US Census Bureau


Guide to the
2002 Economic Census


The Economic Census is the primary source of detailed facts about the Nation's economy. Census data are essential for government, business, and the public.

Table 1. Uses of Economic Census Data

Market share

Businesses compare their sales to census totals for their industry or area to make plans and evaluate performance.

Operating ratios

Businesses compare their operating ratios to census averages to see how they stack up to the competition.

Business to business marketing

Firms supplying goods and services to other businesses use census data to target industries for marketing. Manufacturers look at statistics on materials consumed to learn about industries that use their products.

Targeting sales

Companies use census data to lay out territories, allocate advertising, and locate new stores or offices.

Monitor business activity

Important measures of economic activity,including Monthly Retail Sales and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), are based on census data. Associations and news media study census data to find key business facts and to project trends.

Legislation and economic development

Legislators use census data in the preparation and evaluation of new laws. State and local governments monitor census data to understand their economic base and to help them focus efforts to attract new business or retain existing firms.


Consultants and researchers use census data to analyze changes in industrial structure and location.

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