NeighborhoodScout® uses the official government designation for neighborhoods - the Census Tract.

Census Tracts are small, relatively permanent subdivisions of a county that are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau in conjunction with local authorities across the country to define real neighborhoods that are bounded to contain areas with homogeneous population characteristics (including economic status, lifestyle, and living conditions). Census Tracts usually have 4,000 persons and can range between 1,500 and 8,000 persons.

Because Census Tracts are based on population, they vary in size depending on the density of settlement. In urban areas, they are small, and in rural areas they can cover an entire small town or even a few small towns in very rural areas. The city name for each neighborhood is determined by a spatial overlay of the Census Tracts onto city and town boundaries. If there is more than one city within the neighborhood, city name is aligned with the city with the largest overlap.  For neighborhoods entirely outside of city limits, city name is based on the predominate city name used on standard USPS mailing addresses in the neighborhood.  

Census Tracts are also assigned neighborhood names in all cities with more than one Census Tract. The names are assigned through spatial overlay of point locations from government sources and colloquial neighborhood boundaries from our partners.  Although Census Tracts boundaries may differ from colloquial boundaries, we provide the name that is most closely aligned with a given area (e.g., Boston, MA (Dorchester)). In locations where there is not a place name available, we name the Census Tract by the largest street intersection in the Census Tract (e.g., Lincoln, NE (Alvo Rr / N 7th St)).