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Small Business Focus: Arlington is for cat lovers?

Photo courtesy Andrew Deer

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

In a previous Small Business Focus, we mentioned the release of two new market research databases that you can access for free with your library card, Statista and Demographics Now. We thought we’d use this week’s Small Business Focus to describe the advanced business intelligence you can discover for FREE using these two databases.

While Statista is good for gaining broad-based national and global statistics, Demographics Now is highly useful in seeing demographics within a city, state or even within one mile, three mile or five-mile radius from a particular address. One of the demographic traits you can view is pet ownership, available through the Simmons Pet Related Summary Report found in Demographics Now.

After walking Wilson Boulevard or visiting the Shirlington Dog Park, one would think that dog ownership in Arlington would be high. However, based on the reports in Demographics Now, dog ownership in Arlington is 41% below the national average. At the same time, cat ownership in Arlington is 27% below the national average. Based on the Simmons Pet Related Summary Report in Demographics Now, Arlingtonians are more likely not to have either a dog or cat. Among pet-owning residents, Arlingtonians are more likely to own a cat over a dog.

While the Simmons Pet Related Summary Report in Demographics Now seems to conflict with many people’s assumptions, the low pet ownership rate compared to the national average makes sense when understanding household demographics. For example, most housing units in Arlington (57.2%) are renter-occupied.

Many landlords don’t allow pets or have pet restrictions that may allow cats but not dogs, which may explain why pet ownership for dogs and cats is lower than the national average in Arlington. In the same report for Fairfax County, dog ownership is only 12% lower than the national average; however, the housing units are mostly owner-occupied (67.7%). The owner-occupied housing rate for Fairfax is 25% higher than that of Arlington.

Demographics Now offers a wealth of information on consumer demographics. If you have an existing business or plan on starting a business, this is a valuable resource to understand consumers’ demographics and spending habits within a particular area.

As mentioned in our previous Small Business Focus, the best thing about these databases, they are FREE to use with your library card. Additionally, anyone living within the DMV can access a free library card from the Arlington Public Library.

Is there a demographic question that you have? Drop it in the comment section, and it might be the focus of a forthcoming Small Business Focus. For more information about BizLaunch and to access our free market research tools visit www.bizlaunch.org.

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