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WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 14, 2010, 11:02 AM

Valuable Census information to be available online

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Census numbers are in. Fargo has just over 93,000 people, an increase of about 2,600. Moorhead: 35,000, an increase of about 3,000. But for the first time, the Census Bureau is releasing a 5-year; in-depth look at characteristics that make up the places we live and they plan to release that information every year from now on.

As the demand for more timely information increases, Census officials say they can't wait 10 years to release data such as income, population growth, even where single-parent families are living. This online information, called the American Community Survey, can help both business owners and city planners.

As any good entrepreneur knows, business location is paramount. The Red Shoe in Fargo recently moved to South Fargo. Store Manager Desiree Restemayer knows that means a fresh look from new cliental in surrounding neighborhoods. Areas they want to get to know.

DESIREE: "Any information is helpful and you can never have enough."

Now she, and other businesses, can have a much more detailed look at what's around them.

RICHARD: "Is it an older neighborhood versus a younger neighborhood? Is it a poor neighborhood versus a fairly rich neighborhood?"

In a so-called "paradigm shift", the Census Bureau will now be putting out details on occupation, education, income, race, age and much more annually to go along with their 10-year census. Although these numbers don't typically excite many, it can be a great asset.

RICHARD: "And I want to find out where in Fargo is the best place to put my business? I could do that!"

DESIREE: "Any information we know about our customers, what they do or what they enjoy, what they like, helps us to serve them."

These stats are also vital to groups like Fargo's city planners who are coincidentally working on updating the city's comprehensive plan: A priority list planners, citizens, and others will come up with that includes the most important future issues facing the city.

JIM: "It's going to give us the raw numbers in terms of the demographics of the community, what the makeup is, and percentage of young versus old, household income. I think is very important when we start talking about affordable housing, those kinds of things."

With better ways to track how a community is shifting, planners, business owners and anyone in between can be in the know. To see this information for yourself, you can go to www.Census.gov. The full findings of 2010 census will be out by the end of this month.