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By Martita On 08/29/02  

I work in fundraising at a college, and we just finished a process in which allof our alums were screened for giving potential based on a number of factors. One of those factors was the Claritas PRIZM system. A lot companies use it to identify demographic groups for marketing. Basically the system determines which "Cluster" you are in based on your zip code. They used information such as the Census, what people say on marketing surveys and warranty cards, and the like.

It's frightening. But also frighteningly accurate, in a spooky way. For instance, my zip code identifies me as being in the "Upstarts and Seniors" Cluster...basically young and upwardly mobile or retired, single or with a young family, well educated and stuff like that. My building? All folks over 70 and under 40.

You can see what "you are" here...
>http://cluster2.claritas.com/YAWYL/Default.wjsp?System=WL

I am fascinated.



By ladyjane On 08/29/02  

It doesn't quite work for Hyde Park here in Chicago...it forgets to put in the "geeky intellectual factor" here at the University of Chicago. (Like, it assumes basketball fans are here...uh, no. Not really...)



By KittyFishsticks On 08/29/02  

Whoa....that *is* spooky! Mine says "Kids and Cul-de-Sacs," and my town is pretty much all Cul-de-Sacs! Including the one my house sits at the very top of. And there are kids everywhere, since it's basically a residential city. My "cluster" is most likely to: shop online, visit Disney theme parks, use a debit card, watch The X-Files, read boating magazines. Okay, we don't read boating mags, but up until a couple years ago, I was obsessed with The X-Files. That could just be me, though. ;) The rest of the stuff is spot on.

To be thoroughly freaked out, it would have had to say my cluster is "freakishly devoted to religion." My small town has *22* churches. 22 churches and one grocery store.

-Stephanie



By Martita On 08/29/02  

Apparently, it gets even scarier with zip-plus four, which narrows things down to blocks...but they don't let you play with option, for that you pay!



By girl16 On 08/29/02  

ouch...this was right on the money..that is to weird..but it's true...my zipcode definitely says everything about my neighborhood....that's mad crazy..



By girl16 On 08/29/02  

ouch...this was right on the money..that is to weird..but it's true...my zipcode definitely says everything about my neighborhood....that's mad crazy..



By vicious081 On 08/29/02  

it wasn't accurate for my neighborhood. it said that it is "smalltown downtown"...everyone is a young family or retired (not true) and that the household income is 22,000 or so (definately not true, even the smaller, older houses in my zip code are currently going for over $200,000-- good thing my parents bought our house when they were inexpensive!)



By alexeye On 08/29/02  

wow, things get even weirder when i put in both my current zip code, and the one i'm moving to this weekend. the two areas are maybe 5 minutes from one another, but the demographics are startlingly different . . .

i guess i most fit the "bohemian mix" category, if any . . . but would bohemians really shop at the gap, or have rollover ira's? seem a bit suspect, to me, these "bohemians" they speak of.



By gadgetgirl On 08/29/02  

I just tried a few, none of them seemed to match. hmmm.
everything where my inlaews lived involved hunting magazines and shopping at Walmart. That definately does not decribe them OR their neighbors.
And my brother's zip talked about upward professionals and gourmet magazine, again NOT my bro or his wife.
And my old hood in CHicago assumes that you are either Hispanic (which I will admit, much of the neighbourhood is) or an 'Urban Achiever'. Yeah, right. I think they miss some of the pockets in Chicago.
But interesting none the less.
It did nail my Mom's hood perfectly though.

-GG



By thriftstorediva On 08/29/02  

Ummm..it nailed where I live and apparently I do not belong here. I do not like boxing....I do not read bride. We are the odd people out!



By Orange-peel On 08/29/02  

I got put in the "Kids and Cul-de-sacs" category, which is SO true of this area, but the thing is... I'm not here by choice. I really dislike kids and cul-de-sacs (which sounds like a dirty word, tehehe!).



By RedRamona On 08/29/02  

no, it gave me five different ones, none of which I identify with. I do not watch Country Music TV, or read Glamour, or have a home loan. I do not, and never will, have a Sears credit card. I do not go to church twice a week. Nor do many other people I know in my neighborhood.



By smachel On 08/29/02  

it gave me five, which i didn't read any of them. i personally enjoyed the "shotguns and pickups" title of one of my possible clusters.

=)



By SpanishFly On 08/29/02  

I also got five... I think my husband and I were somewhere in between Bohemian and Urban Achiever (gasp!). Young Literati was there too, but I'm pretty sure that's not me.

SF



By monkeyrocker On 08/29/02  

Ours was pretty funny because it pretty much was true...more than half blue collar being systematically chased out by various types of yuppies. The City Blues (or whatever--young, ethnically mixed blue collars) which is the most common type is also frequently found in the neighborhood I grew up in (E. Portland, OR)...ha ha ha. I guess you can move across the country, but you can never really escape!!! How sinister is that.

I have to say though, most people in our neighborhood (the "City Blues" side of the tracks) wouldn't be caught dead at Casual Corner--It's all Fubu and classy old Cuban lady clothes around here...



By ladyjane On 08/29/02  

"Yeah, right. I think they miss some of the pockets in Chicago." --gadgetgirl

Yeah! I agree with gadgetgirl...Chi-Town is so neighborhood-oriented, and the neighborhoods each have their own "flavor," almost. Plus, it's kind of odd in Chicago, because you can cross a street and instantly be in a new neighborhood, in a new ward, with a totally different population as far as age, ethnicity, types of jobs people have, $$$, everything.



By Jacinta On 08/29/02  

I do not own a shotgun or a pickup truck! But this is very accurate.



By Marlana On 08/30/02  

This is what it said about my area and its nothing like me at all:

Middle America- age of either under 18 or from 35-54, blue collar and likely to buy thermal windows, own a giant screen TV, visit Sea World, watch the Daytona 500 and read Outdoor Life.

But it does describe my neighborhood pretty well.



By ann74 On 08/30/02  

I live in Ecotopia! The description was pretty accurate.

The only thing I didn't understand was the map of the US on the right with the different colored zones for average, above average, below average, etc. What do the colors represent? "Below average" at what? I think I missed something.



By grayseed On 08/30/02  

hmm

Shotguns & Pickups
Rural Blue-Collar Workers & Families
Age group: Mixed
Blue-Collar/Farming

the stuff on the list doesnt apply to me that much, but it's a pretty good description of my town.
although... these kind of apply to my family
-go to a teller at any branch to pay bills, primarily bank at a branch near home
-Use cellular phone for business, rent videotapes from the grocery store, and home PC is used for children's entertainment



By kari-star On 08/30/02  

well, I'd say that they were right on 3 out of 5 of the descriptions -
but then I realized that while I live in spanish harlem, my zipcode extends over to central park, and there ARE richer peeps living on central park.

whatever, Hispanic Mix and Inner Cities, MAYBE old yankee rows, and some (very few) bohemian mix. the Urban Gold Coast? on central park. and maybe, hmmm, in my building...



By monkeyrocker On 08/30/02  

What's interesting about this thing is that it really doesn't include data about people who don't SUBMIT marketing data. We put in our old zip in Portland, and it was wierd because it listed the same percentage of blue collar, which is totally wrong. My zip now extends over a very mixed neighborhood (one side of Kennedy is pretty wealthy, the other is flippin POOR...and has crackheads who jump our fence and steal my beloved bike and only method of transportation--our favorite game at the laundry mat used to be "spot the john"), but our old neighborhood was all young hipsters (us) on our side of Belmont and older rich liberals (my parents)...around Stark and Blemont there used to be a pretty large working class contingent and when my fam moved into that neighborhood (right off Hawthorne for those in the P-town) it was NOT a good neighborhood (pretty much like my neighborhood in Tampa now, minus the chickens and plus a few sidewalks)...anyhoo. It's funny because the data doesn't seem to have changed from about 1987... Long rant short: if this data is collected from things like marketing surveys and warranty cards...who the hell fills that shit out?



By Martita On 08/30/02  

They also base the info off of things like what catalogues people get, whether or not you mail order,and probably now, what people say about themselves online! I also have a feeling that my CVS bonus card and Stop and Shop card keep track of what I buy, and I would not be surprised if that data feeds this. And there's always the census.

My group "Upstarts and Seniors" explains why I get mail from AARP and IKEA.



By lindastar On 08/30/02  

holy shit,
it says i'm likely to buy a smoke detector, which i totally did right when i moved in to my apartment. hahaha. that is a pretty accurate description of my neighborhood!



By oldskoolgeek On 08/30/02  

Interesting, depressing, and true. All of this I knew about my community before putting in my zip.
We have a mix of "winner's circle" -- executive suburban families with passports, "kids and cul-de-sacs" -- goes to disney world, with "new homesteaders" -- watches country music channel.
Ech.
No wonder I can't meet any people like me around here.



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