Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Zipcodes I have known

About a month ago I saw a reference to a new website called Zipskinny that lets you pull up statistical data about the zip code in which you live, a zip code you're thinking about living in, or any other zip code you're curious about.

The first thing I did with this information it punch in the four zip codes in which I lived for enough time that I could still remember them without looking them up. I looked at what the statistics have to say about where I'm living now and compared it to where I lived before: Northfield, MN; Canby, OR; and Decatur, GA

Things have changed, of course, since I lived anywhere but Seattle. In fact, I'm pretty sure Decatur has gentrified a LOT compared to when I lived there. But it's interesting to me nonetheless. Check out the population breakdown.

ZIP 30030 98108 55057 97013
Population: 25,137 21,223 22,011 19,569
Density*: 3,641.2 2,890.8 160.2 356.6
Housing Units: 12,086 7,583 6,752 7,311
Land Area (sq. mi.): 6.9 7.3 137.4 54.9
Water Area (sq. mi.): 0.3 0.9 0.1

Turns out the population of these places is all about 20,000-25-000 people, but check out the areas those zip codes take up. I currently live with what amounts to the entire population of Northfield, Minnesota (which there is spread out over 137 square miles) but here in 98108 we take up only a little over SEVEN SQUARE MILES. There are as many houses in my Canby zip code as there are in 98108 but in Canby they have 7.5 times the space. Neat!

There are other interesting statistics, too. I won't cut and paste them all here, but a couple others really caught my attention. For example, the differences in unemployment and poverty statistics:
ZIP 30030 98108 55057 97013
Unemployed: 3.8% 4.7% 6.7% 3.1%
Below Pov. Line: 11.6% 14.9% 6.1% 7.0%

Northfield's unemployment numbers are surprisingly high unless you take into account that the city is home to two four-year colleges. I was not surprised to see that the percentage of people living below the poverty line is highest here in 98108 but was surprised at how low the unemployment numbers were in comparison. The percentage of people living below the poverty line is more than three times the percentage of unemployed (slightly worse than Decatur), whereas Canby's ratio of poor is more like 2x and Northfield is practically equal.

Racial make-up is another interesting thing about the places I've lived.

ZIP 30030 98108 55057 97013
Hispanic/Latino: 1.8% 12.2% 4.7% 12.0%
White*: 63.4% 23.0% 91.2% 84.7%
Black*: 30.7% 14.5% 0.7% 0.3%
Native American*: 1.0% 1.0%
Asian*: 2.2% 42.8% 1.9% 1.0%
HI/Pac. Isl.*: 1.4%
Other*: 0.3% 0.3% 0.1% 0.1%
Multi*: 1.4% 4.8% 1.1% 1.3%
* Does not include individuals in this racial group who identify as Hispanic/Latino.

Minnesota is BY FAR the whitest place I've ever lived, and I'm pretty sure that 4.7% Hispanic population was a lot smaller when I lived there. Before moving to Beacon Hill I'd also never lived in any area that had any measurable number of Pacific Islanders. Unsurprisingly, the Asian population here is huge and I had quite expected the black stats for the black population to be larger. I'm positive that the racial make-up of Decatur has changed since I lived there and it gentrified. Looking at the numbers for my neighborhood now I'm really comfortable with that diversity. Kate has never known anything different but going from the land of 90% white folks to where I'm living now was quite a significant change.

I've been doing some thinking about where I've been in the world and how that has affected the foundation of my beliefs. I don't have any grand conclusions to draw or anything but I thought I'd share the tool and maybe ramp up to some further discussion.