The data from the U.S. Census can be threaded into frame sets for specific zip codes. I entered mine and spent a little time getting to know my neighbors. Here’s a rundown.
I live in the 11th largest city in the country with a population of 827,908 (2011). The bulk of my neighbors are female (51.5%) and the primary age range is 18 or under (23.9%). The elderly outnumber the very young by about four percentage points.
This is a mostly white community (59.4%) with a high concentration of Blacks (30.7%), a sprinkling of Hispanics (7.7%) and a few Asians (4.3%). Multiracial individuals comprise a small fraction of the population (2.9%).
This is a Navy town and its not surprising that over 81,000 residents are veterans, though their service breakdown isn’t known. That number is just under ten percent of the city’s inhabitants.
Well over half of my neighbors are homeowners (63.3%), living in homes with a median value of $166,400. Residents are planted here. Over 80% have lived in the same place for a year or longer. This is a startling statistic but doesn’t indicate city loyalty so much as economic constraints. You can’t sell your home in a flat market and it’s not wise to pull up roots when there is no sustainable destination.
A large number here have a high school education (87.2%) but less than a quarter (24.2%) have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher. That is lower than the national average and a distressing fact. The critical thinking skills and exposure to “others” that is woven into a college education is absent among seventy-six percent of my neighbors. No wonder I feel alone!
Without that college degree, forward movement is affected and the entire progress of this state is quagmired. Another index to lower education is salary. The mean income of my neighbors is $25,716. That’s just enough to make a mortgage payment, pay utilities, gasoline, food and for the kids clothing and books. But there’s very little left for a nest egg, another mark of progress. Undercutting the entire state’s ability to pay for progress are the poor people all around me: 15.2% are below poverty level. That’s 124,000 people who are living in poverty.
On the up side, of the 64,117 businesses in the city, nearly 30% are run by women. Another 15% are Black-owned, 6.5% are owned by Hispanics and 5% are Asian-owned firms. Thus, over half the small businesses are owned and operated by a minority entrepreneur. Though arguably, women are not in the minority in my neighborhood. They are just treated as such.
US census bureau. (2012, January 31). Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/1235000.html