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National Neighborhood Data Archive (NaNDA)

National Neighborhood Data Archive

Updated Neighborhood Socioeconomic and Demographic Status Dataset

Apr 25, 2023

Since 2000, the National Neighborhood Data Archive (NaNDA) has included census tract and ZCTA level measures of neighborhood socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The NaNDA dataset includes two measures of the socioeconomic makeup of neighborhoods: affluence and disadvantage.

To make these measures NaNDA analyzes data from two sources:

  • US Decennial Census, 2000
  • American Community Survey (ACS), 5-year estimates from 2008-2012, 2013-2017, 2016-2020

After the recent release of census tract indicators from the 2016-2020 ACS, we re-evaluated NaNDA’s socioeconomic measures for all census tracts in the United States.

Findings from our re-evaluation have resulted in some changes to the 2016-2020 Neighborhood Socioeconomic measures from previous versions in NaNDA.

Neighborhood Affluence has consistently been measured by a concentration of people who are highly educated, work in professional or managerial occupations, and have family incomes in the upper distribution of the national income range. Our 2016-2020 dataset has updated the measure of high family income (>$125,000) based on the national distribution of census tract family incomes in this time period.

Neighborhoods with high affluence are likely to attract resources such as healthy food stores, places to exercise, and well-maintained buildings and parks. Such resources foster a set of norms- an emphasis on exercise and healthy diets, for example—that are conducive to good health.

Neighborhood Disadvantage has evolved considerably since 2000. In previous decades, disadvantage was measured by a concentration of unemployed residents, female headed families, and people identifying as Non-Hispanic Black race (in addition to measures of poverty). However, these characteristics have had progressively weaker associations with neighborhood disadvantage over time. This evolution suggests that the key drivers of neighborhood disadvantage are now exclusively economical rather than related to markers of social position. As such, the makeup of our neighborhood disadvantage measure has changed.

Our 2016-2020 dataset has been updated to reflect the concentrated economic disadvantage represented by a high proportion of people living in poverty, receiving public assistance income, and with low family incomes (<$40,000).

Efforts to understand potential risks or vulnerabilities within a neighborhood’s built environment and social structure should shift away from relying exclusively on measures of social vulnerability and deprivation. There is a need to consider how the spatial concentration of income and wealth at the neighborhood level is driving inequities in resource allocation in the United States.

The table below outlines the different components of the measures since 2000 and the updates that have been made for the 2016-2020 measures:

Census Tract Components of NaNDA’s Neighborhood Socioeconomic Indices (2000-2020)
Adults with College Education
Professional or Managerial Occupations
Family with Income > $50K
Family with Income > $125K
Families below Poverty Level
Families Receiving Public Assistance Income
Adults Unemployed
Female Headed Families
NH Black
Family Income < $40K