Where they live

UK geodemographic systems in 1992

Peter Sleight

A comparatively young but profoundly important discipline, geodemographics first emerged in 1979. Intended mainly for lay users, this paper lucidly outlines the nature of the beast: summarising how the industry has evolved, and providing a thorough overview of the main UK proprietary systems, their sources and methodologies. Marketing and media applications are described, and the impact of 'Lifestyle Lists' and other non-census data sources is examined. After discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the discipline, the author reviews some technical aspects - cell sizes and statistical validity, levels of aggregation, the now extensive availability of cross-tabulation with syndicated and other surveys, and the provision of sampling frames. He concludes with a look at current and likely future events.