Lifestyle

What Does Your Zip Code Say About You? This Interactive Map Will Tell You

Ever wondered how you well you're keeping up with the Joneses? 

Now it's a whole lot easier. To see exactly how you and everyone else in your zip code stacks up against the rest of the country, fire up this mesmerizing interactive visualization engine from the research data firm ESRI. Initially developed as a tool for businesses to better understand what customers buy and how they spend their free time, it's been reworked for the general public and is chock full of info that more or less confirms presumptions about where Americans live. Hey, there's no arguing with cold, hard data.

Scroll for some details on a zip you may have heard before. 

For every zip code, the system trolls data sets from the US Census Bureau and various other agencies to determine median household income, age, and even population density as a measure against those for the city, state, and country at large. Enlightening, sure, but the most fascinating breakdowns are what they describe as Tapestry Segmentations.

By matching those stats (age, income...) against more lifestyle-oriented data from Nielsen Media researchers and similar firms, they've defined 67 unique and highly specific segment definitions that shine light on the particular habits of each neighborhood's demographic.

For instance, if a community is dominated by retirees, it'd likely fall under at least one of the various seniors-oriented profiles, each of which are slightly different (i.e., Silver & Gold, The Elders, The Golden Years...). If the 'hood's more dominated by younger singles, it may very well fall under a singles-in-the-city profile, which get names like Metro Renters, Trendsetters, and Laptop and Lattes. No one neighborhood fits a single segment, of course, so the map lists the top three best matches.

How does America's most famous zip code—90210, obviously—fall in the scheme of things? Here's how:

Population density: 2,208 people per square mile
Average age: 48.1
Median household income: $136,000
Top three Tapestry Segments

  • 8% Retirement Communities: "Enjoy hard-cover books, book clubs, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku."
  • 20% Trendsetters: "Not only do Trendsetters residents spend freely on fashionable and branded clothing, they also own the latest in cell phones and tablets."
  • 73% Top Tier: "When at home, their schedules are packed with lunch dates, book club meetings, charity dinners, classical music concerts, opera shows, and visits to local art galleries"


So, loaded older folks and trendy people? Sounds about right. 


Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. His schedule is PACKED with classical music concerts and opera shows.