Why the U.S. Census Matters to Retailers

This week’s Convenience Matters podcast highlights how Census data can help retailers understand their neighborhoods.

July 08, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—On this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Local Matters,” NACS hosts Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, and Carolyn Schnare, director of strategic initiatives, discuss numbers with Dr. Steven Dillingham, director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

This year, the United States government is conducting a decennial census, which is done every 10 years since 1790 as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. “It’s much more than a head count,” Dillingham said. “The Census helps businesses, organizations, nonprofits, public and private sector decision-makers in making decisions.”

Federal, state and local governments use the Census data to allocate funds as well as proportion congressional seats. “We want to make sure we get the numbers right,” Dillingham said. “This year, for the first time, we have three options to responding to census: online, by phone and paper.” As of June, 9.1 million households—61.9% of the U.S. households—have responded.

For retailers, the Census matters because retailers need to know things like how many people live in their area in order to better serve their communities. The U.S. Census Bureau also relies on convenience stores to help get the word out about the decennial census by displaying 2020 Census PSA posters or slides on transaction screens.

“Convenience stores are the fabrics of our community; they provide food, fuel and refreshments to more than 165 million customers each day,” Dillingham said. “What better place to get our message across than in one of those stores.”

To learn more about the wealth of information the U.S. Census offers that’s designed to help your business succeed, read “Data That Really Counts,” from the August 2018 issue of NACS Magazine.

Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 200 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded more than 130,000 times by listeners around the world.