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RESEARCH ON MAIN STREET

Using the Web to Find Local
Business and Market Information


By Marcy Phelps

Foreword by Mary Ellen Bates

"This book covers an area of business research that simply hasn’t been addressed before, and it fills an important gap in any researcher’s toolkit."
 - Mary Ellen Bates, Bates Information Services, Inc.

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Links to resources mentioned in Research on Main Street

Chapter Four
Local Demographics

American Community Survey: See Census Bureau: American Community Survey

Census Bureau (www.census.gov): The Census Bureau is the major government agency responsible for collecting, analyzing, and distributing demographic data. Click the Geography link to learn about Census geographic delineations for demographics.

Census Bureau: American Community Survey (factfinder.census.gov): This source provides the most current community-level population estimates. About three million households are surveyed each year, and information is collected about age, race, income, commute time to work, home value, veteran status, and other variables. Note: American FactFinder has been revised and is now at http://factfinder2.census.gov

Census Bureau: County and City Data Book (www.census.gov/statab/www/ccdb.html): While not as up-to-date as other sources, the County and City Data Book contains detailed locallevel statistics. Data is compiled from the Census Bureau and other government agencies for all U.S. states, counties, and cities with a population of 25,000 or more.

Census Bureau: Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (www.census.gov/population/www/metroareas): Through this section of the Census Bureau’s website, you can find lists and maps of current metropolitan and micropolitan areas and their component counties.

Census Bureau: Population Estimates Program (factfinder.census.gov): This program provides estimated population totals for the previous year for cities and towns, metropolitan areas, counties, and states. For selected Census geographic units, estimates are available by age, sex, and race and ethnicity.

Census Bureau: Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE; www.census.gov/did/www/saipe): Visit this site for estimates of selected income and poverty statistics that are more current than those from the decennial census. These estimates are broken down for school districts, counties, and states, and tables and maps can be downloaded from the program’s site.

Census Bureau: State and Metropolitan Area Data Book (www.census.gov/compendia/smadb): With more than 1,500 data items for the nation, states, counties, and metropolitan areas, the State and Metropolitan Area Data Book is not as current as other sources, but it’s worth a look.

Census Bureau: Statistical Abstract of the United States (www.census.gov/compendia/statab): This vast collection of demographic information offers a few tables with data for selected metropolitan areas. You’ll need to scan the lists of tables in each section to find those that do.

Census Bureau: USA Counties (censtats.census.gov/usa/usa.shtml): While only going as local as the county level, this resource offers a quick way to search for information about a wide range of topics, including age, agriculture, ancestry, banking, building permits, business patterns, crime, earnings, education, elections, employment, government, and health.

Claritas MarketPlace (www.claritas.com/MarketPlace/Default.jsp): This fee-based resource provides low-cost demographic products for any customized geographic area. Claritas is a great source for local-level five-year projections.

County and City Data Book: See Census Bureau: County and City Data Book

Google Maps (maps.google.com): Use this source to understand geographic entities and their boundaries.

GovEngine.com (www.govengine.com): State and local government websites often provide demographics for their jurisdiction. Find these sites through GovEngine.com.

GovScan (govscan.com): Use this search engine to find demographics from local governments. Enter your location or locations with the keyword demographics to see what departments or offices provide population or housing statistics.

Historical Census Browser (mapserver.lib.virginia.edu): Visit this site from the University of Virginia Library in order to view demographic data from 1790 through 1960 and examine state and county topics for individual census years or over time.

Libweb Library Directory (lists.webjunction.org/libweb): State libraries often collect and share free local-level demographics. To find official websites, go to this directory and follow the link for state libraries. Note: LibWeb now at www.lib-web.org

National Center for Health Statistics (www.cdc.gov/nchs): This site offers mainly national and state-level health demographics, but it does contain some local-level data.

Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: See Census Bureau: Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas

National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics (www.va.gov/vetdata): From the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (www.va.gov), this resource publishes official estimates and projections of the veteran population and its characteristics. This site offers data for counties and congressional districts as well as the nation and the states.

Population Estimates Program: See Census Bureau: Population Estimates Program

School District Demographics System (nces.ed.gov/surveys/sdds): Published by the U.S. Department of Education (www.ed.gov), this resource includes demographics, social characteristics, and economics of children and school districts. You can get quick snapshot reports, create maps, or select tables to compare school-district–level data from the American Community Survey and the latest decennial census.

Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE): See Census Bureau: Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE)

Social Explorer (www.socialexplorer.com): At this site, use the free mapping and reporting tools to view historical census data from 1790 through the present.

Social Security Administration (www.socialsecurity.gov/policy): Several resources from this agency contain local-level demographics about program recipients. Click By Subject and follow the link for Geographic Information.

State and Local Government on the Net (www.statelocalgov.net): Use this directory to quickly find the websites of national, state, and local government offices. These sites are excellent sources for local-level demographic data.

State and Metropolitan Area Data Book: See Census Bureau: State and Metropolitan Area Data Book

Statistical Abstract of the United States: See Census Bureau: Statistical Abstract of the United States

Statistics of Income (SOI) Internal Revenue Service (www.irs.gov): From the IRS homepage, follow the link for Tax Stats and then click Individual Income Tax. Scroll to the section for Individual Data by Demographic Areas, which includes county-level income data for taxpayers. ZIP-code–level tables are available for a fee.

USA Counties: See Census Bureau: USA Counties
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Hacking the U.S. Census for Market Research

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Know Before You Grow:
Key Resources for Learning about your Customers and Competitors


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