The Value of Demographic Insights

.. its a global thing, a community thing, a business thing, a personal thing … demographics tell us about how, when, where we have changed and how we might change in the future .. and how that change might impact you .. us.

How & Why are County Demographics Changing?
The following graphic shows how counties have gained population (blue and green) and lost population (orange and red) during the period 2010 to 2018. Click graphic for larger view; expand browser window for best quality view. What are the insights from these data, this view? How are the insights developed? Their application and use creates the value. .
– developed using ProximityOne CV XE GIS.

Access these data for areas of interest:
– U.S. by state interactive table.
– U.S. by metro interactive table.
– U.S. by county interactive table.
– U.S. by city interactive table.
– U.S. by census tract interactive table.

An example of the “tip of the iceberg,” the above model-based demographic data have been developed for use in developing the more detailed American Community Survey annual demographic data — annual updates on demographics down to the block group level of geography. ~217,000 areas covering the U.S. wall-to-wall.

Valuation of Demographic Insights
Having the required demographic data is needed before value can be assigned to their use. It’s really not possible to value demographic data or insights on a financial basis alone. But here are some considerations. One way to assign a value to demographic data is on the cost basis. The above data have been developed by the Census Bureau. But they are not free to develop — the costs for the Federal programs to produce them and the cost for others providing access to the data and using them.

These demographic data enable an unestimable number of studies that result in an unestimable set of decisions in the private and public sector. Many evolve into useful insights, but certainly not all.

Census 2020 is will cost in excess of $16 billion. That’s just to get the data out there. The value of these demographic data have to be in the many trillions or much more. Plus, these demographics enable things that can be done that cannot be done with any other set of demographic data. This “uniqueness thread” runs through many demographic data programs. What is the value of being able to apportion Congress, state legislatures and thousands of other governmental bodies?

How to assign value to one decision based substantially on geodemographics?

What about the byproducts? Census 2020 relies heavily on the Census produced (with the indispensable involvement of regional governments) TIGER/Line geographic database. In essence, we have a demographic data program producing a geographic database. It can be argued that the public use TIGER database is the most valuable past of the decennial census. TIGER provides the digital map database undergirding all widely used mapservers such as Google maps and Bing. It provides the unique and near comprehensive set of standardized geographic data going down to the intersection-to-intersection street segment. It enables a near infinite set of Geographic Information System (GIS) applications.

The above addresses mainly matters of demographic data developed on a national scale. All businesses deal in their own demographics daily. This set of demographic data minimally includes staff and related consultants, etc. plus prospects and clients/customers. Many businesses do not take advantage of the potential benefits of having these data. They can often do more to use their own data, and data of competitors and about the market, to develop improved plans to meet their goals.

Demographic Analytics Web Sessions
Join me in a Demographics Analytics Lab session to discuss more details about accessing and using wide-ranging demographic-economic data and data analytics. Learn more about using these data for areas and applications of interest.

About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. He has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data. Contact Warren. Join Warren on LinkedIn.


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