Having to search for demographics can cause some people to have a meltdown and just totally avoid the task all together.   But it can be easier than you think if you know the right tools to use.  Knowing how to navigate the Census Bureau can be a life saver whether you are a student looking for information for a business plan or the average business person and knowing the right places to look can make this easier than you think.

One super easy way to go is to use the American FactFinder.  This can be found a couple of different ways.  One way is to look for the link to the American FactFinder at the bottom of the Census Bureau homepage.  Click on this and you will be taken right to the American FactFinder page.  The other way is to go to the top of the Census Bureau homepage and look for the link called “Data”, then look for “Data Tools & Apps”.  Here you will see the American FactFinder. Either way, you end up at the page for this incredible resource.  Depending on what type of information you are looking for, you can take 2 paths to your information. The first way is to use the Community Facts search to look for information about an area.  Type in the name of the city you are interested in and you receive information from the latest Census and American Community Survey. This can give you a picture of your area by looking at age/sex/race for this area.   Another way to go would be to use the Guided Search which basically walks you through the process.  Once you click on “Get Me Started”, you simply answer questions about what you are looking for – people or business.  What about your subject are you looking for?  Age, gender, education?  Is it a particular industry sector?   This is super easy and you end up with the tables of information that will help you.

As if this was not enough, there are also some special data tables that can provide some often hard to locate information.  A good example of this is the data table that the Census Bureau has just released showing median earnings by detailed occupation from the 2014 American Community Survey. The table shows ratios indicating the percentage of women in an occupation, as well as the male-to-female earnings ratio in the occupation for full-time, year-round workers in the past 12 months. To locate this type of data, look for the “Topics” link at the top of the page, then go to “Employment”, then look for “Occupation”.  Here you will see the table for “Full-Time, Year-Round Workers and Median Earnings in the Past 12 Months by Sex and Detailed Occupation: 2014” along with tables for employment statistics for college students and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations.

Another good resource to be aware of is the Bureau of Labor and the information that they collect.  While this may sound like it is all work related, there is also information on consumer spending. By looking under “Subjects” at the top of the page, you will see not only the consumer price index, but information on wages by area & occupation, worker characteristics, the national unemployment rate, green goods and services, employment by occupation, workplace injuries and much more.

However, the BLS is more than data, they also produce several great publications such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Career Outlook which can be found under the Publications tab.


So, finding demographics can be easier than you think – if you know where to look.