Free Market Research Data: American Community Survey

I recently stumbled onto a trove of free market research data, called the American Community Survey. I wish I would have known about this sooner!

For planning public services, writing grant proposals, developing business plans, planning distribution systems, and more, data like this can be invaluable. And expensive. In my newspaper publishing days, I paid thousands of dollars for market research that included this type of data.

What the American Community Survey Covers

The United States Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey as “an ongoing statistical survey that samples a small percentage of the population every year–giving communities the information they need to plan investments and services.”

Other, very valuable free market research data that the survey offers includes

  • Age and sex
  • Ancestry
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Family relationships
  • Language
  • Poverty
  • Veteran status

You can parse the data along many different geographical dimensions, such as

  • Region
  • State
  • County
  • School district
  • City
  • Statistical area
  • ZIP codes

Example of American Community Survey Data

Given my nerd tendencies, I can probably get lost for hours in the available data. Here’s just one example: With just a couple mouse clicks, I was able to generate this table of my county’s mean income in the past 12 months, in 2012 inflation-adjusted dollars:

Free market research data American Community Survey

Back up your proposals and plans with data that’s freely available, thanks to your tax dollars.


  1. […] Of course, the actual data presented is useful as well for market research and business models. Much of the data comes from the American Community Survey. […]

  2. […] previously written about the free data available from the American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. Now, Esri has mapped that data to […]

  3. […] judicious investment in Statista information, combined with free information from the American Community Survey, could go a long way towards proving your point, launching your service, or landing you […]

  4. […] from specific people and groups to a list of questions. You can draw on existing surveys, like the U.S. community survey. You can also conduct your own survey. See my brand strength survey series as an example. Surveys […]


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