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September 11, 2015
New Census Web Tool Helps Business Owners Make Data Driven Decisions

The U.S. Census Bureau today released Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition, a new Web tool that allows business owners and entrepreneurs to easily navigate and use key demographic and economic data to help guide their research into opening a new business or adding to an existing one.

The Census Business Builder was developed with user-centered design at its core and incorporated feedback from customers and stakeholders, including small business owners, trade associations and other government agencies.

The tool combines data from the American Community Survey, the economic census, County Business Patterns and other economic surveys to provide a complete business profile of an area. Business statistics include the number of establishments, employment, payroll and sales. American Community Survey statistics include population characteristics, economic characteristics and housing characteristics.

The new tool also combines third-party consumer spending data with the Census Bureau economic and demographic data.

“Census Business Builder brings together demographic and economic data, which are invaluable resources for those looking to start or expand a small business,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “The combination of these data sets give business owners a detailed portrait of both the consumer and economic environments. Our new tool is also helpful for anyone interested in learning more about their community.”

Users can easily navigate through the tool based on what type of business they want to open or research and where they want to open it. Once users have identified the information they need, they can download a report for the final business type and location.

Census Business Builder features include:

  • Easy-to-use menus to select type of business and potential locations.
  • An interactive map that allows selection of the area to explore for business opportunities, including comparisons to neighboring areas.
  • Dynamically generated, downloadable and printable county- and city-level reports, including trend charts that can be used for business plans, loan applications and other business needs.
  • Demographic, economic and housing characteristics, employer and nonemployer business statistics, and consumer spending data.

Census Business Builder allows users to search for information on 49 industries, including:

  • Construction: Electrical, flooring, painting and plumbing contractors.
  • Food services: Caterers, drinking places, restaurants and fast food.
  • Health care: Chiropractors, dentists, doctors, therapists and optometrists.
  • Personal services: Auto repair, beauty salon, daycare, landscaping, taxi services, travel agencies.
  • Professional services: Accountants, consultants, insurance agents, lawyers and real estate agents.
  • Retail: Liquor stores, convenience stores, florists, gas stations and used-car dealers.

The tool includes statistics at the county, city/town, ZIP code and neighborhood (census tract) level from the American Community Survey. The economic data are available by county and city/town.

To launch the tool, a live demonstration will be conducted today at America’s Small Business Development Centers conference.


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