News and Features

"Getting to know you, getting to know all about you…"

Consider this post the perfect internet follow-up to Alan Melson’s item about the book, Dallas: Public and Private. Mark Nash, an amateur programmer in Dallas, has compiled a ton of data from the U. S. Census and put it into an incredibly accessible form with Zipskinny. Just plug in a zip code and up comes a detailed analysis of the area.

Having worked with various demographic studies of Dallas when writing about arts issues, I was familiar with the general portrait of my own neighborhood, the Knox-Henderson/lower Greenville area. But to have it all onscreen at once (instead of scrolling through pages and charts) is really eye-opening.

I knew Knox-Henderson, for instance, was socially and racially diverse (one of the reasons I chose to live there). But to find we have so few African-Americans that they’re almost matched by the Asian-Americans (4.6 percent to 3.4 percent) was a surprise. Meanwhile, the census is old enough (2000) that it doesn’t reflect all of those new, hideous, pricey, suburban monster homes that have ripped through the neighorhood the past five years: Only about 10 percent of the neighborhood households make more than $100,000. (I’m betting that shoots up with the next census in 2010: Some of those homes sell for more than a half-million.) Yet an eye-opening 14.5 percent are below the poverty line.

Now I’m plugging in my friend’s zip code in Highland Park.

Thanks, Mark. Zipskinny is endlessly fascinating and enlightening. And thanks Very Short List for the find.

  • Mark Nash

    Thanks for the kind mention! It’s especially flattering coming from someone who has a reputation as a tough critic. :-)

    I encourage people to take the site for what it is…a (hopefully fun) first glance. Since ZIP codes were designed for mail delivery rather than population sampling, they are not uniform, and the data (especially the data based on sampling) can be skewed for smaller ZIPs.

    But with those caveats, I hope people enjoy the site, and I look forward to seeing the feedback from KERA’s viewers and listeners.