Get Demographic And Geographic Market Research Data For Free

November 5th, 2007 (17,180 views) by Pinny Cohen

Market research has the power to make or break any business idea you have. You may be planning, for instance, a retail clothing store targeted at women ages 35-44. But, what if the location you chose has an abnormally low percentage of residents in that target market? The result most often would be a lack of business, potentially without your ever knowing why (and leaving you erroneously blaming your logo, for instance).

Luckily, the U.S. Census Bureau tracks just about every useful detail about our cities. Whereas it would normally be a major headache to sift through all of the data, I use a site that cuts down my research time to just a few minutes.

Enter, still in beta, which allows you to choose any zip code in the USA and instantly see the following information:

- Education levels
- Income
- Occupation
- Marital Status
- Age/Gender/Race Demographics
- Stability/Newcomer Appeal

Compare Location Information

Zip Skinny Demographic ChartAdditionally, ZipSkinny shows you how the zip code’s neighbors compare on any aspect, as well as allowing you to compare distant zip codes’ demographics. Why is this useful? Say you were looking into three cities for opening up your women’s high-end retail clothing store, and after comparing the cities on ZipSkinny you saw that one of the cities’ residents had higher incomes and a higher percentage of women aged 35-44 in the population. You would be able to make a business decision backed up by the market conditions, as opposed to just hoping you were right.

Small Percentages Count

ZipSkinny even lets you compare a city to its state average, and the overall average for the USA. Few people realize how tiny percentages have huge effects on your business. Just a slightly higher percentage of Irish residents, for instance, could make or break your Irish restaurant concept. Most often, a store survives by having repeat business from the “regulars”, or frequent visitors. If you know your target location is strong in a certain area, you will know how to court the largest portion of residents.

ZipSkinny is one of the tools I regularly use to increase the value (and accuracy) of my consulting. Small business owners rarely think of using “high-powered” tools like this, although they are among those who could derive the most benefit from it, since they often operate in just one city with very distinct characteristics in the population. They also don’t tend to realize just how large a difference some of the minute details can make in the financial outcome.

If you own a small business, and have a moment free (I know, foreign concept!), visit ZipSkinny and get to know your town better – it might just be the little bump in marketing intelligence you need in order to achieve business growth.

Learn More

Here are a few useful resources for carrying out demographic market research: – country by country stats, broken down in useful ways. Guide to Market Research – great articles to get you on your way, without spending a bundle.

Try typing a zip code as a website into your browser, ending with the “.us” domain.
For instance: Saint Cloud, MN would be

Do you know of any other demographic research tools that are useful? Please, share in the comments below.

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4 Responses to “Get Demographic And Geographic Market Research Data For Free”

  1. Business Hacks mobile edition Says:

    [...] The data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2000 surveys, so it’s a little behind the times — but you gotta love the scope and depth of the information. This is absolute gold for anyone seeking demographic/geographic market research. [via Life of an Internet Entrepreneur] [...]

  2. WildKid Says:

    Really good and really interesting post. I expect (and other readers maybe :) ) new useful posts from you!
    Good luck and successes in blogging!

  3. Kelly Says: allows you to screen zip codes using a combination of criteria

  4. Pinny Cohen Says:


    Thank you for that addition, it is indeed a great site with a unique set of tools for researching by criteria, instead of just zip codes.

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