Answered By: Mallory Stark
Last Updated: Feb 22, 2018     Views: 547

Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship


Filling the Gap: Underserved Markets in the Black Community 

Use these resources to validate the need underlying your business idea.
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Research Task

Good For Finding...             

Suggested Resources

Consumer Lifestyle & Buying Power Granular data on income, purchasing power, and lifestyle of American consumers.

American Incomes: Demographics of Who Has Money (book)

Who we are: Blacks (book)

Who's Buying by Race and Hispanic Origin (book)

Racial and Ethnic Diversity: Asians, Blacks, Native Americans, and Whites (book)

Nielsen reports on the African American Consumer (Results for search by keyword "African American" filtered by content type "report".)

RKMA - Consumer Behavior 2017-2018 report has a section on African-American consumers.

Consumer & Business Demographics

Demographic profiles of potential target customers including jobs and occupations, educational attainment, employment status, school enrollment, health, housing, and more.

U.S. Census Survey Data

United States Census Bureau - Demographic characteristics, total population, social, and economic census data useful for determining market size.  Generate data by subject, ethnic groups or geographical locations using American FactFinder.

American Community Survey - An ongoing monthly U.S. Census Bureau statistical survey of approximately 250,000 addresses  seeking data on age, sex, race, family and relationships, disabilities, where residents work and how they get there, where residents live and how much they pay for essentials, income and benefits, health insurance, education, and veteran status.  See list of survey subjects

United States Census: Business and Industry - Business and industry economic statistics by geography and by survey/frequency.

United States Census: County Business Patterns - Annual economic data by industry in small areas of the country.

Tables and maps that include industry-wide or regional statistics, such as the number of companies by employment size and level of specialization, classified by the industry of the establishment.

Mapping Tools

Business Analyst Online - Identify U.S. business and demographic data using interactive map application.  

NOTE: if you would like to register for the web version of Business Analyst Online, please see the instructions at Harvard's Center for Geographic Analysis.  The web version has more limited functionality but can be used remotely.

--  For more details:  See GIS with Business Analyst (PPT) and Business Analyst Variables (Excel). 

SimplyAnalytics - Generate tables and maps based upon desired United States data, including population, age, race, income, employment, and education.

Social Explorer Access census data for the United States through the use of interactive maps and reports. 
American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates (available down to the Census Block Group geography) data plus Social Explorer tables which include easy reports with age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, household relationship, place of birth, education, employment status, income, tenure, cost and value of housing, year structure built and other data.

Geospatial Revolution: Food Deserts

This video segment from Penn State Public Broadcasting’s Geospatial Revolution describes one Philadelphia community’s successful efforts of using GIS technology to identify and solve the problem of lack of access to healthy, fresh nutritious food.

Competitors & Industry Profiles


Information on specific competitors or an industry.

Capital IQ - Use "Screening" function to identify public and private companies and startups by desired industry, location, size, and other specific criteria.

D&B Global Business Browser - Similar to Capital IQ and also includes analyst reports, market data and industry news & ratios.  Under Companies menu, click "Build a list". 

Hoover's Online - Company profiles and industry overviews including trends & opportunities, and business challenges.  Also includes "Build a list" feature, but no export option.

Factiva - For information on competitors and their products, search this database of business and news publications, trade journals, newswires (e.g., Dow Jones, Reuters), and media programs. More article databases.

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage - Industry Surveys on major U.S. industries providing overview, trends, analysis, and major competitor financials.


Market and industry reports on consumer-facing sectors

Mintel Reports - Consumer market studies and primary and secondary data analysis on sectors including food, beverage, apparel, retail, and travel. Suggested search strategy: "African Americans or Black Americans and industry" Academic - Market research reports covering health care, consumer goods, publishing, manufacturing, and education sectors. Suggested report:  African Americans: Demographic and Consumer Spending Trends, 2016

Statista - Demographic and consumer behavior data on African Americans.