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Demographics are the statistics, or details, of a target population’s defining characteristics. These typically include details such as age, gender, marital status, income and occupation, but may differ depending on the project and subject matter.

Demographics are generally the numbers that are used when applying quotas and/or weighting to a research project – for example you may know that your total population has the following demographics: 35% males and 65% females, so for a sample of 200 you would set a quota of 70 males and 130 females.

Demographics are often displayed at the start or end of a research analysis report to give a better understanding of who is included in the interviewed sample. The groups identified in the demographics can be used as cross tabs in the research data, and can help researchers better understand which groups within an overall sample are driving particular results and trends. For example, we might observe that 40% overall strongly disagree that a TV advertisement example they’ve just been shown was enjoyable to watch, when looking at the demographic cross breaks on this question we may notice that in the age demographics the 65+ group is significantly higher than the other age groups with 92% having chosen this option.

You can also create demographic profiles using the demographics after a research project has been completed, for example you may interview 1000 customers of a food outlet; the data you collect includes demographics such as: age, gender, income and life stage. The information will allow you to understand one or more key groups within the data for example your highest spending customers spend on average £40 per visit and are typically females aged 18-24, in their first five years of working life and are earning £20k-£25k.

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