Niche Local is a glimpse around the local area in which you live, with profiles on cities and towns across the country.
“We’re trying to close the loop for our users in major life decisions,” said David Rush, Niche’s product manager.
The Niche data team spent months evaluating and cleaning data from sources including the U.S. Census, the American Community Survey, the FBI, and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) to provide a cohesive look at your local and surrounding areas. The result is data that spans 3,221 counties, 55,465 towns, and 80 metro areas.
Type in a city, state, or ZIP code, and Niche Local will show you the population, population density, size, and more, including your local demographics and how they compare to the rest of the United States.
Niche Local is a handy guide for a variety of users, including families thinking about moving, neighborhood newbies looking to become acquainted with their surroundings, or even long-term residents curious about how their area stacks up against others around the country.
“[Giving context] was probably the biggest point of effort,” said Nate Bridi, Lead Designer & Front-End Developer at Niche. “A lot of these facts don’t mean anything if they’re not put into some kind of context.” On each profile page, the stats are pitted against each other, location facts versus average stats across the United States.
“How do you know what a normal percent of non-citizens is?” continued Bridi. “It doesn’t mean anything to you until you see that it varies quite a bit depending on the location you’re looking at. That’s probably the most unique and important feature that we have on the entire local product at the moment.”
From there, Niche Local gets into specifics, including the racial makeup of your area, the education levels, and the average age of residents.
Niche Data Analyst Laura Linn described the excitement of helping put together the data.
“[My favorite part] was the anticipation knowing that it’s going to be something really cool and waiting for that to piece together. I hope it provides statistics that someone might not think about.”
“We had built colleges; we had built K-12,” said Rush. “They’re all kind of in this triangle.”
Thinking of moving but don’t want to go too far away from the area? Take a look at “Nearby Metro Areas,” a tool Linn will be using with her home search.
“I want to be buying a house, and I think once I start figuring out the general areas I want, it will be a lot quicker to go to this one-page comparison.”
You can also browse neighborhoods in your area to compare different stats on a local level.
This product is “launching in beta,” meaning that it’s not a complete output. In the spirit of a beta release, the product will continue to be tweaked after its initial announcement.
“We always want feedback,” said Rush. “But especially now. We want to understand how we can improve on what exists.”
The team hopes users find Niche Local to be a useful tool in helping them look back and forward, allowing people to track where they’ve been and where they may be going in the future.
“There’s a lot of data out there,” said Rush. “But there’s not a lot of great websites that can provide you with all of this information and help you understand how one decision impacts the other.”