asked questions.


What is Real Income by ADP?

Real Income by ADP is an income based geo-economic data-set, accessed through an interactive mapping and reporting tool, available also via data extracts. Our tool provides actual income, trends and insights for business leaders to evaluate, validate and monitor business activity through various business sectors. This data is particularly useful for economic research and decision making at the macro and micro-economic level for numerous industries including financial services, commercial real estate brokerages, retailers and CPG companies.

What problem does Real Income solve?

Today’s business leaders need accurate geo-economic data on communities where they are operating. Yet they often have unreliable surveys and outdated government sources to turn to. That is, until now. ADP has come up with a way for professionals to tap into accurate, monthly updated income data and insights. Real Income by ADP allows decision makers to analyze business and residential locations to spot economic trends; track where money comes from, and where it’s going; make sense of industry and income changes; and project what matters most for their businesses.

How is the income data derived and presented?

ADP is America’s leading payroll provider, executing payroll for 1 in 6 employees in America. Data such as income, industry, job and location is unique to us. This is first party data. Real Income metrics and insights are derived from aggregated and anonymized ADP payroll data updated quarterly. The platform is built by connecting records and insights to business and residential property locations; aggregating and anonymizing data for privacy; mapping information to the US Census hierarchy; and using interactive mapping with reporting and data downloading capabilities.

How does ADP maintain privacy?

The income metrics that are derived from anonymized data comes from a minimum threshold of businesses or residences aggregated within a location. A location is defined by the US Census hierarchy, starting at the US Census Block level. Only locations with the minimum number of businesses or residents may be presented by geographical hierarchy. Decision makers can view business locations and residences at the Census Block level or at higher aggregated levels such as Census Block Group, Census Tract, County or State (where minimum thresholds are reached). If a minimum threshold of businesses or residences is not met by a location, some information may not be available.

How often is the data updated?

Real Income by ADP data and insights are updated quarterly. Our entire database is also updated quarterly.

How can I view, access and download Real Income data and insights?

There are two ways. You may download data extracts. You may also log onto the Real Income portal and access data through the interactive map. Using the interactive map, you click on a location of interest and a “baseball card” summary box (see below) appears on the screen with the income metrics and insights. You may then click on the report button in the baseball card and view a summary report for the location – that can be downloaded for additional analysis and distribution.


What are the core metrics for Real Income by ADP?

There are ten core metrics that are derived from the aggregation and anonymization of ADP payroll data:

  • Total Payroll = Total dollars for employer payroll for month
  • Gross Income = Monthly total dollars for employee for month
  • Percentile ranking = Ranking of total payroll or gross income of the location in State & USA
  • Spending Power = Net income for employee (gross income minus taxes and expenses)
  • % change = Net change versus previous month
  • Professions = Types of professions at location for the month
  • Employees Titles = Reported by employers
  • Industries = Types of industries at location for the month
  • Residence = Employee’s home domicile (aggregated and anonymized)
  • Employer Location = Address of employer (aggregated and anonymized)

How are the core metrics displayed?

Core metrics are displayed by two primary segments that compose residential and commercial real estate:

  1. Where people work and reside; their profession; income; and where they travel to work.
  2. How well businesses pay their employees; types of employees and their industries.

What are metrics reported and definitions for people?

The metrics and definitions reported for people at their place of residence (that have been aggregated and anonymized) include:

  • Gross Income = How much people are paid in total
  • Percentile ranking = Ranking of gross income of the location in State & USA
  • Spending Power = How many dollars people have to spend after taxes
  • % change = How much people’s income changes over time
  • Professions = What types of jobs people do
  • Employees Titles = Reported by employers
  • Industries = What industries do people work in
  • Employer Location = Where do people travel to go to work (aggregated and anonymized)

What are metrics reported and definitions for business?

The metrics and definitions reported for businesses at their place of work (that have been aggregated and anonymized) include:

  • Total Payroll = How well an employer pays their employee
  • Percentile ranking = Ranking of total payroll of the location in State & USA
  • % change = How does employee dollar payroll change over time
  • Professions = What job types of employees an employer hires
  • Employees Titles = Reported by employers
  • Industries = What industries are concentrated in the employer’s work location
  • Residence = From what locations employees come from (aggregated and anonymized)

How is a percentile ranking geographically defined?

It is the percentile ranking of a location within a metro, state or national level. It provides a value to the location in comparison to other locations within the geographical hierarchy.

Data Questions

How do you understand an employee’s job title?

This information is self-reported by employers to ADP. To ensure accuracy and consistency in the use of the data we leverage the Occupational Information Network or “O*NET” database. O*NET is the nation’s primary source of occupational information containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. In conjunction with O*NET we use additional classification and validation models to ensure accurate job matching.

How do you categorize or map companies to specific industries?

Companies are classified using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). It is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. The NAICS industry codes define companies based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged. NAICS 2 categories are used in the application to designate the economic sector of a specific company.

How broad is your coverage across industries?

ADP executes payroll for 1 in 6 US employees. Our data is in line with government population statistics; therefore there is increased coverage in the most populous states. Coverage may vary across certain industry sectors.

Can I identify the top 5 performing income locations in a geographic area?

Yes. Our interactive mapping tool allows you to identify the top 5 ranked locations for the location and category you choose by clicking on the Top 5 button located in the “baseball card” summary box (see below). Click on the “Top 5” button and the top locations are presented in rank order on the bottom of the page.

What is the “baseball card” box on the interactive map?

The “baseball card” box is a summary of information found on the top interactive mapping screen. It summarizes the data and insights for a particular location. Click on a location and the baseball card box comes into view. The baseball box contains the name, city, state, zip code and geographical hierarchy of the location; the income variable selected; the historical trend line; the number of people or businesses in the location; the percentile ranking of the location within the Metro, State and Country level; and the mix of professionals in the location via pie-chart.

Can I view historical trends?

Yes, the historical trend for the location is available by month from January 2014 up to the current period. It may be viewed on the interactive map in the baseball card box and in the report. Historical score data is also available via data extracts.

Do you have non-US data?

Currently we only have U.S. based data in the application. If your interests extend beyond the U.S., please contact

What other data sources do you use in your products?

ADP has relationships with other providers to compliment our data with additional real-estate information such as mortgage value and lien information. This data is not merged with ADP data and is not currently available in Real Income. However this additional data can be made available per request in the user interface to support actionable decision-making.

How can I print a report that summarizes the data and insights for a location?

Click on the “Report” button found on top of the baseball card box, to view a summary of income data and insights for the location; the percentile rankings by metro and state level; the number of people and businesses for the location; and historical performance income since January 2014. To print out a report, click on the pdf button on top of the page to download and print the report.

How many ways can I print out reports?

There are two ways to view and print reports for additional locations:

  1. From the income mapping page by clicking on the “Report” button.
  2. From the Report page by moving the cursor around the smaller, geographically focused map and clicking on the PDF button. As one moves the cursor around the interactive map on the report page and clicks on a location, one will notice how the data and insights re-populate instantaneously on the page. It is easy to download, save and print-out reports.

Can I purchase data and reports from Real Income by ADP?

Yes. Data extracts, reports and interactive mapping subscriptions are currently available. For information, please contact Darren Voges at or Ramsay Cole at

Haven’t found the answer to your question?

If you have any questions about Real Income by ADP, please email us at or please contact Darren Voges at or Ramsay Cole at