Is anybody aware of any commercial products that are equivalent to ESRI Community Analyst? We are in need of a solution that provides similar products/reports dealing with demographics for a variety of areas.

Community Analyst is essentially what we want but the cost structure leaves little to be desired, pay $500 if you have an ArcGIS Online paid subscription...but just about everybody gets a free ArcGIS Online subscription with their licenses on maintenance.

So our problem is we don't have a need to buy ArcGIS Online for $2,500, but if we don't then Community Analyst is $4,000.

  • Perhaps this is a good time to go into detail about what type of information you are looking for. recurvata is correct about the nature of zip code data; however, the assertion that census data has 'incomprehensible' field names and is difficult to use is a subjective opinion that I disagree with. The structure of Census data does have an intimidating learning curve but it is very well formatted, and if you are up for it, learning to use the raw Census data will allow you to free yourself from relying on ESRI Community Analyst if you are looking for neighborhood statistics.
    – Kotebiya
    Nov 6, 2014 at 16:10
  • Just by means of an update, the pricing structure of ArcGIS Online has changed, so there is no longer a minimum number of users per order (previously the minimum number of users was 5). You can simply buy one ArcGIS Online user, along with Community Analyst.
    – MKelly
    Nov 16, 2017 at 15:45

2 Answers 2


Not exactly the same thing (nothing pre-configured) but most or much of this data (for the US) is in census data for free. You'd have to extract it and configure it yourself, although in some cases that's done for you, i.e. American Community Survey and the like. I also see on their home page that the census has mobile apps.

Not the easiest site to navigate, and data is usually in tables that you have to join to your spatial data, but hey, it's there.

Edit: The census data often has nearly incomprehensible field names to anyone outside of the census. You might also have to download explanations of them, which are also on the census site. Most demographic files have way more fields than you need, but that's up to you. You may want to put definition queries on files once you've joined data, or like most articles/tutorials I've seen, just delete unwanted fields. It's also categorized by census blocks, tracts. etc., so if you want zip code data (ha ha! in my experience), you'll have to do additional apportionment work.

There is no good free or, in my experience, reliable zip code data. At places I've worked, the post office asked us where zip code boundaries were. My best understanding is that the post office uses point addresses to determine zip code, not polygons. So if a new polygon feature is added, like a subdivision, points for lots, addresses and the like have no corresponding polygon zip code layer to give them that attribute

The census does have shapefiles of what they use for zipcode boundaries (google Tiger shapefiles), but there's zero guarantee they correspond to actual zip code boundaries. But, may be good enough for you.

I know I've gone way over the answer to this question, but hopefully this will help others.


Full Disclosure: I work for Caliper Corporation. I wouldn't normally try to sell anybody a product here, but this is a good fit.

The Maptitude GIS Product from Caliper offers many of the tools and datasets that Community Analyst offers. Maptitude comes with the Census datasets included, including Zip code boundaries. The Maptitude website shows a list of the included datasets and also includes information on how the zip code boundaries are derived.

Here are two links to the census data included with a license:



The software offers analysis and reporting capabilities and includes an SDK.

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