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Frequently Asked Questions about Census Business Builder

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1. When I print the Census Business Builder (CBB) reports using my browser’s Print option the pagination is off. How can I print them so they look good?

To correctly print the Census Business Builder reports, use the Download Data tool at the top right of the report instead of your web browser’s Print option. Click “Download Data”, choose “Download as PDF” from the options provided, and then print the PDF once it opens on your computer.

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2. CBB will not open in my browser. Am I doing something wrong?

Census Business Builder is designed to work best with the more recent versions of the four most popular web browsers (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Apple Safari). For more information on these supported browsers and other technical issues, please visit the Get Help section of the CBB Home Page.

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3. How often are the data in CBB updated?

The demographic data in Census Business Builder from the American Community Survey (ACS) are updated annually in December and the economic data (from County Business Patterns and Nonemployer Statistics) are updated annually in June. The data from the Economic Census and the Census of Business Owners are updated every 5 years; the 2017 Economic Census data are scheduled to be updated starting in December 2018.

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4. Will data from other Census Bureau programs be added?

Data from other Census programs will be added to Census Business Builder based on customer feedback. If you are interested in seeing data that is not currently available in CBB, please send feedback to census.cofb@census.gov

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5. Are data available for individual business or are only summary data available?

Title 13 of the US Code prohibits the Census Bureau from releasing data that identifies individual people or companies, so summary level data are only available in Census Business Builder. However, we are considering adding access to individual business data from a third party source in the future.

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6. How can I access detailed definitions for the data variables shown?

Census Business Builder provides access to a basic definition of each data variable n the Map Variables and Filter menus as well as in the reports.  To access more detailed definitions, see American FactFinder.

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7. Why can I view information at the Place, ZIP Code, and Neighborhood levels for some Map Variables and not others?

The “customers” data presented in Census Business Builder (from the American Community Survey (ACS)) are available for all four (4) geographic levels shown in CBB. However, the business data (from the Economic Census, County Business Patterns, Nonemployer Statistics, and the Survey of Business Owners) are only available at the county and city/town levels to protect the privacy of individual companies.

Privacy laws and Title 13 protect your data.

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8. Why are some data shown as “Not Available” in the map and legend?

The information displayed in Census Business Builder for the Census Bureau programs listed above are subject to sampling and/or non-sampling errors.  Data that can not be shown due to high sampling or non-sampling error or due to Title 13 privacy regulations are displayed as “Not Available” in the map and map legend.

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9. The customers of my business may come from more than one city or county. Can I view information for more than 1 county or local area at a time?

While Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition only provides information for a single kind of businesses and one geographic area at a time, the Regional Analyst Edition allows the user to view data for all sectors and for a region they can define from 1 or more counties or cities/towns.

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10. How can I see the underlying data shown in the map?

All of the information displayed in the map in Census Business Builder are also accessible via the Reports. To view the Report, select the county or city you are interested in and click on the View Report button in the data panel. 

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11. Why are data from the 2012 Economic Census shown in the Profile Report for some kinds of businesses and geographic areas but not for others?

While most of the data at the County level in Census Business Builder are from the annual County Business Patterns and Nonemployer Statistics programs, these programs do not provide data at the City/Town level; these data are only available from the Economic Census.

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12. Why are data for 2007 and prior years shown for some kinds of business but not for others?

The data in the Census Business Builder are shown on the 2012 NAICS basis. For industries whose definition or code changed between 2012, 2007, 2002, and 1997 (and therefore are not comparable), an “NA” is shown.

For a definition of the NAICS industry and more information on NAICS changes, see the “Definitions and Comparability” button in the Industry Statistics Portal (ISP).

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13. Have these data been adjusted for inflation?

No.  All figures presented in Census Business Builder are in current dollars for the period shown, and do not reflect changes in prices.

Price indexes are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that can be used to adjust these data to a constant (common) base. These include the Producer Price Indexes as well as the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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14. Can I get data for my metro area?

While Census Business Builder provides data at the county, place, ZIP, and tract levels, information are not shown at the metro area level.  However, these data ARE available for all four (4) Census Bureau program areas shown in other Census tools.  To access these metro area data, see American FactFinder.

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15. Why is the variable I am interested in not showing?

The key variables that are shown in Census Business Builder were selected by our users, but only reflect a small subset of the data that is available at the Census Bureau. To view additional statistics, see American FactFinder.

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