CHARACTERISTICS (and limitations) OF MARKET RESEARCH
The mother of all data sources on the population and on business establishments is the U.S. Census Bureau. For the latest available information, start with American FactFinder and click on the "Data Sets" link. You can then select one of the following:
The Right Site ® has hundreds of thousands of free demographic profiles, based on Census of Population and Housing data. EASI Census 2000 Quick Reports are available for area codes and TV markets, as well as the usual geographic divisions. (Registration is required.)
More modestly, the firm ESRI offers free demographic and lifestyle data with their ZIP Lookup Tool, which include household income, home values, and a description of the predominant Tapestry segments.
City-Data.com consolidates information from many sources for its profiles of towns and cities, including crime data, housing, businesses, political contributions, weather, hospitals, schools, libraries, as well as race, income, ancestries, education, employment statistics on the residents.
PolicyMap displays many popular categories of demographic information as maps, including population, income, home ownership, and education. The underlying data is derived from both government and commercial sources.
To find Historical Census data using maps, consult Social Explorer. This site provides access to selected data sets for censuses from 1790-2000.
Demographics USA, published by Trade Dimensions every year, has demographic, income, retail sales, and establishments data for counties and states. (DANA REF HF 5438.4 .S87)
Financial Studies of the Small Business provides industry averages and financial ratios as benchmarks for your business. (DANA REF HD 2346 .U5 F55A)