Demographics, On-Demand: Visualizing Microeconomic Municipal-Level Data

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Demographics, On-Demand: Visualizing Microeconomic Municipal-Level Data

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Jun Jiang, Alexander Villacampa Joseph Gankiewicz, CFA Bryan Hartigan
DEC 01, 2020

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  • Microeconomic data from the Census Bureau’s (CB) American Community Survey (ACS) was compiled and processed to produce a demographical map of population characteristics across the United States at the county and metropolitan level.
  • The tool is useful for analysts who would like an easy-to-use way of drilling down into microeconomic data that they may see as valuable in the municipal securities selection process.
  • The visual map can be used to harbor a wide variety of information, including coronavirus statistics.By mapping any datapoint to FIPS or CBSA codes, an analyst, regardless of their discipline, can see the geographic impact of underlying data.
  • Improvements to the tool are expected, including adding less common official surveys and more frequent Zillow-based data, which is currently provided on a monthly basis. This will allow the investment professional to see changing housing valuations on a very regular basis.

Municipal securities analysts use a variety of data when assessing the outlook for state and local budgets. Revenue sources, expense considerations, and fundamental demographic information are often synthesized in order to arrive at an actionable conclusion regarding the ability of state and local governments to make good on outstanding financial obligations. To assist these investment professionals in the process of selection, we have created a tool that allows them to easily visualize important demographic information and directly interact with the data at the county and metropolitan area level. By seeing how these various datapoints progress from year-to-year, municipal specialists may be better able to understand the demographic implications of state and local decisions, project potential impacts of demographical changes on state budgets, and visualize the influence microeconomic factors may be having on a given tax base.