Multifamily Demographics: Five Places to Find Open Source Data Sets

Multifamily Demographics: Five Places to Find Open Source Data Sets

Demographic information is an important component of making real estate investment decisions. It is also expensive to acquire.  However, there are places on the web that can provide quality information to get you started in the right direction before having to devote dollars to obtain demographics.

Obtaining demographics information in detail, such as for a specific address or ring study analysis requires an investment as this type of real-time information has a costs of collection and analysis for delivery to an end-user.

Some of the recommendations here provide downloadable open-source data sets while others utilize their significant trove of data to provide the public with a glimpse into what they have available.  All of these resources will round out your knowledge about what is available as inputs for creating decision-making reports to assist you in making real estate investing decisions.

Start with the links below and build your own data sources.  When working with a demographics service provider clearly expressing your request makes the process easier for them to price and deliver outputs that meet your criteria.  Saying you want lifestyle analysis, for example, is too generic.  Saying you are seeking Military Havens versus Family Foundations narrows the focus significantly.

ESRI Zip Tapestry. The mapping giant ESRI has a web-based tool that provides a "lifestyle" moniker based on zip code.  Note the tabs above where you insert a zip code for information about income, age and population density.

My favorite book about lifestyle and community types is Our Patchwork Nation by Ray Suarez.

U.S. Census.  There is,  American Fact Finder and State and County "Quick Facts"    All of these are courtesy of the U.S. government.

State and Local government offices.  Many governmental departments found at the Federal level are also in place at the state level.  For example, every state has it's own Department of Agriculture that is similar to USDA, but state-wide only.  Same for Commerce and many others.  Many of these departments create and use demographic information and also make their data sets available to the public at no cost.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. provides a free mapping tool with a huge cache of data related to economics and demographics.  This Federal government website has tables and on-screen data on Inflation and pricing, Employment, Unemployment, Pay and benefits, Spending and time use, Productivity and employment projections.  And it is free to access...

Universities.  The Departments of Social science, Economics and Agriculture use and produce data sets for research purposes.  And not just four-year schools.  There are many 2-year colleges providing local research in study areas that attract and acquire local demographic data sets.  Many universities also have Extension that serves as a catalyst for the university to connect and provide services about state run programs in local communities.

Multifamily Insight is dedicated to assisting current and future multifamily property owners, operators and investors in executing specific tasks that allow multifamily assets to operate at their highest level of efficiency. This article is intended to be informational only and does not provide legal, financial or accounting advice. See

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