The Cities that Most Resemble Each Other

A fun activity in city comparison.

2 minute read

April 4, 2018, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


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Eric Kilby / Flickr

Jed Kolko and Josh Katz have undertaken a data analysis exercise that allows comparisons of many major cities around the country. For residents looking for a new place to live that resembles their own homes, or a large corporation looking for a second headquarters, it's not too difficult to find a new place "twin."

"One reliable measure of how similar two cities are is their job mix, which reflects both local advantages and history (coal, a port, great universities) and local demand (a young population that needs teachers, or an older population that needs nurses)," according to Kolko and Katz.

For instance, the two cities most like each other in the United States are Dallas and Atlanta. "Both have unusually high concentrations of property accountants, security consultants and front office managers, and low concentrations of clinical nurses, home health aides and assistant professors," according to Kolko and Katz. "In contrast, San Jose, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., are the large metro areas that look least like the United States over all. They all stand out for particular industries: tech in the Bay Area, and government in Washington."

The article includes a lot more insight into the kinds of comparisons this kind of analysis produces, and also includes interactive features that allow comparison of pretty much any medium to large metropolitan area in the United States (although not small towns).

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