury, the industry in which it occurred, and other details of the incident.
- Longitudinal Studies (National Longitudinal Surveys) -This program provides information about many aspects of the lives and labor market experiences of six groups of men and women at multiple points in time, some stretching over several decades.
- The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) measures the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, and socializing.
United States Statistics
- ICPSR at the University of Texas
- Agriculture Census (U.S. Census Bureau)
- American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau)
- American Housing Survey (U.S. Census Bureau)
- Aviation Statistics (Federal Aviation Administration)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Census Bureau
- Best starting place for census data
- Census – American FactFinder
- Basic data and census maps
- Census Bureau Publications in PDF
- Most major Census Bureau statistical series are available, usually for recent years only
- Census – Historical Census Data in PCL
- Print and other census data in PCL, 1790-present
- Census – Historical Census Data Online 1790-2000 (Social Explorer)
- Census – Historical Census Data Online (University of Virginia Library)
- National level data, 1790-1960
- City Rankings (Kiplinger)
- City Rankings – 100 Largest Cities 1790-1990
- City Rankings – Largest Cities 2007 (CityMayors)
- City Rankings – Populations Greater than 300,000 – Census 2000 (Demographia)
- Climate Data (National Climatic Data Center)
- City data includes per capita and household income, median home values, driving time to work, etc.
- Condition of Education 2001
- Consumer Price Index
- Cost of Living Index (ACCRA)
- County and City Data Book 2007 (U.S. Bureau of the Census)
- 2000 edition
- County and City Data Book (Univ. of Virginia Libraries)
- 1944 through 2000 editions
- County Business Patterns (Univ. of Virginia Libraries)
- County Business Patterns (Census Bureau)
- Crime Statistics – Bureau of Justice Statistics and their Publications
- Crime Statistics – Colleges and Universities (U.S. Dept. of Education)
- Crime Statistics – Crime and Justice Electronic Data for Spreadsheets
- Crime Statistics (National Criminal Justice Reference Service)
- Crime Statistics – National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (UT Austin users) (ICPSR)
- Crime Statistics – Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
- Crime Statistics – Uniform Crime Reports (FBI)
- Current Index to Statistics Database
- Keyword searchable bibliographic database
- Current Industrial Reports (Census Bureau)
- Demographic Briefs (Demographia)
- For U.S. States, Cities, Counties, Metro Areas, etc.
- Demographic Maps (PolicyMap)
- Digest of Education Statistics
- Economagic Data Collections
- Links to 100,000 economic data files. A good place to find historical time series.
- Census – Economy and Business Statistics (Census Bureau)
- Economic Conditions – RECON Database (FDIC)
- Data by County, MSA and State
- Economic Data – Regional (EconData.Net)
- Economic Indicators (GPO Access)
- Economic Indicators – Consumer Price Index (BLS)
- Economic Indicators – Gross Domestic Product (BEA)
- Economic Indicators – National Economic Accounts (BEA)
- Including Gross Domestic Product, Supplemental Estimates, Personal Income and Outlays, Corporate Profits, Fixed Assets and Government Current Receipts and Expenditures
- Economic Indicators – Producer Price Index (BLS)
- Economic Indicators – Resources for Locating Economic Indicators in PCL
- Economic Statistics (Census Bureau)
- Education Statistics – Condition of Education, 1989-2008
- Education Statistics – Digest of Education Statistics
- Education Statistics – School Districts and Individual Schools
- Education Statistics – Search for Publications of the National Center for Education Statistics
- Employment Cost Index (BLS)
- Employment – Local Area Employment and Unemployment (BLS)
- Employment – Weekly Unemployment Claims Report (DOL)
- Environmental Data (EPA)
- Equal Employment Opportunity Data
- Estimates and Projections – Population (Census Bureau)
- Exports by State (Census Bureau)
- Exports by State (U.S. International Trade Administration)
- Statistics from more than 70 U.S. Government agencies
- Gay and Lesbian Statistics (Williams Institute)
- Glossary of Social Science Computing and Data Terms (Jim Jacobs/UCSD)
- Government Statistics (Vanderbilt University)
- Hundreds of links arranged into broad subject areas
- Gross Domestic Product (BEA)
- Health Statistics (National Center for Health Statistics)
- Health: United States, 2007
- Health Insurance Data (Census Bureau)
- Highway Statistics (U.S. Dept. of Transportation)
- Housing – New Construction (Census Bureau)
- Housing – New Residential Sales (Census Bureau)
- Housing Starts and Building Permits (Census Bureau)
- ICPSR at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin Users)
- Immigration – Data and Statistics (Department of Homeland Security)
- Immigration – Estimates (Census Bureau)
- Immigration – Statistical Publications (Department of Homeland Security)
- Immigration – Yearbook of Immigration Statistics (Department of Homeland Security)
- Income Data (Census Bureau)
- Income Data – Local Area Personal Income (BEA)
- Income Tax Data (Brookings Institution)
- Data by city, county, state, metro area, zip code and congressional district, 1997-2005
- IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series) 1850-2000 (University of Minnesota)
- Internet – Statistics [E-Stats] (U.S. Bureau of the Census)
- E-Commerce statistics
- Internet – Statistics (ClickZ)
- Labor Statistics (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Labor – Equal Employment Opportunity Data (Census 2000)
- LexisNexis Statistical (UT Austin users)
- Life Tables – U.S. Decennial Life Tables (CDC)
- Literacy Estimates for Cities, Counties, States and Congressional Districts (National Institute for Literacy)
- Manufacturing – Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization (Economagic)
- Manufacturing – Current Industrial Reports (Census Bureau)
- Mexican Migration Project Databases (University of Pennsylvania)
- Migration Data and Reports (Census 2000)
- Military Statistics [Personnel and Procurement] (U.S. Department of Defense)
- Monetary Statistics (Federal Reserve)
- National Center for Health Statistics
- National Income and Product Account Tables
- Newspaper Statistics (Readership Institute)
- Polls – National Network of State Polls (Odum Institute)
- Polls – PollingReport
- Polls – More Online and Print Sources for Polls
- Population Estimates and Projections (Census Bureau)
- Population Index
- Indexes information of interest to demographers. The entire database for 1986-1997 is available online and can be searched by author, subject matter, geographical region and year of publication.
- Population Profile of the United States 2000 (Census Bureau)
- Population Reference Bureau
- Poverty Data (Census Bureau)
- Producer Price Index
- Religion Statistics (Adherents.com)
- Religious Membership in the U.S. (Demographia)
- Retail Sales (Census Bureau)
- Salaries by Metro Area, State and Region and Occupation (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Social Security – Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics
- State and Local Government Data (Census Bureau)
- Includes Finance data for city and county governments, school finance data, public employment data and more
- State Personal Income (Bureau of Economic Analysis)
- Statistical Abstract of the United States
- Statistical Resources on the Web (University of Michigan)
- Statistical Consulting Services at the University of Texas at Austin (ACITS)
- Statistics Textbook Online (StatSoft)
- Survey of Current Business (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
- Tariff and Trade DataWeb (U.S. International Trade Commission)
- Trade Statistics – Exports from Metro Areas 2007 (U.S. International Trade Administration)
- Trade Statistics – U.S. Foreign Trade Statistics (Census Bureau)
- Trade Statistics – U.S. Foreign Trade Statistics (U.S. International Trade Administration)
- Trade Statistics – USA Trade Online (PCL users, ask at Information and Research Help Desk)
- Transportation Statistics – National Transportation Statistics (Bureau of Transportation Statistics) and Home Page
- Travel Industry Statistics Links (University of Texas Libraries)
- United States – Digital Atlas (William Bowen)
- Maps depict population, race, ancestry, citizenship, income, poverty and adult educational attainment
- U.S. Population Clock (Census Bureau)
- USA Trade Online [trade statistics] (PCL users, ask at Information and Research Help Desk)
- Vital and Health Statistics Advance Data