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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 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

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 to find out what ZIP codes are within a certain radius of your primary ZIP code.

Ring Studies

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.– another webliography of economic related data sources.

Computer and Internet Use Demographics

Consumer Expenditures

Crime Demographics

Education/Schools Demographics


Healthcare, Aging and Vital Statistics

Hispanic Demographics

Housing Demographics

Religious Affiliation and Attitudes Demographics

  • – 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:

United States Statistics


Photo by Emile Guillemot on Unsplash




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