Milken Institute Research Department


The Community Explorer (17 profiles based on 751 factors) **beta version**


The Community Explorer groups a wide variety of data—from economic and demographic numbers to education, housing, and health features— at the county level to tell a deeper story than when using few indicators at one time.

More specifically, we cluster the 751 variables (behavioral, demographic, economic, and social factors) for 3142 counties into 17 population profiles using machine learning techniques.

Interactive Map for the 17 Population Profiles


These profiles can be summarized as follows:

Mainstream America captures 74% of the U.S. population spread across 819 urban core, suburban, and small metro counties.
1 => Prosperous and ethnically diverse large metro areas with substantial disparities between their highly educated (largely non-Hispanic White ) and less educated (largely Black or African American) residents (26% of population)
2 => Less populous suburban and small metro counties that are not as economically prosperous as the other counties in Mainstream America (18% of population)
3 => Affluent and more populous (but less diverse) suburban and small metro counties that jointly represent the profile with both the highest median income (16% population)
4 => Middle-class communities with a largely non-Hispanic White population that resides in large- to medium-sized suburban and small metro counties (14% of population)

Industry-driven America captures 17% of the U.S. population spread across 1507 counties in which employment is concentrated in one industry that shapes all aspects of the population’s profile.
5 => College towns with a relatively young and highly geographically mobile population (5.4% of population)
6 => Counties mostly located in the Midwest that form the profile with the highest proportion of non-Hispanic White population working in the manufacturing sector (5.2% of population)
7 => Low-wage workers in the manufacturing and chemical industries located largely in the South and North-East regions of the country with an above average proportion of the population living below poverty line (4.9% of population)
11 => Highly agricultural communities with higher than average concentration of Hispanic or latino population residing mostly in the West and South (1.2% of population)
15 => => Agricultural counties loctated in the Great Plains with a high proportion of non-Hipanic White population (0.3% of population)

Graying America captures 5.1% of the U.S. population spread across 378 counties that jointly represent the highest concentration of population of age 65 years or older.
8 => Retiree communities with adequate household incomes and access to economic resources (4.5% of population)
13 => Lonely seniors with the highest disability rate and relatively low incomes (0.6% of population)

Impoverished America captures 3.5% of the U.S. population spread across 424 counties that represent the profile with the lowest of levels of income.
9 => Counties mostly located along the U.S. southern border with a majority of a relatively young Hispanic or Latino population living in extreme poverty (1.4% of population)
10 => Southern counties with the highest proportion of Black or African American population and lowest median household incomes of all profiles (1.3% of population)
12 => Non-Hispanic White communities in the Upper South with the third highest level of unemployment rates and second lowest household incomes of all profiles (0.7% of the U.S. population)
16 => American Indian Reservation communities living in extreme poverty with more than one third of the population with incomes below the poverty line (0.1% of population)

Noncontiguous America captures 0.42% of the U.S. population spread across 34 counties that combine all Hawaiian and nine Alaskan counties.
14 => The Aloha State with high racial and ethnic diversity, high incomes, and relatively low income inequality (0.4% of population)
17 => Alaskan communities with large economic gaps between the non-Hispanic White and Alaska Native populations (0.02% of population)  

Data
Census Bureau's American Community Survey.




Related Projects

- The Community Explorer ** beta version ** (17 profiles based on 751 factors)
- The Community Explorer (8 profiles based on 26 factors)
- The Community Explorer: Informing Policy with County-Level Data
- COVID-19 Community Explorer (17 Profiles)
- COVID-19 Community Explorer (8 Profiles)
- Weighing Down America: 2020 Update

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