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Population Characteristics

The Importance of Population Characteristics

As well as knowing how many people live in an area (the population), there are times when it is important to also understand something about those people (their characteristics). Using and understanding population characteristics allow us to make more informed decisions and communicate better, which is essential when it comes to addressing the specific needs of the population.

Population characteristics can range from household size to qualification levels, from disability to age profile. A greater level of understanding of these characteristics not only improves how we make decisions, but also allows us to communicate more effectively with the population.

Understanding Population Characteristics

The Census

The Lincolnshire Research Observatory will help you better understand the characteristics of the population. The Census of Population is the best source of characteristic information as it provides detailed, low level information and measures the whole population across a wide range of statistics, including: Demography, Employment, Health & Care, Households & Living Conditions, Living Arrangements, Nationality & Ethnicity, Skills & Qualifications, and Transport.

Demographic Classifications

Another way to understand population characteristics is through demographic segmentation. This technique takes sources of data such as the census, administrative data, and commercially available data (such as information from store cards) to create a model of the population. From this model, the population is classified into groups where they are likely to have similar characteristics. Although the census is the basis of this modelled data, it is supplemented by data from other sources between censuses and can provide a more up to date picture.

Mosaic Public Sector

Produced by Experian, Mosaic Public Sector is the demographic segmentation system currently used by Lincolnshire County Council. Mosaic is a classification system which describes households in terms of their typical demographics, their behaviours, their lifestyle characteristics, and their attitudes. It is important to remember that Mosaic is a probability tool, although significant effort has been made to ensure that the result is statistically robust and reflects reality on the ground. However, it is important to apply some caution when using modelled data, and ideally, it should only be used to supplement other evidence to inform decisions.

Mosaic can be used to better understand your service users or target areas, resulting in efficient and effective services. There are a number of tools that can be used to get the most out of Mosaic which can be seen below.

Understand The Characteristics of Your Customers

This is the best means of identifying gaps/understanding your service users. The output will be in the form of a profile, outlining the characteristics of your customer and how this compares against the profile of Lincolnshire and England.

Profiles of Specific Areas

This is the best means of see how the characteristics of your area compares to Lincolnshire. Use the area profile at the bottom of the page to identify an area from the different types available. The breakdown in proportion of population for each mosaic group will be displayed along with a Lincolnshire comparator. This can be downloaded into an excel file if required.

Area Profiles