February 18, 2010

Mapping Escorts, or what's up with Plano, TX?

The role of sex in the American economy (let alone, culture) is complex and exceedingly contradictory. While sex is used extensively to sell to the consumer-citizens of the U.S. (see any TV ad) it is also the focus of efforts to control it (who is allowed to marry) and regulate its sale (the illegal status of prostitution in most of the U.S.).

This latter issue is particularly convoluted as leafing through the back of many a local newspaper or postings at Craigslist (or other websites) will aptly demonstrate. There is any number of "escort services" for sale, with the majority presumably being a thinly veiled offer to exchange sex for money.

The wide spread availability of these listings led to today's maps which visualize the distribution of directory listings for "escorts" within Google Maps. The map of the absolute numbers of escorts identifies major urban centers as key sites for this activity, with Denver, Dallas, New York and Miami representing particularly large clusters.

Absolute Number of Escorts Listed in the Google Maps Directory


It is only through the analysis of the relative number of escort listings (see the map below) that more surprising patterns emerge.

Relative Number of Escorts Listed in the Google Maps Directory


Most large urban centers are still present although some such as Detroit or Salt Lake City are very small. Additionally, smaller cities such as Tampa, FL, Knoxville, TN, Tulsa, OK and Lexington, KY appear to have a much higher number of escort listings than their mere size would suggest. As Lexington is the U.S. home for floatingsheep.org we are somewhat nonplussed at this result. Who knew? Particularly since "Sin City" aka Las Vegas is completely absent in this map. Not really the category that Lexington's city council has been trying to get the city highly ranked on.

But the clear front-runner in this category is Texas in general and Dallas in particular which appears as the most specialized metropolitan area in escort services in the U.S. The nearby city/suburb of Plano contains the highest rank which leads inexorably to our final observation (apologies in advance) that…

...Debbie does Dallas, but prefers Plano.

24 comments:

  1. It's "Debbie" who did Dallas... Great post but, and a fascinating site.

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  2. Thanks. You learn something new every day. And who are we to argue with Zardoz!

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  3. don't the have the bunny ranch in Dallas? maybe that's why haha.

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  4. Did you check to see whether "escorts" meant what you think it meant? For example, "escorts" can also be a trucking escort service for hauling large loads over the interstate.

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  5. Nice try Noman. Unfortunately Zardoz is right. We are plagued with them here in the DFW Metroplex.

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  6. Interesting post. I have always wondered about these ads. Being in Southern California I see many that refer to wanting a good time and also massage parlors that have to mention they have beautiful asian, hispanic, etc. masseuses. Check out my blog if you get the chance.

    http://raphe1969.blogspot.com/

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  7. These "escorts" are out there for a reason. People want them... people are willing to pay for their services.
    So what does this say more about: The people advertising in this area, or the people living in it?

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  8. Great post, Matthew. The data is absolutely fascinating. Have you tried mapping the number of map directory listings for escorts per 1000 people? I think an analysis of escorts per unit of population may provide an interesting view of escort popularity in an area. 500 escorts in Chicago would less significant (in terms of popularity) than 500 escorts in Raleigh NC. Just a thought

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  9. Very interesting because Plano is a very wealthy, uptight suburb. I wonder if there's some correlation between these listings (as opposed to, say, word-of-mouth) in places where sex is more of a taboo.

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  10. i think the escorts are just going after rich dudes who want to cheat on their wives. i'd imagine that's a pretty good demographic for an escort service.

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  11. hey its a nice interesting blog.... however... you are right...whom do we complain??? the people who are advertising or the people living....

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  12. Maybe escort listings are needed more where 'morality' and 'prohibitions' rule?

    just for argument sake :-), I am not American so I just have to rely on your intelligence in this regard. Very interesting topic though!

    first time here while browsing the blogs of notes, nice to read you!

    ciao
    A.

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  13. I would surmise that this has to do with the fact that small or medium sized cities have serious unemployment numbers right now compared to larger cities such as DC or NYC.

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  14. Don't forget that in large urban centers there are lots more people just giving it away. Quick hook ups can be had with minimal effort in cities. Once the base group size gets smaller, the cost/benefit ratio favors just hiring a pro and moving on.

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  15. Hmmmm Isn't Plano where the people who left the Episcopal Church live? Just asking. (After all if they can use that kind of reportage on fox, why can't I?)

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  16. Perhaps Lexington should keep this in mind as it prepares to accommodate and entertain all the Equestrian Games visitors!

    Many years ago, my cousin's phone number was incorrectly listed as that for (IIRC) Sweet Treats escort service. He wasn't too happy about that...

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  17. Google maps is getting better and better for finding any kind of service around the world but they are still playing catch up. I'd suggest using a site like http://www.naughtyreviews.com to get a more accurate impression of escorts by geographic location.

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  18. Fascinating stuff here. I especially like that post and the ones on guns in the US. Very interesting use of technology. I mean, for the layman/woman, this won't serve much, except to maybe build a broad overview of a specific topic instead of showing up at a cocktail and saying stuff like "83% of all under-aged girls using drugs in NYC will end up working as escorts", but it's cool to see this put to use.

    Would be nice if you'd provide some interface to generate those graphs!

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  19. Plano is one of the richest areas in TX and has a large concentration of corporate headquarters. So lots of hotels and businessmen traffic. Maybe that explains it?

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  20. Hannah E is right people like this that's why escort successful

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  22. Escorts Camden are working there as it is a very reach area. Escorts do not like working in Camden Town as it is a poor area and the profits are law.

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  24. Very interesting site. Spent the last couple hours perusing the archives. This survey is one in which I might offer a suggestion not already mentioned by other comments:

    Escorts travel. Dallas in particular is a very solid nexus to reach any one of several major cities throughout the region. One thing you could do to tweak the data would be to compile and cross-reference escort phone listings to see whether they are actually stationed in Plano permanently, or whether it just happened to be where many had previously advertised but actually weren't located at the time (many escorts are very high-class, requiring appointments days in advance; this gives them a reliable client base and the opportunity to travel to expand their marketable range). Also, it might be worth noting that many clients are businessmen and businesswomen who travel to another regional city; Again, as a major regional hub, Dallas is a city with a high number of business travelers. As to why specifically Plano I can only speculate, but I'd wager that, as another comment mentioned, it's an upper-class neighborhood, so it's chosen as a way to minimize risks associated with a potentially-illegal "transaction."

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