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Cities and municipalities across the U.S. are scrambling to put together their portfolios. Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is looking for a second headquarters. Those up for consideration will include metropolitan areas in North America with at least 1 million people, a stable business climate, urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent, and communities that think big and creatively.

What will it take to win the affection of Amazon and bring billions of dollars to the local economy? While many would love to call their city a home for Amazon, some locations make more sense than others, especially when it comes to finding the right people for the 50,000 jobs the behemoth merchandiser intends to create.

Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) specializes in attribute-based site selection by using datasets such as public records, traffic counts, business points of interest, demographic and psychographic insights, and consumer spending data. As the nation’s largest real estate data platform, offered exclusively to REALTORS®, RPR can easily identify where a client’s ideal consumer base lives through the library of data found within Esri, an RPR partner and leader in GIS software.

“A deep dive into the study of people and their patterns produces a meaningful analysis taking the past, current and future into account, reducing risk and ensuring site selection with the ‘right’ talent,” says Emily Line, vice president of Commercial Services for RPR. “Retaining and recruiting employees is far more costly in the grand scheme of things. Price per square foot for the brick and mortar will likely be less of a factor as Amazon selects their second home.”

The team at RPR set out to analyze the “people data” and insights in support of three top contenders for the new headquarters. Let’s see how they stack up.

Chicago, Ill.

  • 3 percent (395,310) have Bachelor’s degrees
  • 8 percent (274,250) have Graduate degrees
  • 1% percent (170,622) have a background in Technology, Engineering or Information Sciences
  • Residents’ income is close to the U.S. average (average household income $74,367)
  • Residents spend a large portion of their wages on rent (average rent $1,340), clothes and the latest technology
  • Unemployment rate is slightly above 5 percent
  • Residents live close to their jobs and usually walk, bike, take the train or grab a taxi to get around the city
  • Residents are highly mobile, well-educated, live alone or with a roommate
  • Residents prefer environmentally safe products

Additional Insights
One of the fastest-growing segments, the popularity of urban life continues to increase for those in their late 20s and 30s. This segment is willing to take risks and work long hours to get to the top of their profession. They become well-informed before purchasing the newest technology. Image is important to these consumers.

Austin, Texas

  • 6 percent (171,900) have Bachelor’s degrees
  • 18 percent (104,554) have Graduate degrees
  • 4 percent (69,397) have a background in Technology, Engineering or Information Sciences
  • Average household income is $81,998
  • Average monthly rent is $920
  • Labor force participation rate is exceptionally high at 75.4 percent
  • Unemployment is low at 3 percent
  • Almost one in five residents move each year
  • Close to half of all householders are under the age of 35, the majority living alone or in shared, non-family dwellings
  • Median household income is still below the U.S. average
  • Austin ranks in the top five for renters, movers, college enrollment and labor-force participation rate
  • Residents are diverse and favor densely populated neighborhoods

Additional Insights
Well-educated young workers, some of whom are still completing their education, are employed in professional/technical occupations, as well as sales and office/administrative support roles. These residents are striving to get ahead and improve themselves.

Atlanta, Ga.

  • 9 percent (86,088) have Bachelor’s degrees
  • 9 percent (64,547) have Graduate degrees
  • 19 percent (41,119) have a background in Technology, Engineering or Information Sciences
  • Residents are predominantly single, well-educated professionals in business, finance, legal, computer and entertainment occupations
  • Average rent is $1,830
  • Average household income is $82,862
  • The unemployment rate is 5.5 percent
  • Residents are cosmopolitan and connected, technologically-savvy consumers
  • Residents are active and health-conscious and care about the environment
  • Many residents walk, bike or use public transportation to get to work; a number work from home

Additional Insights
Although single householders technically outnumber couples, this market includes a higher proportion of partner households. Residents are more interested in the stock market than the housing market.

Are you a member of the National Association of REALTORS®? Take advantage of RPR, your member benefit, today. Use RPR’s Trade Area Report to identify what type of opportunities will work best in a community based on economic indicators, demographic details, and Esri Tapestry Segmentation.

Reggie Nicolay is vice president of Marketing and Communications for Realtors Property Resource (RPR).

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