NeighborhoodScout has dialed up the resolution of its geographic snapshots by adding more granular demographic and housing data to its neighborhood-information pages, marking the latest effort from a data company to shine more light on the contours of communities.

The neighborhood-information site — which generates referrals for some partner brokers — has woven hundreds of data components including trends in educational attainment, income and vacancies, as well as breakdowns of racial composition, languages spoken and household type into the “overview” tab of its neighborhood pages.

neighborhoodscout household type average income

A NeighborhoodScout “overview” page shows income statistics, including average annual change in per capita income, for a census tract in Stamford, Conn.

The site’s neighborhood pages cover profile census tracts, which contain an average of 4,000 people.

The revamp also has made NeighorhoodScout’s overview pages easier to digest, showing data in infographics rather than plain text.

By scanning the pages, all visitors may learn things like the percentage of people that speak Spanish, percentage of people who are married and percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 in a census tract.

But users have to pay $39.99 a month (or $19.99 with a six-month minimum commitment) to unlock some of the richer data. Some of that data hints at a neighborhood’s trajectory by showing how certain indicators — arguably reflective of neighborhood health — have changed over time.

For example, users viewing an infographic showing homeownership, renter and vacancy rates of an area may also see how the area’s homeownership rate has changed over time, and compare that change to how the national homeownership rate has changed over time.

homeownership rate neighborhoodscout demographics

A NeighborhoodScout “overview” page shows annual changes in homeownership and vacancy rates for a census tract in Stamford, Conn.

The goal, NeighborhoodScout CEO Andrew Schiller said, is to help prospective buyers determine if a neighborhood is really worth buying into.

If the site shows that the per capita income, home prices and education level of an area are increasing as vacancies trend downwards, then “a higher bid on the property may be warranted,” he said.

But, he added, “If incomes are going down, vacancies are up, and educational attainment is slipping, then this, too, tells the homebuyer something important before making an offer.”

neighborhoodscout education

A NeighborhoodScout “overview” page shows education and unemployment rates, including the average annual change in college graduates, for a census tract in Stamford, Conn. 

Some of the data that NeighborhoodScout displays is proprietary. It includes what Schiller calls the “only nationally comparable school quality ratings available today” (most school sites rate a school by comparing its standardized test scores to its state’s average, not the national average) and the “most accurate neighborhood crime data in the world.”

(NeighborhoodScout’s crime rates are the most granular crime rates available on consumer sites. In addition, its parent company, Location Inc., sells crime rates that purportedly drill down to a 10-meter spatial resolution.)

But lots of NeighorhoodScout’s data, much of it census data, is also available elsewhere.

What makes NeighorhoodScout special, is that the site, along with a small but growing number of others, aggregates and renders data from a wide array of sources (including the Census Bureau) into easier-to-digest bite-size doses.

“Figuring all of this out online isn’t always easy, as the data is often stored in disparate locations and only loosely connected,” said Joel Burslem of 1000watt. “NeighborhoodScout has done a nice job of pulling all of this together in one place.”

NeighborhoodScout is the third company in just over a week to introduce an initiative that might help fuel the public consumption of granular geographic data.

RealtyTrac just began sewing data on unpalatable neighborhood characteristics — including the locations of sex offenders, underground spills and hazardous waste — right into its for-sale listing detail pages.

And Google introduced Google Maps Gallery, a map database that already features contributions from GreatSchools and PolicyMap. Google said the feature is aimed at “making it seamless for citizens and stakeholders to access diverse mapping data.”

NeighborhoodScout feeds prescreened referrals from its site to partner brokers in exchange for 37.5 percent of the broker’s commission if the broker closes a sale with a referral.

The site supplements its referrals with complementary information including the “exact type of neighborhood in your area in which the client wishes to buy or sell” and a profile of the property the referral wishes to buy or sell.

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