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Economic Census

Creating Business Plans

Researching potential markets

bar chart of fast food restaurants sales per population in select maryland counties in 2007

An entrepreneur in Maryland is considering opening a fast-food restaurant and researches which county would be best for the business. Using population information from the Census Bureau, he identifies counties that have a large number of customers in his target market, and looks at which may already be well-served - there may already be a large relative number of restaurants.

To identify less-served markets, he merges statistics from the Economic Census with demographic statistics to create a ratio of sales per population. Doing so reveals that businesses in Wicomico County had higher sales per population than other counties in the state… a potential good county to start his business.

Reviewing the Census statistics further reveals the following about fast food businesses in Maryland counties:

  • Charles County reported higher sales per business than the state average
  • Prince George's County reported higher sales per employee
  • Carroll County had the highest population per business

The entrepreneur decides that each of these counties might be a good place for his new restaurant, and that further research into these potential counties was needed.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Economic Planning and Coordination Division | 1-877-790-1876 | Last Revised: March 04, 2015