If you live on the Upper West Side, then you are probably comfortable around rats. If you live on the Lower East Side, you're either a rich person or a hobo. If you live in Greenwood Heights, you stink. These are the kinds of over-generalizations that make us wonder: are we defined by the neighborhoods we live in, or do we define what our neighborhoods become? A software company has now mapped zip codes across the United States to come up with 67 archetypes so you can find out just how much of a neighborhood cliche you really are.
The company, Esri, has crafted "67 profiles of American market segments" that correspond to how marketers divide the world (using census information and various data profiles...it's rather mysterious and somewhat concerning, although you can read a brief explanation here) to create somewhat depressing, homogenous profiles of who lives where. Those categories include Trendsetters, City Strivers, High Rise Renters, Urban Chic, Laptops & Lattes, Golden Years, and more. They also provide median income, age, and population density information about neighborhoods.
For example, if you live in Williamsburg (11211), there's a 60% chance you're a Trendsetter:
Believing that "you're only young once," we're living life to the fullest, unfettered by home and vehicle ownership, and not ready to settle down. We're young, educated singles with good jobs who spend our disposable income on upscale city living and entertainment—mostly on rent. Even though we're spenders, we seek financial advice and are building our investment portfolios. Dressed head to toe in the most current fashions, we fill our weeknights and weekends with discovering local art and culture, dining out, or exploring new hobbies. We must be connected at all times; texting and social media are essential for communication and keeping up with our social lives. E-readers and tablets are preferred for everything except women's fashion and epicurean magazines which must be in print. We shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's for quick, organic meals.
If you're in Bushwick (11237—which also includes the dream we sometimes call Jefftown), you're either part of the International Marketplace (41%), NeWest Residents (36%), and High Rise Renter (8%). The vague-sounding International Marketplace, by the way, means "Hispanic."
We live in culturally diverse, densely populated, urban and suburban neighborhoods in New York, New Jersey, or California. Most of us are young, Hispanic families, some with children. We rent apartments in older buildings. Many of us are foreign-born. We're hard workers; however, most of us only have a high school education, and language difficulties can impede our advancement in the workplace. The city dwellers walk, bike, or take public transportation to white-collar or service jobs. We spend money on our families, so we have no extra funds for investing or saving for retirement. We go online to visit Spanish language websites, chat rooms and social media sites, play games, and watch movies. We listen to Hispanic music and watch programs on Spanish TV networks. For family fun, we visit theme parks, go to the beach, play soccer and eat fast food.
If you live anywhere on the Upper West Side (including 10025, 10025, 10019, etc), you are almost certainly a Laptops And Lattes type:
We're affluent, well-educated singles and partner couples who love life in the big city and hold professional positions in business, finance, legal, computer, and entertainment. Most of us don't home a home or vehicle; we rent apartments close to amenities, and either work from home or walk, bike, and take public transportation to get around. We're cultivating our nest-eggs instead of feathering our nests, investing in mutual funds and contributing to our retirement plans. Physical fitness is a priority, so we exercise regularly, pay attention to nutrition, and buy organic food at high-end grocers. Regular expenses include nice clothes, traveling, and treating ourselves to lattes at Starbucks or treatments at spas. Laptops, cell phones, and iPads are always on so we can stay connected. Leisure time is filled with visiting art galleries and museums; attending the theater, opera, and rock concerts; reading books and newspapers electronically, and going to bars and clubs.
If you're in the East Village (10002), there's better than good chance you're part of the Downtown Melting Pot ("Our small, settled, densely populated neighborhoods are a rich blend of races and ethnicities: Asians, particular Chinese, are concentrated here") or a High Rise Renter ("Our neighborhoods are diverse, densely populated, with a lot of adult children and language isolation. Many of us are foreign born. We're young and struggling to make ends meet").
Even though you may find yourself silently cursing at the screen and muttering about how wrong they are about you, it's still pretty fun checking out your profile. And at the very least, you can find out how marketers are talking about you behind your back.