What Does Your ZIP Code Say About You?

One of the more interesting things I’ve learned about recently is the Esri ZIP Code Lookup (hat tip: BetaBeat). The idea is that Big Data can crunch the numbers and use your ZIP code to figure out some of your likely lifestyle habits. Back when I lived in a smallish town in Utah, I constantly received baby formula samples in the mail. Not because I had a baby, but because, according to general data about my neighborhood, I should have had a baby.

The Esri site takes your ZIP code, and uses data about habits to make an assessment of your lifestyle. I thought it would be a fun exercise to compare my old ZIP code (since I moved just over two months ago) to my new ZIP code. Do I fit into my new neighborhood better? Let’s find out.

My old ZIP code: 84321, Logan, UT:

median age logan

median income Logan

Here’s what Esri has to say about Logan, based on some of the main segments of the population:

  • College Towns: “We are either college students or work for a college or its supporting services. … Computers and cell phones are major in our lives; we go online for everything.”
  • Up and Coming Families: “We traded a longer commute time for an affordable new house in a new suburban development. … Late model imported SUVs or compact cars are in our driveways. … Movies at home, trips to theme parks and the zoo, and working out fill our leisure time.”
  • Set to Impress: “We shop for deals, stocking up on bargains. … We’re brand-conscious, but will buy generic if the price is right.”

I found this an interesting mix of our community, reflecting the fact that our town had a university, and so included a lot of young families, as well as students. The university setting, I think, explains the low median age and the relatively low median income in my old ZIP code.

My new ZIP code: 19382, West Chester, PA:

median age west chester

median income west chester

Just looking at the median age and income in West Chester, my family already fits in better. We are right in the media age category, and we also fit the income profile better. But what about the “attitude” of the population. Here is what Esri has to say about three of the population segments in my new ZIP code:

  • Urban Chic: “We’re well-educated, married couple families and singles who live in the suburbs of major metros on both coasts. … Tech savvy, we’re tops for owning Apple products and use our devices to shop, bank, and research information.”
  • Top Tier: “We’ve achieved our corporate career goals and can now either consult or operate our own businesses. … We travel frequently, sparing no expense in taking luxury vacations … Evenings and weekends are filled with opera, classical music concerts, charity dinners, and shopping.”
  • Savvy Suburbanites: “We research products prior to purchase, and seek quality instead of price. … Even though we’re financially secure, we use a variety of resources for informed investing. We’re not afraid of debt and may carry first and second mortgages and a line of credit. … We’re foodies and enjoy cooking; natural or organic products are preferred.”

I really do identify with Esri’s description of my current ZIP code as opposed to my old ZIP code. And, frankly, I do feel as though I fit in a little better here.

What do you think? Does Esri’s description of your ZIP code fit your own habits? And if it doesn’t, does it explain why you might feel like an outsider in your neighborhood?

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