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date: 20 January 2021


A Dictionary of Human Geography

Alisdair Rogers,

Noel Castree,

Rob Kitchin

The profiling of people living in different areas usually for the purposes of marketing, service location planning, and political campaigning. Different kinds of people live in different kinds of areas. Geodemographics links social and territorial data to produce segmented categories of space in order to identify the kinds of people who live in particular places, and their propensity to consume particular goods and services. By combining population, social, economic, and industry data (customer profiling) and analysing them with sophisticated statistical clustering algorithms, it is possible to produce profiled areas at fine spatial scales (such as postcodes). Geodemographics is now a large industry because it inform firms where best to locate their stores to maximize profit, and in which neighbourhoods they should concentrate their marketing efforts, thus saving advertising revenue and generating business. The practice of geodemographics has been criticized because it reductively collapses the infinite complexity of human feelings, desires, motives, emotions, and places into a simple exploitable model. Moreover, it inherently ranks people based on their supposed ‘worth’ to businesses. This ranking is called software sorting and produces discriminatory practices such as the ... ...

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