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April 22, 2007

Richard Florida

Feel the Creative Heat

« How Many Kids Does It Take to Make You Happy? | Main | The Wal-mart Map »

So, where is the Creative Class?

Looking at this, the answer must be "go east, young man".


The map shows the "heat" being generated by the Creative Class across the entire U.S.  There are a few hot spots in the west, but unlike their compatriots in the east, they don't get to share the warmth generated by their neighbors.  The hot spots are New York City to Philly, metro DC, central & eastern Virginia, Atlanta, and the Cincinnati, Lexington, Louisville “triangle”. I generated the map based on current Creative Class numbers and plotted the log of the total number of Creative Class members in each county.  The heat mapping process is based on both individual strength and proximity to others and their values, so the higher population densities favor the eastern states.  Values are displayed relative to the other locations on each map, so the results stay consistent but the view changes with zoom levels.  For separate regional views or a better version of the map, see the attached PDF file.

Download CreativeClassHeatMap.pdf

(Special shout-out to Jeff at HeatMapAPI for his work and quick response in getting things working.)

Posted by: Kevin Stolarick


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» The Creative Heat In The East from bailey workplay
Im a sucker for good visual data and the map generated by Kevin Stolarick at the Richard Florida Creativity Group is particularly interesting. Using data on where the creative class lives, county by county, he has been able to show the he... [Read More]


Michael Wells


Fascinating. I assume Yellow is the hottest, but it was hard to guess the gradations below that. Nevertheless, on the national map Cincinnati outshines San Francisco and both the South and the Eastern Midwest outshine the West Coast. Either proximity counts for more than I would have thought, or those of us on the Left Coast are overconfident, self-centered swollen heads (I wouldn't rule out the possibility).

I was surprised in the Northwest map by Portland's overshadowing (overbrightening?) Seattle by so much, and in the Southwest map by LA's seeming coolness, almost not a factor.


Please forgive an ignorant question, but on what data is this map based?

Jerry Yarnetsky

Looking at the various maps, the intensity scale seems to change.

On the national map, St. Louis is simply deep red, but on the western US map, St. Louis beams as strongly as the hot spots on the previous map.

We need a key to make comparisons between the maps.

However, this is a very cool way of visualizing numeric data.

Kevin Stolarick

The data is the Creative Class data. As basically the "official statistican of the Creative Class" (I was the first person to actually see the scope of the Creative Class since I ran the numbers after Richard and I defined it), I always have the most up-to-date information. Basically, in this case, the metro area data is from the 2005 BLS and the non-metro numbers are from 2000 (best available).

The maps are currently showing current Creative Class populations for every county in the U.S. (logged so that more than just the largest populations appear on the map but the higher populations still get more "heat"). The heat mapping process is based on both individual strength and proximity to others and their values, so the higher population densities favor the eastern states but having lots of Creative neighbors is a positive factor. Values are displayed relative to the other locations on each map, so the results stay consistent but the view changes with zoom levels. The relative strength remains the same within each map, but the actual amount of "heat" (the brightness of the spot) is based on the place with the highest value **for the current map only**. So, for example, while Salt Lake City and Boise are barely noticeable (if at all) on the overall US map, they are much brighter on the Northwest map and even brighter on the individual state maps. The "heat" of the maps is always displayed relative to the rest of the map with the brightest (yellow) spot representing the highest population or population cluster for the current map only.

I was also surprised by the west -- I think it's the difference between being isolated and being part of a community. Since the mapping process rewards you for having Creative neighbors (not unlike real life within a city), many smaller but close together clusters get rewarded more than one stronger isolated location.


Intruging map. However, I'm struggling to understand and interpret it. I echo Eric's question: what BLS numbers are you using and how did they aquire them? and what constitutes "the creative class" in this particular map?

To be more specific: Are you counting the number with university degrees? the number of people who in the BLS (please identify) report working in a "creative" profession (and if so, which professions)? So, is the creative class self-identified? or "objectively" identified?


Kevin Stolarick

It's the standard definintion of "Creative Class" that was used in the original book (The Rise of the Creative Class) only updated from newer data sources. The intention is to capture people who are being paid to think for a living. We often break it down as TAPE (Technology workers, Artists & designers (very general category), Professionals, and Educators).

The data is occupationally based. So, rather than the standard Human Capital measure (college education), Creative Capital is based on what people are actually being paid to do. The Bureau of Labor Statistics annually collects and reports on employment and wages by occupation by region for all U.S. metropolitan areas (Occupation Employment Statistics). That was used for all metro areas. Then, for the counties not in a metro area (large percentage of area/small percentage of total population), I used the Creative Class estimates that I developed from the 2000 Census.

Barkley  Rosser

One matter I am a bit unclear on: is the heat based on increases in creative class or absolute numbers? I find it hard to believe that the Cincinnati-Louisville-Lexington triangle has a higher amount of creative class people than Seattle, although it is a lot more believable that it might be currently increasing at a higher percentage rate than Seattle (or LA).

Michael Wells

This obviously looks at data differently than I generally think of it. The top cities in Rise (paperback) are in order: Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Portland, Minneapolis, Washington-Baltimore, Sacramento, Denver. On the national maps, most of these are blips. Even on the regional maps, Austin, Seattle, Raleigh-Durham, Boston and Sacramento don't even make it to yellow.

The book's Creative Index looks at factors other than talent, while the maps only count people, but still it's a big discrepancy. The maps give more statistical weight to physical proximity and calculate based on some population formula. Assuming approximately equally long coastlines, the West Coast has 6 cities over 1 million, the East Coast has 14, plus more population directly inland.

John Manoogian III

It occurs to me that there are strong parallels between seeing the creative class as a demographic and paul graham's reasoning about what defines silicon valley: the people.

v. http://paulgraham.com/siliconvalley.html


Great questions all. And as is usual I defer to Kevin, the "statistician of the creative class." I am a big fan of Paul Graham's work and definitely see the parallels.


Kevin.. somewhere the data you are deriving this map from is really flawed.. If we look at the "TAPE" individuals, according to the map, there is an equal amount of creatives in Twin Falls Idaho as there are in LA. This is absolutely false. There are more people working in ad agencies alone in LA then the entire population of Twin Falls Idaho. I'm not trying to pump up the west coast, but the sheer amount of creative talent in LA seems to be just left off the map. Time to re-check the numbers.


Michael Wells

Here's another take. Assume this map is accurate in what it measures which is concentration of creative class jobs, with extra points given for proximity. So from the Creative Index formula, these places have Talent. Then why are these regions not all hotbeds of creativity, and in fact some of the most stagnant by many measures? It may be the lack of the other two T's, Technology and Tolerance. They have the job titles, but not the openness that creativity requires.

I am however troubled by the difference between this map and Richard's "Where the Brains Are" map, this vast reddish region of the deep South and Midwest is very low in percentage of college graduates. Also again by many of the top 10 creative cities not glowing and the disappearing LA phenomenon.

Michael R. Bernstein

am I correct in assuming that the data this map is based is for density of creatives in absolute numbers?

I would suspect that it is, thus giving more weight to the east due to overall denser population.

I would be very interested in a map that only showed creatives as a percentage of the population.

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