What is in your neighborhood and why do you need to know? Location, location, location! Nothing could be more important for a new business; it could mean the difference between failure and success. That is why a thorough targeted demographic scan is such an important tool. DemographicsNow, a library database, takes the pain out of compiling this information, providing highly detailed data about any geographic area in the United States, from the entire country, to a state, county, metro area, school district, zip code, right down to your own neighborhood.
Though the library has subscribed to DemographicsNow for over 10 years and previously reviewed it, recent changes and upgrades make it worth a second look. It still offers the same three types of reports but has a new, more user-friendly interface. The Maps feature has been updated too, now using Google Maps technology and providing more interactivity. It is easier to choose and have complete control of your desired area, whether selecting from the Geography List or creating your own custom boundaries. As before, the data provides a current estimate and five year projection based on the latest census.
Types of data gathered include income, population, housing, race, age, language, education, retail spending, consumer expenditures, specific types of businesses, and much more. This can all be displayed as a Summary report for either a single location or multiple areas grouped into one. If considering more than one area for your business, instead of running multiple reports you can generate a Comparison report that compares up to 16 locations. Additionally, you may view data ranked by variables such as income, age, race, etc. and across multiple geographies. The resulting reports use tables and charts to display the data. The new Maps feature lets you visualize the areas you have chosen, then apply thematic layers, such as color coding, according to any of the demographic variables listed. As areas of concentration emerge, you can use the geometry tools to draw a custom border around these areas within the main area.
The data is gathered from trusted sources, such as MOSAIC USA consumer lifestyle segmentation data and 2010 Census data. Compiling and analyzing this data paints a picture of current or potential customers, household buying patterns, ideal new business locations, competitors, and market potential. Is the market already saturated in that area or will your business fill a need? Are the residents of that area in your target age and income group? How many businesses similar to yours have opened in that area; how many have succeeded and how many have failed? All these are questions that DemographicsNow can answer.
So, what if you are not a business owner? How can DemographicsNow help you? For business students, especially those studying marketing, DemographicsNow can gather demographic information needed to complete assignments. For potential home buyers, it could be very helpful to know the composition of the neighborhood before making such a major investment. Are there young families with school age children or is there a large percentage of older couples? Are there businesses, restaurants, and services nearby that meet your needs? Maybe you are just curious about the makeup of the neighborhood where you already live. Whatever your needs, DemographicsNow is available 24/7 and can be accessed from the Databases page located under the Find menu on the library homepage.
Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than Books, V. 21 No. 4, Fall 2018.