The Digital Neighbourhood – Geodemographics

The image above takes away the natural geography of the city and replaces it with classifications of neighbourhoods – known as Geodemographics it provides an overview of the social and economic characteristics of your local neighbourhood.

The use of geodemographics details a unique insight into the city in terms of its cultural and social structure. This information is widely used by commercial companies to decide how to target customers with products or services depending on a number of classifications and in terms of academia it provides a good insight into the social geography of the county. As such the Output Area Classification User Group has been formed with the mission of promoting the use of the National Statistics Output Area Classification (OAC) and area classifications.

The Group is focused around the well established methods and output of area classification, but OAC is distinctive as it is in the public domain – a basis for ‘open geodemographics’ – encouraging interchanges between sectors on issues ranging from the underlying statistical methodology to interactive graphics for effective presentation. This open approach is possible as a result of relatively recent changes in the policy on access to government information.


Using our labs Google Map Creator it is possible to view the Output Area classification of the UK. The Output Area classification (OAC) distills key results from the 2001 Census for the whole of the UK at a fine grain to indicate the character of local areas. It was created in a collaboration between the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the University of Leeds using the same well established methods as the related classifications of local authorities and wards.

Take a look at the Output Area Classification User Group for more info, especially the Quick Start Guide for all you need to know about Geodemographics.

Author Bio

Andy is Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London

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