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Accurate demographic measurement

While 1-3-5-mile radial demographics are standard among most CRE professionals, they are not always the most accurate for analysis. Why not? 

Let’s start by asking ourselves what we are trying to determine - “How many people live within a certain area around a site, and how many of them will likely come to my business?” In standard geographies (read: flat topography void of significant geographical features), the 1-3-5-mile analysis is probably fine. But for many parts of the country, which may include rivers, lakes, oceans, swamps, deserts, mountains, airports, military bases, etc., it’s not a good measure. A better method is drive-time analysis.

Here’s an example:

Let’s assume you know that you need an absolute minimum population of 12,000 people within 1-mile to make the site acceptable for your business. "So 12,000 people in the 1-mile, no exceptions, J-P."

OK. Does the following site work?

Well, according to the standard demographic report, there are 9,863 people in the 1-mile radius around the site. 

Fail, right?

Are you sure?

Let's look at it a different way. Here's what the 5-minute drive time overlay looks like superimposed on top of the 1-mile radius:

Are you positive this is not a viable site for your business? How many people are there really?

Scroll down to learn how many people actually live within 5-minutes of this site.


That's over 12,000 more people than the standard 1-mile radius demographic showed. So what gives?

This site is actually in El Paso, Texas. Within 5-minutes, on the U.S. side alone, there are over 22,000 people. Did you know that according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than 6.8 million people crossed the border at El Paso in 2018?

While you may think this is an extreme example, it's not. We've seen skewed and misleading demographics hundreds of times, nationwide. 1 3 5 demos may seem sufficient, but are you

willing to trust your business to that measurement alone?

Times have changed - there is more site data available today than ever before, and as a result, Site Selection techniques have to change too.

At Kinetic Bridge, we are constantly looking for ways to improve how we assess sites and we can apply dozens of variables to identify the best location for your asset. If you don't have time to assess your potential sites with this level of detail, contact us today.

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