Demographic Information

Demographic information about people in particular areas includes such characteristics as age, education, income, and gender. The prime source for demographic information is the U.S. Census. In addition, there are a number of other privately published demographic sources available in the Department.

Included in the pages below are some of the paper sources available in the Business and Sciences Department, as well as some WWW links that will be helpful to anyone seeking demographic information.

Specialized Small Business Resources

(These resources are available in PRINT in the Business & Science Department. Please ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.)

The Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios uses "the latest available IRS figures on U.S. and international companies, and tracks 50 operating and financial factors in 192 industries." It provides "competitive norms in dollar amounts of revenue and provides other critical financial factors in percentage, including debt ratio, return on assets, return on equity, profit margin, and more."

RMA Annual Statement Studies is a source of detailed industry financial data for comparing businesses to industry in valuation reports, company/industry ratio analyses and credit decisions.

The Small Business Sourcebook is "a guide to the information services and sources provided to many small businesses by associations, consultants, educational programs, franchisers, government agencies (federal, state, and local), reference works, statisticians, suppliers, trade shows, and venture capital firms." When other sources fail to provide information on a specific business, the Small Business Sourcebook often has useful resources.

Dun & Bradstreet's Regional Business Directory provides business listings for providers of business services; finance, insurance and real estate; transportation, communication, & public utilities; retail trade; wholesale trade; manufacturing; construction; and mining. Each business listed includes the company name, address, telephone, D-U-N-S number, primary line of business, SIC codes, number of employees by location and by company, annual sales volume, key officers, date established and/or ticker symbol if publicly traded. The directory is arranged in three volumes. The first volume organizes information geographically (alphabetically by city and, within each city, sorted by zip code). The second volume organizes the information by industry for easy cross-reference. Finally, the third volume organizes company names alphabetically for quick cross-reference.

The Editor and Publisher Market Guide offers individual market surveys of all U.S. and Canadian cities where a daily newspaper is published. Data provided for each city includes information on its location, population, transportation, number of banks, principal industries, retail establishments, climate and newspapers.

The Community Sourcebook of Zip Code Demographics provides statistics about people, households, personal income, labor force, housing and spending habits by zip code. It also provides statistics about business establishments by zip code indicating number of firms, top employment industry and number of employees as well as consumer types.

WWW Resources

(These resources are available in PRINT in the Business & Science Department and ONLINE. Please ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.)

The Census Bureau's website (www.census.gov) provides a wealth of information for business people. It contains the official statistics of the U.S. Census Bureau, and a wide variety of demographics for Memphis, as well as for other areas of Tennessee and the rest of the country. This site can provide much help to any business owner, anyone doing market research, or anyone who is writing a business plan. By starting at American FactFinder (see the left column on the Census homepage), a street address can be entered to find Census 2000 data on the local level. To obtain basic demographic data, consult Summary File 1. Summary File 2 provides detailed data about racial groups in America and Summary File 3 provides social, economic and housing data accessible for all geographic levels.

County Business Patterns (http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/index.html) is useful for studying the economic activity of small areas such as counties (Shelby County, for example), metropolitan statistical areas (such as Memphis, TN-AR-MS MSA), by zip code(s) and/or by the United States. Find out the number of similar businesses in your area and their size. Also allows you to compare with other geographical areas. Use the data to analyze market potential, measure the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, set sales quotas, and develop budgets.

The Economic Census (www.census.gov/econ/census07/), compiled every 5 years, is a great resource for detailed information about businesses by sector and location. Your business can use this resource to gauge competition, calculate market share, determine sales territories and quotas, and evaluate opportunities. For example, you can find the number of establishments, sales, annual payroll, and number of paid employees by zip code for your industry or business type.

Online versions of the Statistical Abstract of the United States (available online in .pdf format for the years 1995 through 2000 and 2001 through 2003 at www.census.gov/compendia/statab) contain a collection of statistics on social and economic conditions in the United States.

The County and City Data Book  is a local area supplement to the Statistical Abstract of the United States and contains detailed demographic and economic information for counties and cities arranged alphabetically by state in tabular form.

The State and Metropolitan Area Data Book (available online in .pdf format at www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/10smadb/2010smadb.pdf) is a local area supplement to the Statistical Abstract of the United States and contains a summary of statistics on the social, political and economic organizations of the states and metropolitan areas.

(These resources below are available only ONLINE.)

MapStats provides statistical information on agriculture, crime, population, business and environment at the state, county and city level.

The Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce website offers helpful economic and demographic information about the Metro area. From its home page, the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce provides insight to living and working in Memphis. Additionally, the website offers insight into Memphis business that includes information on taxes, training, location selection, incentives and much more.

The Census Bureau provides statistics about businesses in terms of employers and non-employers, size, receipts, and legal form of organizations, and allows users to define business categories in any of these ways.

The Small Business Administration, through their Office of Advocacy, collects statistics of U.S. businesses with status as "employer firms" and "non-employer firms". In particular, a non-employer firm is defined as one that has no paid employees, has annual business receipts of at least $1,000, and is subject to federal income taxes.

The Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research/Center for Manpower Studies (also known as Sparks BBER) websites offers data and analysis of demographic, economic, and business trends in the Mid-South. For Memphis demographics, there is a link on the site called “Memphis MSA,†which gives detailed statistics and information about the city.