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Business Demographics: Data Sources and Methodology Matter

Posted by on Apr 23, 2020 in Blog | No Comments

A comprehensive site analysis should go beyond residential demographics to include the demographics of the businesses in the area, since for many retailers and most restaurants the employees at local businesses contribute significantly to locational success.

For twenty-five years, AGS has worked diligently to provide enhanced business demographics which are detailed, accurate, and timely. To do so, we rely on the superior quality business database produced by our longtime partner InfoGroup and supplement it with data from other sources including the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns (CBP) and occupational data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In our view, relying solely on such sources as the CBP or postal service data is a poor substitute for a substantial investment in an industry leading establishment level database. The CBP files are fully released only two years after the fact, and the ZIP code summaries which offer scant detail are one year out of date and considered preliminary. Further, as if the lack of geographic detail was not enough, these compilations suffer from additional issues which render them highly problematic – they are known to be incomplete enumerations of companies and exclude a high percentage of small firms, they exclude much of the employment in the public sector, and do not distribute employment well to branch locations. The results can be disastrous, such as finding thousands of miners in the heart of Manhattan simply because the company is headquartered there.

The BusinessCounts database goes well beyond the basics to include detailed tabulations by our unique Land Use classification, detailed NAICS classifications for both all establishments and large establishments, and occupational estimates. A full discussion of our superior data sources, methodology, and content can be found here.

Users invest heavily in data to support decision making, and should expect that providers expend as much time and effort in their business demographic products as the do their residential demographics.

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