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CityLab Methodology

Data contained in CityLab has been gathered by CityLab staff and local reporters. New data will be added periodically.

Want to contribute data? We'd love the help!

See a problem with the data? Please let us know.

U.S. Census data was obtained from the American Community Survey narrative profile.


Data on licensed professionals and businesses (midwives, landscape architects, liquor licenses, etc.) was obtained from the relevant state licensing agency. Most state licensing agencies provide a searchable online database through which CityLab staff searched by city, then counted the number of licensed professionals listed under each city search. Care was taken to count each individual once, regardless of how many licenses he/she may hold, and to avoid counting licenses that are expired or cancelled.


Data on businesses (grocery stores, Planned Parenthood, etc.) was obtained by searching corporate or national headquarters websites, and spot-checking with phonebook searches and phone calls to listed establishments.


Data on voter registration was obtained from the California Secretary of State and the UC Berkeley Institute on Governmental Studies, the official source for California statewide elections data.


Patchwork Nation is a nationwide demography project of the Christian Science Monitor and PBS. Patchwork Nation reporters and demographers have developed 12 demographic categories to classify every county in the United States in an effort to create a more specific, real-life understanding of the nation beyond the standard red state/blue state conception.

CityLab collaborated with Patchwork Nation creator Dante Chinni and demographer James Gimpel to provide city-specific classifications according to the Patchwork Nation categories. Our intent is to take the Patchwork Nation typologies to a more granular level and to demonstrate the incredible diversity of cities within each Bay Area county. For example, Alameda County is considered an Immigration Nation, but contains within it cities with a range of different classifications, from Boom Towns to Monied 'Burbs.

As part of planned future expansion of CityLab statewide, we hope to create a new set of city classifications to better reflect the state's cities beyond the Patchwork Nation classifications, which were created to reflect county rather than city demographics.