Why Answer the Census? Demographic Data for Small Business Support

Did you know that census data is key to small business success? Budding entrepreneurs use census data to plan the best place to locate their business to reach the customers most interested in the goods or services they will provide. Existing businesses also use census data to update their marketing plans so they can reach potential new customers who may not yet know what a business has to offer that is relevant to their needs.

What does this look like in practice?  At the library, we offer online resources that allow business owners to access census data in powerful ways as they update business and marketing plans. Demographics Now (available outside the library with your library card number) enables users to enter a geography, such as zip code, county, or radius around a street address, and easily review the demographic data for that geography. If a business start-up is considering two different potential addresses, they can easily compare the demographics for the two areas. Demographic data includes points like age, sex, race, marital status, and the presence of children in a population. Users can look at how an area’s population has changed by looking at data from the full 2000 and 2010 censuses, as well as at current population estimates and five-year projected changes based on American Community Survey census data.

How does a business owner go from demographic data to marketing plan? Here’s a fun example. Knowing things like the age and marital status of a population can tell you where to find the most likely users of a product. Did you know that married couples aged 25 to 54 living in the West with children at home are the group most likely to spend money on bicycles? Check out Best Customers (available outside the library with your library card number) to learn about the best demographic groups for potential sales of a variety of products and services.

Once you know the demographic profile of who will most likely spend money on your product or service, you can use Demographics Now to find where the highest concentration of that profile lives. To learn how to use Demographics Now to do this, check out our handy get started guide. You can also sign up for a Bizboost appointment to get hands-on help using these and other powerful library resources to build your business or marketing plan. Check out our full suite of business resources on our Business page. You can use your library card number to log into these resources outside the library and log on to AskUs for live chat reference help from librarians.

Now that you have a better idea of the power of census data for the health of local small businesses, we hope you’ll do your part to ensure a complete count for Census 2020 by completing the census online today! Curious to see how Denver and Colorado are doing on response rate as we move toward the goal of 100% participation? Check out the Census Bureau’s Response Rate map. Together we can help build a brighter future for Colorado businesses.

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Written by Genine on March 31, 2020