Why our community is “purple” — not “red”

This eats at some people, but as I often write, our community is “purple” politically — not red. A recent market analysis by Buxton for the City of Grass Valley, discussed at this week’s Council meeting, confirms this notion.

In fact, “steadfast conservatives” — while noteworthy — is outpaced by “urban commuter families” and “professional urbanites.”

We are absolutely a community in transition. We need to elect leaders who get this. Businesses that want to succeed ought to get it too. Our future in this economic “cul de sac” depends on it.

“Based on the spending patterns and consumer habits of households within Grass Valley’s trade area, the following were identified as dominant profiles representing over 60 percent of all trade area households,” the Buxton Report reads.

Urban Commuter Families (22.26%). This segment consists primarily of upscale, college-educated Baby Boomer families and couples. They enjoy leisure and low-impact activities, and prefer to buy functional clothes over designer labels at stores like Sears and JC Penney’s. With a high rate of homeownership, they like to spend at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Pottery Barn.

Professional Urbanites (14.89%). This segment consists primarily of upper-middle class retirement oasis in the metropolitan sprawl containing very active empty nesting couples and older singles. With most residents over the age of 65, the adults in this cluster boast college degrees with above average incomes. They like to buy clothes at upscale boutique stores like Talbot’s and Ann Taylor and home furnishings from big-box stores like Costco, Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Comfy Country Living (7.54%). This segment consists primarily of empty nesting couples and retirees residing in quite small-town community. Predominantly white households who are married. College-educated with an above average age are solidly middle-class from a mix of well paying white-collar and blue-collar jobs in manufacturing, retail and food services.

Steadfast Conservatives (7.93%). Home to high-school educated mature singles and couples living in middle-class urban blue collar neighborhoods. A quietly aging cluster, home to mature singles and couples living in midscale urban neighborhoods. Households tend to be white, high school-educated and middle class.

More details are here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

6 thoughts on “Why our community is “purple” — not “red””

  1. Jeff,
    I would argue the entire nation is purple. The problem is we have a first past the post takes all system that allows us to believe there are only two choices when there are many more.

    Instant Run Off Voting would rectify this problem and would promote more participation from all political stripes not just those who like the big two.

    I am completely disgusted with the electoral system we have in place but take my minimum responsibility of voting serious. All those who starved themselves, got arrested, were beaten, and have died fighting for the right to vote and having a say in our government earned my lifelong devotion to keep pushing forward for justice and equality of all people. Voting is one piece of this puzzle.

    1. Hi Tim,
      The remainder is small percentages from lots of different “demographic” profiles. This is the most significant “chunk.”

  2. I would agree that the County trends purple politically, but I don’t see that these categories/breakdowns from this consultancy report have to do with politics. Rather it is somekind of pop psychology/demographc report. I can see myself in a number of the categories–they do not seem mutually exclusive.

    1. Not mutually exclusive but one is labeled “steadfast conservative.” Exit question: Does Russ Steele shop at Pottery Barn? LOL.

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