Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Demographic tools for learning about your neighborhood

I don't remember how I came across this, but if you click on this link, you'll find a neat little tool that combines Google maps and Census Bureau data. You plug in any address, like your home address, and it will not only map your neighborhood, but also tell you who lives within a one-mile, three-mile and five-mile radius of your home. It gives population data with a few demographic breakdowns like age, gender, income, race/ethnicity and housing.

For example, within one mile of my home live 15,056 people in 5309 households, with a median income of $66,508 and median age of 36. The median housing value is $185,219, median cash rent is $647, and each household has an average of 1.80 vehicles available to them. You can also find demographic and population information directly from the Census Bureau, such as this tool here that gives fact sheets on local communities.

These two tools used in conjunction turn up some interesting data. For example, the fact sheet for my suburb of Downers Grove says that 90.1 percent of the residents are white, while 80 percent of people living in my one-mile radius are white, suggesting that my local neighborhood has more racial/ethnic diversity than the suburb as a whole. The median value of single-family homes for the overall suburb is $205,900, meaning that my immediate neighborhood is a little less expensive than the rest of the suburb. I also notice that the average travel time to work is 29.1 minutes for residents of my suburb, so I feel fortunate that my job is only about 15 minutes away in good traffic. Anyway, I find it fascinating and fun to use tools like these and find out actual data about who lives in our communities.

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