Introducing Opportunity Score

Real Estate News & Analysis

Introducing Opportunity Score

San Jose, Milwaukee and Albuquerque rank highest in overall Opportunity Score

Today we’re launching Opportunity Score. Built in partnership with the White House Opportunity Project, Opportunity Score is an online tool that helps Americans find homes within a 30-minute car-free commute to nearby jobs. Opportunity Score assigns an address a rating, from zero to 100, that represents how easy it is to get to nearby jobs without a car. Scores also consider the local population to reflect the fact that places with more people likely have more competition for local jobs. The tool is available right now for millions of addresses in more than 350 U.S. cities.

The Tool

To show you why we’re excited about Opportunity Score and how it will be useful to Americans, imagine a family living in the East Bay of San Francisco. They don’t have a car. Mom has a job downtown with a two-hour commute. Dad got laid off last Friday, and now he’s looking for work and a more affordable home. He can use Opportunity Score to find a place to live that’s within a short, car-free commute from his wife’s job downtown and from other job centers where he might find employment.

Here’s what they see when comparing a downtown San Francisco address with one in Daly City:

screenshots

Opportunity Score screenshots: an address in Downtown San Francisco on the left; an address in Daly City on the right. The highlighted blobs on the maps show the areas reachable in 30 minutes without a car.

Both addresses have an Opportunity Score of 100. That means there are a lot of jobs paying at least $40,000 that are accessible in 30 minutes without a car, even when adjusting for all the competing workers in the greater area.

But what about home prices? The right half of the Opportunity Score page summarizes prices of homes for sale and for rent near an address. In this example, two-bedroom homes near the downtown San Francisco address are selling for around $1 million and two-bedroom rentals are about $4,600 a month. Rental prices near the Daly City BART station are still high, but two-bedroom homes are listed for around $645,000. That’s a whopping 35 percent savings, and the employment access is still plentiful. The family can use the tool to weigh the factors that are most important for them and their lifestyletransit access, job opportunity and affordability.

But not all addresses are connected to a lot of jobs by public transit. The next map shows the Opportunity Score of an address in Shaker Heights near Cleveland, Ohio. The highlighted area on the map shows that most of the jobs in the Cleveland area are out of range in 30 minutes by transit.

Are we suggesting this is a bad place to live? No way. The homes in this area have luxurious walk-in closets, high-end kitchens and fragrant landscaping. The Opportunity Score of 29 just means that most people will need a car to get to work, and getting to work will probably take longer than 30 minutes.

shaker-heights-ohio
Map: Opportunity Score from an address in Shaker Heights near Cleveland, Ohio

Who It’s For

Opportunity Score can be used by anyone, from a person searching for a job and a home, to someone who already has a great job but wants to spend less time commuting, to a recent grad who’s choosing a new city to move to based on employment availability and housing affordability.

Opportunity Score is for researchers, writers and policy-makers too, of course. It comes with some really useful maps to help people visualize parts of the country that are ripe with opportunity, as well as ones that are lacking.

The bottom line is that everyone deserves opportunity. Our mission at Redfin and Walk Score is to make information about things like jobs, home prices and transit access easily available so people can make the best decisions possible and find places to live that will afford the best possible opportunities for them and their families.

Urban Area Rankings

Of course, there’s even more we can do with Opportunity Score data. To get you started, we ranked the 50 most populous urbanized areas as defined by the U.S. Census by their population-weighted median Opportunity Score ratings. The San Jose, California area is the most accessible for workers without a car, and urban areas we don’t often talk about, like Milwaukee and Albuquerque, rose to the top. For each urban area, clicking on the map will take you to the Opportunity Score of that area. Here they are:

#1. San Jose, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

70

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

78%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Manufacturing

POPULATION

1,701,890

#2. Milwaukee, WI

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

63

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

75%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,288,680

#3. Albuquerque, NM

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

59

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

26%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

701,406

#4. Providence, RI

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

58

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

66%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

963,913

#5. Washington, DC–VA–MD

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

51

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

76%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

POPULATION

5,315,030

#5. Salt Lake City/West Valley City, UT

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

51

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

47%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Retail Trade

POPULATION

1,008,700

#5. Portland, OR–WA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

51

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

39%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,802,120

#8. Urban Honolulu, HI

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

50

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

77%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Accommodation and Food Services

POPULATION

746,976

#9. San Francisco/Oakland, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

47

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

77%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

4,241,940

#9. Buffalo, NY

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

47

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

66%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

890,967

#9. Austin, TX

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

47

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

66%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Educational Services

POPULATION

1,228,380

#12. Rochester, NY

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

45

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

67%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Educational Services

POPULATION

654,982

#12. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN–WI

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

45

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

73%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

2,550,340

#14. Tucson, AZ

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

44

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

74%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

769,277

#15. Charlotte, NC–SC

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

38

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

64%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,327,250

#15. Baltimore, MD

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

38

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

82%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

2,894,460

#17. Denver/Aurora, CO

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

37

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

24%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

2,394,280

#18. Seattle, WA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

36

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

61%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

3,149,580

#19. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY–IN

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

35

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

75%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

902,842

#20. Philadelphia, PA–NJ–DE–MD

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

33

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

57%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

5,210,800

#20. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

33

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

71%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

12,891,000

#20. Concord, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

33

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

46%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,210,080

#20. Cleveland, OH

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

33

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

65%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,659,340

#24. San Antonio, TX

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

32

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

55%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,709,500

#24. Sacramento, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

32

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

70%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Public Administration

POPULATION

1,667,840

#26. San Diego, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

31

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

41%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

2,831,810

#26. Las Vegas/Henderson, NV

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

31

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

83%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Accommodation and Food Services

POPULATION

1,857,330

#26. Kansas City, MO–KS

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

31

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

83%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,067,470

#29. Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

30

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

26%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

2,316,720

#29. Columbus, OH

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

30

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

63%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,287,410

#31. New York/Newark, NY–NJ–CT

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

29

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

79%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

19,242,300

#31. Mission Viejo/Lake Forest/San Clemente, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

29

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

58%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

697,605

#31. Chicago, IL–IN

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

29

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

81%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

8,212,400

#34. Indianapolis, IN

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

27

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

72%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,332,980

#35. Pittsburgh, PA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

26

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

42%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,580,710

#35. Phoenix/Mesa, AZ

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

26

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

67%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

3,750,550

#37. Virginia Beach, VA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

25

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

80%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,351,410

#38. Raleigh, NC

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

24

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

48%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

949,159

#39. Orlando, FL

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

23

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

45%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Accommodation and Food Services

POPULATION

1,565,570

#39. Cincinnati, OH–KY–IN

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

23

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

76%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

1,527,770

#41. St. Louis, MO–IL

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

22

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

76%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

2,000,310

#42. Nashville/Davidson, TN

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

22

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

78%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

849,276

#43. Riverside/San Bernardino, CA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

18

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

57%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

2,245,100

#44. Houston, TX

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

16

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

14%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

4,765,090

#44. Birmingham, AL

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

16

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

88%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

635,658

#46. Oklahoma City, OK

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

12

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

19%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

826,721

#47. Atlanta, GA

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

10

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

79%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Retail Trade

POPULATION

4,274,570

#48. Bridgeport/Stamford, CT–NY

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

7

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

77%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

918,913

#49. Miami, FL

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

6

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

28%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

5,434,950

#50. Detroit, MI

OPPORTUNITY SCORE

3

PERCENT OF JOBS PAYING $40,000 OR MORE

72%

MOST COMMON JOB TYPE

Health Care and Social Assistance

POPULATION

3,884,790


How We Built Opportunity Score

Back To Top

Opportunity Score is powered by the Walk Score Travel Time API (thank you Bo, Jason and David for the transit shed grinding machine pool), jobs data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, population data from the U.S. Census and housing data from the Redfin Estimate and Walk Score rentals.

In the following map, the light grey dots are individual jobs that pay more than $40,000, the highest pay tier we can filter for in the jobs data from the Department of Commerce. The highlighted yellow blobs with the blue outlines make up the 30-minute “transit shed”—showing where you can go within 30 minutes without a car. Within those blobs, each dark grey dot is one of the 250,000 jobs reachable in 30 minutes from the Daly City BART station. After we count up the jobs, we factor in the population in a 30-mile buffer from the origin point.

daly-city
Map: The inner workings of Opportunity Score for an address near the Daly City BART station

And then we do some math.

We call the transit accessible jobs ‘n’ and we use it in our recipe to get the Opportunity Score for an address. The other big ingredient is the letter ‘p’ and it’s proportional to the inverse of the population in the greater area. We combine ‘n’ and ‘p’ to get a score using a binomial distribution that can be simplified to [1 – (1-p)^n] before scaling the score from 0 to 100.

Tim helped with that. Thanks, Tim.

We did this for millions of addresses in hundreds of cities, and then built a tool on top of it. This means that you can explore the Opportunity Score of your area right now. Do you have questions or an interest in collaborating? Contact research@redfin.com.

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