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Finding Demographics for your Business Project

20 February 2007 by Barry Brown

Finding demographics for any business report that you’re working on can be a challenge. Below are a few tips that should help you on your way.

There is a wealth of resources and links available at the Mansfield Library Demographic Research Subject Guide.

A quick overview of the process follows:

  1. Find the industry your researching using the Census Departments North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Please note that your chosen industry may not fall into a neat category. If you have trouble, broaden your subject and use what is avaiable [ i.e. "rock climbing" is not a category, but does fall under "Amateur Sports" NAICS 713]
  2. Using the industry you’ve located, you can now search for demographic data. Here are a few good resources:
    • Use any of the business article databases to see if analysts have published on your industry lately. These can be found in “Find Articles” under the topic “Business & Marketing“.
    • Browse the index for the print version of US Census Bureau’s 2007 Statistical Abstract. Here you’ll find some good, up to date demographics.
      • As an example, on chart 1233 it turns out that of those who participate in aerobic exercise, 26% are men and 74% are women. Click through to see how those numbers compare to income levels for these groups.
  3. Finally, compare the demographics you’ve found on your industry to the demographics of the area you’re targeting in your business plan. An excellent resource is Census.gov which allows you find statistics down to the county and city level.

**update** LexisNexis Statistical is another good resource for demographic statistics.
This is a general overview to finding business demographics. If you would like more help, or have further questions on business research, contact me at the reference desk of Mansfield Library.

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