Modernizing the US Census: Business Uses For Census Data

Posted on 1995
Created by National Research Council

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Census data are used by many in the private sector, by for-and not-for-profit organizations. Retail establishments and restaurants, banks and other financial institutions, media and advertising, insurance companies, utility companies, health care providers, and many other segments of the business world use census data. In the past, household-level data on consumers at the zip-code and census-tract levels have been classified by characteristics such as age, sex, and income. Increasingly, however, individual households are contacted by direct mail or some other type of direct media (e.g., newspaper inserts). This appendix contains some examples of uses of census data by various segments of the business community—evidence of the great use of census data by businesses is provided by the Division of Research and Statistical Services of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board (the state data center for census information in South Carolina), which estimated that 35 percent of the annual requests received for census data are from businesses.

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