We humans tend to want to live near people who are similar to ourselves in some respect, whether its religion, ethnicity, socio-economic background or what have you. In demographic studies, this is called clustering. Some people tend to cluster by interest – such as when a neighborhood becomes known for a high concentration of working artists. The New York Times recently released a fun online tool that lets you discriminate against your neighbors based on a whole new criteria: what they rented on Netflix in 2009!
The interactive map offers 12 major urban areas, breaks down the top rentals by neighborhood, and allows the user to sort movies based on top rentals, metascore and other criteria. Play around with it a bit and you’ll notice some really interesting patterns. Acclaimed TV Mad Men was heavily rented in city centers, while the Idris Elba-fronted movie Obsessed was rented almost exclusively in African American neighborhoods.
Take a look at the interactive Netflix Map and see what people were watching in your neighborhood. I’m happy to say that I live in an area where movies like Milk and Burn After Reading top movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Oh, and Los Angeles? You have terrible taste!