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Data sources

Innovation: A composite score based on the amount of Federal R&D dollars and Small Business awards received during the years 2000 - 2006, the number of patents filed per capita during from 1990 - 1999, the number of start-up companies founded from 2000 - 2005, the number of funding institutions for the arts, and the total number of biotech companies per zip code in 2006.

Education: A combination of the percent of total population with a Bachelors degree or higher, taken from the US Census, and the student - teacher ratio and the per student expenditure of schools in that zip code, derived from the US Department of Education.

Income: A straightforward measure of median income per capita, measured by the US Census in 2000.

Housing cost: A measure of median house value, derived from Sperling's Best Places.

Population density:Total population divided by the surface area of each zip code, taken from the 2000 US Census.

Culture: The number of cafes, bars, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, galleries, museums, dance, performing arts, and other cultural and entertainment facilities per person, per zip code. Summarized from the ReferenceUSA database of business locations using NAICS codes.

Accessibility: The percent of total population per zip code who rides uses public transportation to commute and the average commute time, measured in minutes. Taken from the 2001 FHWA National Household Travel Survey.

Recent job growth:Annual rate of job growth during the years 2000 - 2005, provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Additional data analyzed

  • Percent knowledge workers
  • Percent population aged 25 - 44
  • Percent future job growth (estimated)
  • Environmental quality index
  • Mean hospitalization rate, per town
  • Physicians per capita
  • Number of "green energy" production facilities and LEED or EnergySTAR certified buildings
  • Crime rate
  • Cost of Living Index
  • Social Diversity Index