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Pokénomics Sees Regional Differences Among Players

If you’ve seen people walking around looking down at their phone, you’ve likely just witnessed someone playing Pokémon. Since its release on July 6, 2016, Pokémon Go! has exploded as a phone game application, becoming the most active mobile game ever in the United States.

In the original video game version of Pokémon games, players were placed in a fictional region with a mix of characters that helped Pokémon trainers become a Pokémon master. Advances in GPS and augmented reality software enable Pokémon Go! players to now catch Pokémon in their own neighborhoods!  

Pokémon Go! trainers (the players) advance in the game through a number of ways including catching Pokémon, battling at gyms, and hatching eggs that turn into Pokémon.

If Pokémon were real, trainers would be most successful in regions with the greatest concentration of people with the skills to help them become masters.

As a preferred provider of labor market data, Chmura Economics & Analytics set out to answer this question: “If Pokémon were real, which U.S. metropolitan areas would be best for Pokémon Trainers?”

We created the following five industries that have employees best equipped to support players of Pokémon:

  1. Trainers,
  2. Gyms,  
  3. Veterinarians (Healers or Pokémon Centers),
  4. Selected retail shops (or Poke Mart), and
  5. Teachers (Professors).


Each of these industries employ people with unique skills that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified as occupations. We used our JobsEQ® technology platform to identify the number of people employed in each industry, in each of the 381 metropolitan statistical areas in the nation.  (Click here if you are interested in the occupations that are grouped in each industry.)

Finally, we used the location quotient (LQ), a measure of the concentration of the occupations in each metro area relative to the nation, to put large and small metro areas on an even playing field.

If Pokémon were real, then trainers would be best served in Ithaca, New York! It had the highest LQ Score of all the metro areas that take into account the five Pokémon industries.

Dalton, Georgia ranked the lowest with a score of 56.5, primarily attributable to having the fewest concentration of gym leaders and Pokémon professors relative to the nation.

Click on the map below to see how your metro area fares.

Best 10 Metros for Pokémon Go! Worst 10 Metros for Pokémon Go!
Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore
Ithaca, NY 185.5 Dalton, GA 56.5
Hanford-Corcoran, CA 166.3 Elkhart-Goshen, IN 60.4
Corvallis, OR 165.8 Laredo, TX 62
Merced, CA 164.8 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 62.8
College Station-Bryan, TX 163.1 Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH 63.3
State College, PA 159.4 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 64.6
California-Lexington Park, MD 156.8 Dothan, AL 65.5
Ann Arbor, MI 156.3 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 65.8
Idaho Falls, ID 154.5 Macon, GA 66.6
Boulder, CO 153.9 Gadsden, AL 66.8
  • Largest Team Concentration by MSA
  • Team Valor
  • Team Instinct
  • Team Mystic

For those readers who don’t know much about Pokémon Go!, players advance partly by catching as many Pokémon as possible. Once you get to level 5, you can join a gym where you train the Pokémon and they battle each other. And, importantly, you can join a team with your friends to battle other teams thereby moving closer to “master” status.

The teams are Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), and Valor (red).

Based on the team a particular trainer chooses, a metro area other than Ithaca may be preferred.

Team Instinct doesn’t just go with their gut; they also put a lot of trust in their Pokémon’s instincts. To be recognized as a formidable Pokémon trainer, they need to be prepared for the consequences of following their instincts.

The Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California metro area has the highest concentration of occupations best suited for Pokémon Centers and items to help in those crucial (and instinctive) moments of battle.

Team Instinct
Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA169.3
Boulder, CO 157.5
Sherman-Denison, TX 138.9
Columbus, IN 138.2
Austin-Round Rock, TX136.1

Team Mystic is known for its calculation and focus on Pokémon evolution. For these lovers of wisdom, we focused on areas that have a significant concentration of occupations that would be perfect for Pokémon professors. And the professionals in California-Lexington Park, Maryland metro area can help Team Mystic learn about the world and the Pokémon within it, which would be crucial to crafting their mysterious strategies.

Team Mystic
Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore
California-Lexington Park, MD 296.7
Ann Arbor, MI 282.4
State College, PA 266.3
Ames, IA 257.0
College Station-Bryan, TX 246.2

Team Valor is focused on researching ways to enhance Pokémon’s natural power. They go by the original Pokémon theme song: “…to be the very best, like no one ever was.” And, since training Pokémon is their cause, the best way to do that is by training and pitting them against fellow Pokémon trainers and gym leaders. Which, from our research, is best done in the Hanford-Corcoran, California metro area. Since Team Valor is filled with those who “…will travel across the land…” If Pokémon were real, a lot of Team Valor members would probably move to Hanford-Corcoran.

Team Valor
Metropolitan Statistical AreaScore
Hanford-Corcoran, CA 325.0
Merced, CA 306.2
Visalia-Porterville, CA 278.6
Madera, CA 222.9
Ithaca, NY 211.9

Conclusions

Pokémon Go! is a very popular game. It’s an innovative application of GPS and augmented reality software.  But what it also reveals is that regions matter when it comes to leveraging skills and occupations to achieve master status. 

Applying this to the real world we live in, some regions stand out as the best investments for success by businesses and workers based on their concentration of real (or imagined) human capital.

Research support for this post was provided by Brent Keath.

Definitions

Location Quotient

The location quotient (LQ) is a measure of the relative size of an occupation in a region compared to the average size in the nation. An LQ of 1.0 indicates an occupation is the same size in the region as is average in the nation; an LQ of 2.0 means the occupation is twice as large in the region compared to average; and an LQ of 1/2 indicates the occupation is half as large regionally as average in the nation.

The location quotient for an occupation identifies the degree to which the occupation specializes in or is concentrated in a region. With an LQ of 1.25 or higher, a region is considered to possess a competitive advantage in that occupation. Firms in a specific occupation often aggregate because of some competitive advantage found in an area such as geographic location, natural resources, and human resources. (A region can have a competitive advantage in a growing or declining occupation.)

By formula, the location quotient is the ratio of an occupation’s share of total employment within the region to the same occupation’s share of employment in the nation:

Location Quotient FormulaLocation Quotient Formula


To get the final scores, we multiplied the location quotient by 100.

Occupations by Industry
Pokemon Centers
Veterinarians (29-1131)
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians (29-2056)
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers (31-9096)
Pokemon Gyms
Coaches and Scouts (27-2022)
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service (33-9092)
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors (39-9031)
Exercise Physiologists (29-1128)
Athletic Trainers (29-9091)
Pokemon Professors
Animal Scientists (19-1011)
Food Scientists and Technologists (19-1012)
Soil and Plant Scientists (19-1013)
Biochemists and Biophysicists (19-1021)
Microbiologists (19-1022)
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists (19-1023)
Biological Scientists, All Other (19-1029)
Conservation Scientists (19-1031)
Foresters (19-1032)
Astronomers (19-2011)
Physicists (19-2012)
Atmospheric and Space Scientists (19-2021)
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health (19-2041)
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers (19-2042)
Hydrologists (19-2043)
Anthropologists and Archeologists (19-3091)
Geographers (19-3092)
Historians (19-3093)
Agricultural and Food Science Technicians (19-4011)
Biological Technicians (19-4021)
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health (19-4091)
Forest and Conservation Technicians (19-4093)
Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other (19-4099)
Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1041)
Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1042)
Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1043)
Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1051)
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1053)
Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1061)
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1064)
Self-Enrichment Education Teachers (25-3021)
Curators (25-4012)
Museum Technicians and Conservators (25-4013)
Pokemon Shops/Marts
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products (41-4011)
Sales Engineers (41-9031)
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks (43-5061)
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products (13-1021)
Bicycle Repairers (49-3091)
Pokemon Trainers
Hunter and Trappers (45-3021)
Animal Trainers (39-2011)
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers (39-2021)
Tour Guides and Escorts (39-7011)
Animal Breeders (45-2021)
Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals (45-2093)
Fishers and Related Fishing Workers (45-3011)
Forest and Conservation Workers (45-4011)
Occupations by Teams
Team Instinct
Veterinarians (29-1131)
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians (29-2056)
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers (31-9096)
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products (41-4011)
Sales Engineers (41-9031)
Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks (43-5061)
Buyers and Purchasing Agents, Farm Products (13-1021)
Bicycle Repairers (49-3091)
Team Mystic
Animal Scientists (19-1011)
Food Scientists and Technologists (19-1012)
Soil and Plant Scientists (19-1013)
Biochemists and Biophysicists (19-1021)
Microbiologists (19-1022)
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists (19-1023)
Biological Scientists, All Other (19-1029)
Conservation Scientists (19-1031)
Foresters (19-1032)
Astronomers (19-2011)
Physicists (19-2012)
Atmospheric and Space Scientists (19-2021)
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health (19-2041)
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers (19-2042)
Hydrologists (19-2043)
Anthropologists and Archeologists (19-3091)
Geographers (19-3092)
Historians (19-3093)
Agricultural and Food Science Technicians (19-4011)
Biological Technicians (19-4021)
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health (19-4091)
Forest and Conservation Technicians (19-4093)
Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians, All Other (19-4099)
Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1041)
Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1042)
Forestry and Conservation Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1043)
Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1051)
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1053)
Anthropology and Archeology Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1061)
Geography Teachers, Postsecondary (25-1064)
Self-Enrichment Education Teachers (25-3021)
Curators (25-4012)
Museum Technicians and Conservators (25-4013)
Team Valor
Coaches and Scouts (27-2022)
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service (33-9092)
Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors (39-9031)
Exercise Physiologists (29-1128)
Athletic Trainers (29-9091)
Hunter and Trappers (45-3021)
Animal Trainers (39-2011)
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers (39-2021)
Tour Guides and Escorts (39-7011)
Animal Breeders (45-2021)
Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals (45-2093)
Fishers and Related Fishing Workers (45-3011)
Forest and Conservation Workers (45-4011)

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