Hacking the U.S. Census for Market Research The every-decade survey can offer insights on demographics and competition for determining potential markets.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Chances are that you filled out a form in 2010 with information about your household as part of that year's Census. What you might not realize is that Census.gov has useful information and resources for your business.
"Census Bureau data and user tools allow businesses to pull together economic and demographic data, and by doing so can provide valuable insight for determining potential markets," says Phil Thompson, acting small-business ombudsman of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Demographics: Demographic characteristics and trends are useful for everything from backing up a business plan's premise to developing targeted marketing campaigns, says market research expert Marcy Phelps, author of Research on Main Street: Using the Web to Find Local Business and Market Information. The County Business Patterns section provides the number of businesses, employment counts and payroll by industry, size and geography, which can help you judge the density of businesses in an area and get a sense of the prevailing pay rate.