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Demographic questions for surveys

Better understand your audiences with demographic surveys

Where do you live? What do you do? And how old are you? How healthy are you? Pardon the personal questions, but demographic questions can give you a lot of great information about certain populations. Learn more about customers, clients, and market segments with demographic surveys, and do more to meet the needs of your target audience. Whether you’re developing products, providing health services, understanding public opinion—or even selling cars—knowing more about the demographic makeup of survey respondents can tell you a lot.

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Get a head start with expert-certified templates, or create your own custom demographics questionnaire. SurveyMonkey makes it easy to design surveys, collect answers, and analyze results. Please note that some demographic survey templates are available in English only at this time.
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How to use demographic surveys

SurveyMonkey demographic surveys can provide users in industries across the public and private sectors with relevant information about any target audience. It can also help you segment audiences with different needs based on income, gender, location, and other factors. Here are a few areas where demographic research can make a big difference:

Demographic and psychographic data can help you shape product and service offerings, determine promotions and pricing, and sort customer groups based on needs and interests. Young, single men and women tend to have different interests and more disposable income than married men and women with young families, for example. If yours is a brick-and-mortar establishment, it’s particularly good to get to know your neighbors. If you run your business online, then other demographics will be more important, such as occupation, educational background, and language proficiency. (For more, check out our ultimate guide to DIY market research.)

As you build research projects focused on specific populations, use demographic surveys to confirm that you’ve correctly identified your target audiences. If you need help reaching a certain demographic, SurveyMonkey Audience can help you get the right respondents for your research. Incorporate demographic and psychographic survey questions into your broader research, establishing “control” populations and baseline data. Use relevant demographic data in research proposals and grant applications as well.

Do your patients belong to an ethnic group that has common health issues? What socio-economic factors might impact your patients’ health and well-being? Use demographic questionnaires and health surveys to understand who you are treating in the context of a broader community or environment. If you want to collect sensitive health information, be sure your surveys comply with HIPAA.

Discover the makeup of your school community with demographic questions about gender, income, race, relationship to student, and more. Gain understanding about the educational needs across your school district, and ensure that school programs and funding support all of your students.

Use demographic surveys to better understand how your community works. Is one part of your community older, with many elderly people who may need more ambulance or in-home services? Where do most of your younger families with elementary school-aged children live, and do they have safe bikeways and nearby public parks? Is your church or synagogue meeting the needs of the community that surrounds you? Understand their ethical attitudes versus common norms. Use demographic surveys with anonymized responses for specific neighborhood insights.

Get to know the people who can benefit from your non-profit program the most. Demographics information can help you provide relief for people in areas affected by natural disasters, distribute resources to the underserved, or run programs for families with grave health conditions. Many non-profit programs address the needs of specific demographic populations. Do you understand yours? Is it changing? Aging? Moving? Use demographic surveys from time to time to make sure that your programs align to the evolving needs of those you serve.

Sample demographic survey templates

Use surveys as a tool for learning more about your customers, clients, employees, or citizens. Start with our survey templates, or create your own. Professional survey methodologists write all of our templates, so you can use them as is. You can also customize templates to fit your needs, or create your own using the certified questions available in our Question Bank.

Here are a few expert-designed demographic survey templates.

  • U.S. Demographics, Snapshot Template. This six-question template asks respondents about gender, age, education, employment, household income, and race.
  • U.S. Demographics, Full Template. In addition to the six questions posed in the Snapshot Template, this 12-question template asks about geographic location, housing, marital status, ethnicity, business or farm ownership, and personal income.
  • Employment Template. With two quick questions, learn about respondents’ employment status, the type of work they do, and the industry in which they work.
  • Education Demographics Template. Discover the makeup of your school community with 16 basic demographic questions about gender, income, race, relationship to student, and more.
  • Firmographics Template. Learn more about your B2B customers or clients with this 10-question survey that asks when the company was founded, where it’s headquartered, number of employees and locations, and the job and title of the individual who’s responding.
  • Target Market Demographics Template and Typical Customer Demographics Template. These B2B, nine-question survey templates help you help your business customers understand their end customers. Demographic questions include age, gender, education level, employment status, annual household income, marital and family status, housing, business, and farm ownership.
  • We offer many other demographic survey templates, including Commuting, Household Budget, General Internet Usage, Language Proficiency, Mobile or Cell Phone Use, U.S. Military Service, and more, to help you get more insights about your target audiences.

How to distribute demographic surveys

Online surveys are a great way to reach a broad audience. You can post demographic questionnaires to your website, send them through email, or ask for responses through Facebook and other social media channels.

You can also use an easy DIY solution like SurveyMonkey Audience to buy responses from the right population, targeted by demographics, geography, and more.

4 quick tips to improve survey response rates

We provide guides on how to write good survey questions, as well as how to create and conduct surveys. Check them out! And in the meantime, try these tips to encourage respondents to complete your surveys.

  • Make responses anonymous. Many people are sensitive about offering demographic information they consider private, like income level, employment status, and race or ethnicity. If you’re surveying for broad demographic patterns or trends, consider making responses anonymous—and be sure to let your respondents know that’s the case.
  • Explain the purpose of your survey. Explain the purpose of your survey in a brief introduction. Tell your respondents how you’ll use the information. For example: “We want to know more about our customers and what they want. This information will help us put together the right mix of products and services to ensure your delight and satisfaction!”
  • Make your survey as accessible as possible. Reach as many people as possible. All of our standard survey designs are accessible (by U.S. Section 508 standards), and you can deliver them online in a variety of ways.
  • Be brief. Shorter surveys are easier for respondents to complete. Be sure to indicate how long yours will take.

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