ArcUser Online

Search ArcUser


E-mail to a Friend

Detailed Data for Profiling Customers or Constituents

The new Community Tapestry system, developed by Esri, classifies neighborhoods in the United States based on socioeconomic and demographic composition. It provides a detailed picture of residential neighborhoods and allows users to profile consumers, constituents, or members by

  • Standard geographic areas including census tract, block group, and ZIP Code
  • User-defined areas such as rings and polygons based on distance, drive time, or another user-specified factor
  • Customer addresses or site locations

Developing Community Tapestry

Community Tapestry is built on the ACORN (A Classification of Residential Neighborhoods) system, a proven methodology that was introduced more than 20 years ago. Tapestry's 65 clusters accurately describe the U.S. markets and were developed using statistical methods that ensure this is the optimal number of clusters.

To ensure the stability and validity of these clusters, the Esri BIS data development team verified the accuracy of clusters by replicating them with independent sample checks. Validity is checked through the use of demographic characteristics not used to generate the clusters. Linking the Tapestry system to the latest consumer survey data is the critical test. A market segmentation system must be able to distinguish consumer behavior (i.e., spending patterns and lifestyle choices) as expected.

Tapestry combines cluster analysis, the traditional statistical methodology, with the latest data mining techniques to supply robust functionality for handling large amounts of geodemographic data. Cluster analysis was also used to develop summary groups. Using the summary groups for analyses lets users work with fewer markets. By providing three methods—LifeMode, Urbanization, and Custom or Industry Specific—for dividing these 65 clusters into summary groups, Tapestry gives a broader view of U.S. neighborhoods.

Summary Groups

The LifeMode method uses 12 summary groups based on lifestyle and life stage. For example, as illustrated in Table 1, Group L1–High Society, consists of the seven most affluent clusters, whereas Group L5–Senior Styles, includes the nine clusters with a high presence of seniors.

L1 High Society L7 High Hopes
L2 Upscale Avenues L8 Global Roots
L3 Metropolis L9 Family Portrait
L4 Solo Acts L10 Traditional Living
L5 Senior Styles L11 Factories & Farms
L6 Scholars & Patriots L12 American Quilt
Table 1: LifeMode summary groups

The 11 summary groups used in the Urbanization method are based on geographic and physical features and income. These include population density, city size, location in or out of a metropolitan area, and inclusion in the economic and social center of a metropolitan area. For example, U1—Principal Urban Centers I, includes eight clusters that are concentrated in densely settled cities inside a major metropolitan area. Table 2 contains a list of the 11 summary groups defined in the Urbanization method. The I or II denotes relative affluence within the group.

U1 Principal Urban Centers I U7 Suburban Periphery I
U2 Principal Urban Centers II U8 Suburban Periphery II
U3 Metro Cities I U9 Small Towns
U4 Metro Cities II U10 Rural I
U5 Urban Outskirts I U11 Rural II
U6 Urban Outskirts II    
Table 2: Urbanization summary groups

The custom or industry specific method selects groups to provide a more focused application. Users can also define their own groups to capture the dynamics of Tapestry for specific applications. For example, the 65 clusters could be grouped in rank order based on consumption rate from customer profiles and consumer surveys.

Clusters Versus Groups

Clusters will usually give users more differentiating power than summary groups. However, for analyzing a smaller number of markets, groups would be appropriate. Which grouping methods to use depends on the application. For certain products or services, such as going to movies, the Urbanization method may more effectively distinguish consumption patterns than LifeMode groups. But for lifestyle or life stage related behavior, such as domestic travel, grouping by LifeMode would be more effective.

Broad Range of Applications

Businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations use this information to better understand the markets they serve. Tapestry helps these organizations identify the best markets, discover how to reach them more effectively, and define the products and services preferred by consumers.

  • A retailer uses segmentation to find customers who prefer to shop online, customers who might respond to a customer loyalty promotion, and those who always shop in the store so that promotions will be tailored to each customer segment.
  • A local government's homeland security department uses segmentation to determine the location of a community's vulnerable populations such as children under five years or the elderly. Segmentation can also help local governments identify the types of community services such as child care.
  • Nonprofit organizations can use segmentation to profile current members, tailor targeted prospect messages, and define the services preferred by members.

Using Tapestry

Tapestry data seamlessly integrates into ArcGIS Business Analyst, Esri BIS' Community Coder, Solocast, and other software and is available for use in a variety of deliverables including reports, projects, and licenses.

Reports are available via Business Analyst Online at The Tapestry Area Profile report includes cross-referenced clusters by summary groups based on Urbanization and LifeMode, and the top 20 and top 10 area rankings versus national numbers. Charts illustrate the best opportunities in a market. Information in this report can help users

  • Define area market penetration.
  • View market rankings versus national indices.
  • "Drill down" to the best opportunities.
  • Discover untapped potential in a market.

Esri BIS will use Tapestry to develop a variety of marketing analysis projects based on client requirements. These projects can include customer profiles, modeling, and territory and competitive analyses. Projects will include comprehensive information about the market, interpretation of the findings, and recommendations.

Users can contract to use Tapestry to develop their own analyses. These licenses are available by geographic area (i.e., national, regional, or market) and/or by length of contract.

To learn more about Community Tapestry and its applications, contact Esri at 800-292-2224/East or 800-394-3690/West or visit the Web site at

Contact Us | Privacy | Legal | Site Map