Demographics are statistics about people: how many people live in a specific area, where they work, what they buy, and how they live. Statistics can shape the delivery of a new product or service, or determine where you locate a business.
It is mandated that every ten years, the U.S. Census Bureau count all of the people in the United States and Puerto Rico. Along with counting the people, the Census Bureau also collects certain economic and social characteristics about everyone. For the 2000 Census, most people received a questionnaire of just eight questions. Ten percent of U.S. residents received a long form with many more questions about housing, jobs, income and familiar relationships. Rather than doing the long form every 10 years, the Census Bureau is now taking an annual American Community Survey which provides an estimated count of many socioeconomic characteristics. The questions asked are those that help federal and state agencies carry out the services they provide as mandated by Congress. This mandate is a benefit to business owners, social service agencies and others who need demographic information.
The following information can get you started on your research. If you are not finding all that you need or want some assistance, please call the H & R Block Business and Career Center at 816.701.3717 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you are looking for basic demographic information, the source you will want to start with is American FactFinder, a website created and maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau . Very quickly, you can pull up a fact sheet on:
Geographic areas of more than 20,000 people have 2005-2007 population estimates taken from the American Community Survey as well as the 2000 Census figures. Smaller entities have only the 2000 data.
Statistics are given for more than 40 variables and include:
The American Community Survey  (ACS) was created to give not just federal programs more timely data, but to also help you, the business owner, student, activist, and community organizer, the current demographic, social, economic and housing data that you need. The ACS:
The ACS will give you more detailed data than what is found in American Factfinder but only for larger geographical areas.
By using the Data Sets  found on the Census web page, it is possible to extract more detailed data as well as to create tables of the population characteristics and geographic areas that you need.
The library has several print resources that might help you with your demographic research.
As with all business research, if you are not finding what you need, contact a librarian  in the H&R Block Business and Career Center on the third floor of the Central Library.