A Word About MapBusinessOnline Demographic Data & the Decennial 2020 Census

Any MapBusinessOnline subscription, Standard or Pro, provides access to USA Census demographic data, including population, household, income, and other demographic categories. Our business mapping software offers a comprehensive demographic data library that is very helpful for market analysis or other business applications such as:

  • Market Expansion – Searching for new market areas based on existing sales success.
  • Balancing workloads for commissions, compensation, and referrals for franchise, sales, and service territories.
  • Political Analysis and congressional district mapping.
  • Government Planning and critical resource allocation.
  • Financial Analysis, real estate, and insurance mapping.

The Decennial Count

Between Decennial year counts – decennial means counted every decade – MapBusinessOnline publishes updates once a year sourced from the American Community Survey (ACS.) The ACS is a Census Bureau operation. While the Decennial Census focuses on releasing actual count results based on their Constitutional requirements, the ACS performs targeted surveys of populations and areas that are then used to massage demographic estimates in the interim years between Decennial counts. Learn more here.

It is not unusual for a MapBusinessOnline client to inquire about oddball demographic shifts in numeric totals by category over a year or two. It is important to remember that the US Census Bureau is the expert in demographic data counts and updates. We can’t explain why population swings occur yearly and from area to area. The Census employs an army of intelligent people to massage those numbers and publish accurate estimates.

USA Population Map By County.

Population Estimate

The key word here is ‘Estimate.’ Any Census Bureau-published data counts are estimates. There is no such thing as ‘dead-on balls accurate’ in Census data. We must leave the accuracy assessments to those who are paid to worry about those things at the US Census Bureau.

An example of the difficulty in developing accurate Census data is the State of Florida for the 2020 Decennial count. Since 2019 the World has been turned upside down, in so many ways, by the COVID19 Pandemic. It should come as no surprise that the Pandemic impacted population totals.

Florida’s governor and the state congress took more or less right-leaning political positions on face-mask requirements, school closings, and vaccinations. This isn’t the writer’s opinion or judgment. The state passed laws to keep institutions open, for good or bad. This was national news. Consequently, people in other states, frustrated by local Pandemic related rules, chose to move to Florida. Population totals tallied for the 2020 Decennial Census showed extremely high increases for Florida. Shifts like this are sometimes difficult to swallow.

Changes such as Florida’s recent population increase occur in less obvious ways all around the nation. The average citizen using MapBusinessOnline cannot be expected to justify all of these demographic shifts. We must rely on the published data and believe in the Census experts.

Florida population shift noted in the state label.

Geographic Apples

When evaluating Census Demographic category totals per area, the investigator must make sure they compare apples to apples. Take geographic and demographic variables into careful consideration:

  • Are the data sources being compared identical? Are you sure?
  • Are the areas in question identical? Double check.
  • Are you aware that county boundaries, ZIP code boundaries, and state boundaries do not always line up?
  • Are the source ZIP codes used ZIP 5 Codes or Census ZCTA codes? They are not the same.

A client once objected to the number of College Graduates with an Advanced Degree published for the area around Seattle, Washington. It did look extraordinary until we started considering the number of hi-tech companies in the area – Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, and, of course, Geocaching HQ! It was no wonder the population with advanced degrees outnumbered college graduates.

“I’m Late; I’m late…”

The Census Bureau has delayed the complete release of all categories of demographic data significantly and may not finish until early 2024. The Pandemic also made it impossible for the Census Bureau to complete the Decennial Count promptly. Learn more.

This means the demographic data you currently access in MapBusinessOnline is not yet derived from the Decennial Census.  MapBusinessOnline Demographic Data Sources are presently presented in MapBusinessOnline as noted below:

MapBusinessOnline Description                              Source

Population (2021)            Third-party demographic estimates.

Population (2020)            ACS demographic data update.

Population (2019)            ACS demographic data update.


Population (2010)            Decennial Census.

Under each year’s listings are the various categories of demographic data available in the MapBusinessOnline library. It is an extensive list.

We look forward to updating our Census demographic library based on the decennial 2020 results when our sources are done processing the data. Look for the Decennial Census data in early 2024. In the meantime, if you run across downloadable demographic data with location components such as ZIP codes, you can upload the data into MapBusinessOnline and color-code and label your maps.


Discover why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint is the most affordable.

To access MapBusinessOnline, please register and download the Map App from the website – https://www.mapbusinessonline.com/App-Download.aspx.

After installing the Map App, the MapBusinessOnline launch button will be in the Windows Start Menu or Mac Application folder. Find the MapBusinessOnline folder in the Start Menu scrollbar. Click the folder’s dropdown arrow and choose the MapBusinessOnline option.

The Map App includes the Map Viewer app for free non-subscriber map sharing.

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Contact: Geoffrey Ives at geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson at jhenderson@spatialteq.com.



About Geoffrey Ives

Geoffrey Ives lives and works in southwestern Maine. He grew up in Rockport, MA and graduated from Colby College. Located in Maine since 1986, Geoff joined DeLorme Publishing in the late 1990's and has since logged twenty-five years in the geospatial software industry. In addition to business mapping, he enjoys playing classical & jazz piano, gardening, and taking walks in the Maine mountains with his Yorkshire Terrier named Skye.
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