September 2022

IZA Policy Paper No. 190: The Community Explorer: Bringing Populations' Diversity into Policy Discussions, One County at a Time

Claude Lopez, Hyeongyul Roh, Maggie Switek

The Community Explorer provides new insights and data on the characteristics and diversity of the US population. Using machine learning methods, it synthesizes the information of 751 variables across 3,142 counties from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey into 17 communities. Each one of these communities has a distinctive profile that combines demographic, socio-economic, and cultural behavioral determinants while not being geographically bounded. We encourage policy makers and researchers to make use of the results of our analysis. The Community Explorer dashboard provides the location of these profiles, allowing for targeted deployment of community interventions and, more broadly, increasing the understanding of socioeconomic gaps withing the US.