Since the surrender of Cornwallis at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1781, those who live in different American regions have been debating what area is the most, well, American. Fortunately,these days, those debates tend to be good-natured and focus on things like food and football. However, when it comes to looking for a place to test market a new consumer product intended for a national market, finding metro areas that are “most American” actually serves an economic purpose.

Microcosm cities’ role as test markets

For consumer marketers, it is a standard practice to test a product in a market area that serves as a microcosm of the type of audience you will be targeting when you scale the product nationally. In theory, that enables the marketer to see if the product and approach to marketing it works without going to the expense of introducing the product nationally. So, the theory goes, if you have a consumer product intended for a national market one day, test it first in a market that is a microcosm of the nation as a whole.

What American cities are most like the entire country?

In trying to determine which of the largest 366 U.S. metropolitan areas serve as the best (or worst) microcosms of the entire country, the price-comparison website examined 26 key metrics, including factors like age, gender and income as well as household makeup and housing tenure.

According to their research, here is a listing of the top 25 cities where you’ll find a local population that reflects the characteristics of the nation as a whole. In other words, if you have a product intended for a mass audience one day, these are good places to start testing it in a “micro” sort of way:


  1. Nashville, TN
  2. Cincinnati, OH
  3. Indianapolis, IN
  4. Charleston, SC
  5. Jacksonville, FL
  6. Greenville, SC
  7. Oklahoma, OK
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Albuquerque, NM
  10. Winston, NC
  11. Birmingham, AL
  12. Greensboro, NC
  13. Orlando, FL
  14. Charlotte, NC
  15. Columbus, OH
  16. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY
  17. Lexington, KY
  18. Tulsa, OK
  19. Baton Rouge, LA
  20. Columbia, SC
  21. St. Louis, MO
  22. New Orleans, LA
  23. Kansas City, MO
  24. Tucson, AZ
  25. Little Rock, AR


Where does your city rank?

You can find the complete list of microcosm cities on the website. Here is an interactive map they’ve created, also (hover over the dot that will appear in a magnifying glass):


Disclosure comes to you from Nashville. That fact likely increases our bias towards believing our hometown not only is a great test market city, but is a great place to live and work, as well.

(Featured photo: Jim Nix via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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