Atlanta – How Does it Compare to “Typical” America?

Home to companies like The Coca-Cola company, Turner Broadcasting, The Home Depot, IPS, and Delta Airlines, the city is a major business city for both the US and the world.   But what are people like in Atlanta?  How do they compare to the “average” American?  How does each neighborhood differ throughout the area?

According to the 2010 Census, there are 5,611,180 people living in the Atlanta, GA Core Based Statistical Area (CBSA). What do we know about the people living there?  How do they vary?

As a whole, the Atlanta CBSA population is 49.4% male and 50.6% female.  57.3% of the population identifies themselves as White only.  31.4% of the population identifies themselves as Black (compared with 12.4% of the US population).  10.6% of the population identifies themselves as Hispanic. The median income in 2010 was  $68,106, which is over 25% higher than the US median income of $54,442.

People in Atlanta are “average” Americans in some ways, but also index high or low in many parts of the city depending on the demographics.  A high index means they spend more than the average America  on a product and service or a higher percentage of households participate in an activity the average US household. Here are some key statistics for selected variables for the overall Atlanta CBSA:

Activity Index Average Spend per HH per Year
Watch baseball on TV



Watch American Idol



Own a DVR



Coffee at Home



Health Insurance



All neighborhoods in Atlanta are not the same.  Just like the rest of the US, there is diversity in the area.  Retailers, marketers, distributors, and others who do business with direct consumers need to know where their customers live – or where the opportunity may lie.  Understanding what activities consumers are engaging in or what they are purchasing is critical to knowing where customers and opportunities lie.

Baseball is one of the key all-American sports.  Home to the Atlanta Braves, baseball is as popular in Atlanta as anywhere.   Much of Atlanta is relatively average when it comes to watching baseball on TV.  There are a few areas on the outskirts of the CBSA and right in the middle of the CBSA that are below average.

Baseball TV Viewing Index by Zip Code

The zip code that indexes the highest when it comes to watching baseball is 30290, which is Tyrone, GA. Its index is 127 meaning that someone in a household in this zip code is 1.27 times more likely than the average American household to watch baseball.  The dominant tapestry segment of this zip code is Green Acres.  Seventy-one percent of the households in Green Acres neighborhoods are married couples with and without children. Many families are blue-collar Baby Boomers, many with children aged 6–17 years.  This segment is not ethnically diverse; 92 percent of the residents are white. More about tapestry segments and segmentation can be found at

American Idol is one of the most popular television shows today with a wide range in its viewing audience from age to demographics.  While it isn’t as popular as it once was, millions are still tuning in to watch and vote every week.  On May 3, 2012, 15.05 million households tuned in to view the show, according to Nielsen (prior seasons have had 20-30 million viewers per show).  That’s more than 13% of all households in the US.  Residents of Atlanta are typically American when it comes to American Idol with an index of 105.

American Idol Viewing Index by Zip Code

There is little variation for American Idol viewing among neighborhoods in Atlanta – most fall within the “average” index range of 75-125.  The zip codes with the highest indices are 30336 and 30332 – both with an index of 131.  These zip codes have different dominant tapestry groups.  They are Sophisticated Squires and Family Foundations, respectively.  It isn’t surprising that this varies as the American Idol viewer is very diverse.  The zip code with the lowest index for watching American Idol in the Atlanta CBSA was 30326 with an index of 59.  This means that a household in that zip code is 40% less likely to watch American Idol as the average American household.  The dominant tapestry segment in that neighborhood is Metro Renters.  Residents of this segment are young, educated singles, who are just beginning their professional careers in some of the largest US cities.

DVRs have changed the way many consumers watch television.  Enabling consumers to shift their television viewing from appointment viewing to on-demand has greatly affected how media companies market and distribute their content.  Many think that everyone has a DVR since it’s so prevalent it places like Los Angeles and New York where many in the media market live.  It’s not quite true – it’s somewhere around 50% of US households.  While this isn’t something to ignore, knowing that half the country still watches much of their TV live is important and can affect what type of content is developed and how it is distributed.  How does Atlanta compare to the rest of the nation?

Overall, Atlanta has a higher adoption of DVRs than the average American.  Its index is 118.   Not all areas of Atlanta are the same though.

DVR Ownership Index by Zip Code

While overall the city falls in the average range for DVR ownership, it is on the higher end of the average scale as it has an index of 118 meaning residents of the Atlanta CBSA are 1.18 times more likely to have a DVR than the average American household.  The city, itself, though, is quite diverse in DVR ownership.  There are several zip codes with indices of above 150 for DVR ownership meaning they are 1.5 times more likely to have a DVR than the average American household.  The zip code with the highest index of 196 is 30097.  The three zip codes with the next highest zip codes are 30024, 30022, and 30005.  All 4 of these zip codes have Boomburbs as their dominant tapestry segment.  Residents of this segment busy, affluent young families with the highest concentrations of young families with children. There is little ethnic diversity in the population; most of the residents are white.

With an index of 47, the zip code 30734 has the lowest index in the Atlanta CBSA.  Households in this zip code are less than half as likely to have a DVR than the average American household.  The dominant tapestry segment is Southern Satellites.

Knowing what consumers spend their money on and how much is key to understanding their preferences and what they may or may not buy in the future.  This information can help retailers, marketers, and distributors decide on what products to offer and where to offer them.

Coffee is a key part of many people’s day – especially in the morning.  While many go to a coffeehouse to consume their favorite caffeinated beverage – or they get it at work, many also brew it at home and consume it there or on their way to work.  The average American household spends about $64.20 on coffee each year.  The average household in the Atlanta CBSA spends just a bit more than that – $67.30. Atlanta, overall, is just average in terms of spending on coffee – but neighborhoods differ.

Average HH Annual Coffee Spend for Home Consumption by Zip Code

There are a few zip codes in the Atlanta CBSA where the average household spends over $100 per year on coffee.  Interestingly, there are multiple tapestry groups that are dominant for each of these zip codes: Top Rung, Social Security Set, Boomburbs, Suburban Splendor, and Metro Renters.  The average household in zip code 30313 spends just $30.96 per year on coffee, which is the lowest in the Atlanta CBSA.

Health insurance is a concern of most Americans and has been on the agenda of politicians for many years.  It is one of the foremost topics for the 2012 presidential election.  The average American household pays about $1,865 annually for it.  Many factors go into how much an individual or family pays including family size, age, health condition, and much more.  It can also vary based on where you live – from the state, city, and even neighborhood.  The average household in Atlanta pays $1,916.56 which is just above the amount of the average American household.

Average HH Health Insurance Spend by Zip Code

There are many reasons that are hard to pinpoint as to why one area has higher health insurance costs than other.  The formulas are very complex.  While much of the city falls within the “average” of the American household, there are a few areas that are either above or below average.  There are three zip codes where the average household spends over $3,000 per month.  Each of these has median incomes over $120,000.  Households in zip code 30327 on average spend the most – $3,163.01.  The dominant tapestry group for this zip code is Top Rung.  Information about health insurance costs can help health industry professionals determine what services or clinics may be needed in an area.

What does this all mean in terms of Atlanta? 

In the criteria analyzed here, its indices are just slightly higher than the typical American household – but it’s really pretty much average as a whole.  There are some differences throughout the city.  This is due to the varying demographics in the city showing that there is a spectrum of consumers throughout.  Companies wanting to target the Atlanta area should fully understand who their market is then use segmentation to find the neighborhoods that match their consumers.

This blog is part of a series about various local markets around the country.

More information about Esri’s data can be found at  or to learn more about Esri in general, go to

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