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MGT 590: Special Topics - Healthcare: Customer Demographics

A guide to resources for MBA students taking MGT 590: Special Topics - Healthcare

Demographics

Important note about Census Data

Remember when looking at Census data that the Bureau now injects "noise" into the data of smaller geographic areas to ensure the privacy of citizens. Census data at the State level should be accurate (because of the need to determine Congressional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives).

However, for all geographic areas smaller than the state level, the actual census data may be somewhat different than reported. And unfortunately, we don't know how much "noise" is introduced into the data to make an accurate guess as to how far off the numbers actually are. For a more detailed explanation of the Census Bureau's privacy protection policies and its effect on reported census data, check out this article from NPR: For The U.S. Census, Keeping Your Data Anonymous And Useful Is A Tricky Balance 

Customer Demographics

The demographics of an area can play an important role when making decisions for your organization. If a business is trying to decide whether to offer a particular service, they want to know the size and characteristics of the potential market. 

The US Census Bureau is the main source for demographic data in the United States. Most people are familiar with the decennial census, but the Census Bureau also collects a lot more data using additional surveys. They collect a lot of data about people, business and industry, health, education and more.

US Census Bureau at data.census.gov

  • Search for State, County, Metropolitan Statistical Area, Zip code data:
    • Go to data.census.gov 
    • Click on "Advanced Search"
    • Click on "Geography" in the left hand column
    • Click on the type of geographic location you want to find (i.e. county, zip code, MSA, etc)
    • Drill down until locating the geographic location. You can select more than one area at a time. 
    • As you select items, they will be added to the filters in the left-hand column. 
    • Once geographies are selected, move on to select "Topics." I would recommend only choosing one or two related topics at a time. 
    • I would not make selections for "Codes", "Survey", or "Years" in most cases.
    • Finally, when all search filters have been selected, click on the "Search" button in the bottom-right corner. 
    • A list of "Tables" will appear that have data similar to what you have selected. 
    • When you click on a Table, it will populate the right portion of the screen with the topical data for those geographies. 
    • Note: there are very tiny scroll bars along the bottom and right side that let you navigate the data. You can also download or print the data.