What Are Demographics?

What Are Demographics?

What Are Demographics?

The demographic is the data concerning a certain working group or population. The demographic data is used to identify what type of people live or work in a respective area.

The data is collected through simple surveys and questionnaires. These are usually done when you are new to a working role.

They are also collected during the application process. This gives a company an idea of the types of people that are applying for the role on offer.

This analysis is critical for a corporation, because it can help them target the right personnel for employment.

It can also highlight gaps in diversity and inclusivity. A company may unconsciously choose a certain race over another for employment. Demographic data can help highlight this.

The data consists of many factors, including race, gender, age, marital status and level of education. These will be discussed in greater detail below.

You will also learn why it is beneficial to analyze demographic data and why you may want to implement this at your place of work.

Benefits of Demographic Analysis

Here are reasons why it is beneficial to conduct demographic analysis for your company or place of work.

Understanding Personnel

Conducting demographic analysis can help you understand your workforce better.

Demographic statistics provide insight into where your workforce resides, how they get to work, if they are married or single and even if they rent or have a mortgage.

This data can help you be a better employer, as you will be more considerate of your workforce’s circumstances.

Failing to understand these little details can alienate your workforce. If you show a willingness to know about the small details of a person's life, then it’s likely they will be more receptive to you as a manager.

Understanding Individuality

Demographics give the opportunity for someone to express any individual traits.

If they do not feel they fit into binary categories, then they can communicate this through demographic data.

Recognizing this in the data helps people feel like individuals. This can apply to sexuality, gender and many other demographic traits.

Strategic Employment

If you recognize an unconscious bias in a recent employment drive, demographic data can help you rectify this.

For example, you can be working for a customer service agency, and you have been asked to focus on candidates who are agreeable and polite.

Because of these requests, you have only focused on female candidates and have rejected men simply based on their gender.

On the surface it may not look like a problem, but diversity is needed in the workplace for a contrast in working abilities and personalities.

If an employer focuses on one type of personality or one quality, they may risk hiring from a restricted demographic pool.

Paying attention to demographic statistics can help you diversify your workforce.

Marketing Plans

If you are wanting to know who is interested in your product and what type of people are buying your services, then demographics will make this clear.

You may have a product that appeals to a certain age range or is sold only in one area of the country.

If you want to optimize sales, you will concentrate on these demographics and try to focus on these over others.

However, if you want to expand your trade to different demographics, you will market your products or services to target the demographic you want to appeal to.

Comparison With Other Companies and Corporations

Most big companies and corporations use demographic data to dictate their marketing plans and their employment strategy.

You can compare your demographics to other companies to understand how you can optimize your data.

Comparing data also helps with outlining what your company does to increase diversity in the workplace.

These aims are often included in a company’s working values. Compare how they use demographic statistics to show how they are meeting their own guidelines.

Examples of Demographics

Marital Status

A person’s marital status will dictate who they live with and who they have a partnership with. It may also point towards the likelihood of them having children or if they are planning on having children.

This is important, because it can point towards the likelihood of maternity or paternity leave.

Marital status is also a determining factor in how settled someone’s life is. If someone is married, it is more likely that they have or are looking for permanent residency in an area.

Some of the categories of marriage include:

  • Single
  • Married
  • Separated
  • Divorced
  • Widowed


The age of an employee or your target market will determine so many factors. Some of these include:

  • The level of experience they can be expected to have
  • Their education level
  • The possibility of retirement or accessibility of a pension
  • The expected term or length of employment

Discrimination based on age is often done unconsciously. For example, when an employment agency asks for at least 10 years of experience, they are ultimately discriminating against young people.

This is not done on purpose, but it can be detrimental to the diversity of a workforce. With no young or old people in a workplace, you lose the perspective of a certain generation.

If you are looking to market a product or service to this demographic, pay attention to what they buy and their consumer patterns.

Young people are more likely to approach products online, while older individuals may be more likely to buy a product in person.

Race and Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity refer primarily to the skin color and the ethnic origin of an individual.

The categories of race and ethnicity can be broken down into very specific areas.

If you are conducting demographic research and your options are limited in this area, then you limit the insight into a potential target market and your workforce.

For instance, if you just have broad options like Asian or African on your demographic data, you restrict the choices of an individual.

Someone of Asian origin may be from the Middle East or Southeast Asia. The diversity between these two ethnicities is large.

Ensure that you include specific options when conducting demographic research on race and ethnicity.


The nationality is where an individual was born or which country they have resided in for most of their life.

It is very different to race and ethnicity. Someone may have been born in Canada but have parents who migrated from East Africa.

A person’s nationality determines their entitlements to citizenship and their rights to work.

If you are doing market research, ensure that you always separate out nationality from race and ethnicity.

Nationality can help you understand where a product is most popular and where it is consumed more.

Income and Class

A person’s income usually points towards their working history and the jobs they have had access to.

It can also point towards the likelihood of them renting or owning property.

Discrimination on the grounds of class is also another unconscious bias issue.

You may work in a literary agency in New York or Paris and the requirements for a position of employment being advertised include five years of experience in internships in these cities.

For those living outside of big and expensive metropolitan areas, the likelihood of someone having this type of experience is very low.

Income and class can point towards who is buying a product and where it is popular.

If you are wanting to market a product to people with wealthy backgrounds, you will include income questions on your demographic surveys and market research.

Without having this data to hand, you will struggle to understand the consumer habits of individuals who are in a high-income bracket.

What Are Demographics: Definition, Uses, Examples and Why it Matters
What Are Demographics: Definition, Uses, Examples and Why it Matters

Family Size

The family size refers to how many children or people rely on the financial support of an individual.

If someone has no children or is not caring for anyone, it is more likely that they will accept temporary contracts and internships.

On the other hand, if someone has a large family, they will need a more substantial contract and wage, so that they can offer support to the people who rely upon them.

Demographic questions on family size can be extended to include more data on individual members of the family.

You can include questions on children’s ages, their stage of education, where they live and if they have any special requirements or physical disabilities.


Religious classifications can be extended to include more specific identifications. Someone who is a practicing Christian may be a Catholic, a Mormon or a Quaker.

It is also essential that you include options where people can include a certain faith that is not a common denomination.

You must also include options where people can state they practice no religion or that they would prefer not to say what their religion is.

Demographics on religion can be sensitive, so ensure that you include lots of options when conducting your market research or company research.


The gender demographic allows an individual to express if they are male, female or non-binary.

Depending on how specific you want your demographics to be, you can extend the non-binary out to include trans and queer identities.

It is also a good idea to leave an open section so someone can express the gender that they wish to be referred to as.

Some demographic questionnaires separate out gender and biological sex. Questions that ask which gender you were assigned at birth achieve this.

Political Affiliation

The political preferences of a person may also help you understand where they may reside, which state they grew up in and their age.

A person’s politics may also be quite complicated, and they may not fit into the category of Republican or Democrat.

In this case, it's important that you give them extra options to express any nuances they may have.

They may also have a political affiliation connected to their religion or their state. Give room for them to express this.

Sometimes a political affiliation is a sensitive matter. Some people would rather keep their politics to themselves. Include options to accommodate this.

Criminal Record

Depending on the job you are advertising or the service you are selling, you need to know if an individual has a criminal record.

It is important to understand someone’s convictions before you discriminate against them, but you must know the extent of their record.

If you are looking to employ an individual who will work with children or vulnerable people, then it is essential that you gather the specifics of their criminal record.


The level of someone’s education will likely determine their interests, their job prospects and the type of job they are looking for.

Education usually refers to a person’s institutional background and the level of it.

If a person has attended college or university, then this will be filed under either undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

This is not a demographic to determine someone’s intelligence. Institutional opportunities may be dependent upon someone’s access to funding.

As well as this, someone may have dropped out of institutional education before graduation for unknown reasons.

Resident Status

Resident status determines if a person lives at home, if they rent, if they are paying a mortgage or if they are homeless.

Someone’s residential status will also point towards their level of income and the amount of tax they may pay. It also highlights where they might live and in what area.

If someone has a mortgage, it is likely that they are more affluent and can therefore afford to consume more.

It can also point towards family status as well. If someone is renting a temporary property, then it is more likely that they are single without any family.

However, with the precarious nature of the property market, this is not always the case.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best way is by talking to individuals personally. They will tell more specific intricacies than you can gather from a questionnaire.

However, if you are wanting to get a general outlook of the demographics, then surveys and questionnaires are the best way of doing this.

For market research, you can attach these to a product or service after the point of purchase. For employment, you can attach them to the application process.

It is easier to collect the data online as well, as most people can access this in their own time. You do not have to worry about collecting data sheets in this case.

Demographic data is simple to analyze, as what you are looking for is percentiles and general statistics, rather than opinions or expressions.

Counting the data within the separate demographic categories and then working out the percentage in each category is the best way of doing this.

For instance, if 100 people buy a product and you want to understand where they come from, you can run a demographic survey asking about their nationality and the state they reside in.

You can be more specific if you want and ask about their residential status as well.

From the results you may find that most of the people who are buying products are tourists. Twenty-six are American, 48 are European and 26 may be from Mexico.

In this case, you will use the data you have received to market your products better to tourists.

Filling out any demographic data or surveys is the choice of the individual. You can ask someone to do so, but you cannot force them to.

If they refuse, then this is their choice. However, you can incentivize people to take a demographic survey.

If it is in employment, you can offer them an intrinsic reward. If it is for your business, you can offer them some form of discount if they contribute to your demographic research.

You can certainly over-analyze demographic data. With so many different categories, you can spend too much time picking the data apart.

This may detract you from getting on with the business at hand. It is also important to note that with more demographic categories, the chances of seeing trends in your data will decrease.

If you were to include all the demographic categories above in a survey, the likelihood of finding a group of people with the same answers will be very low.

The best way to use demographic data is to use it strategically.

With the data you receive from questionnaires and surveys, focus only on a few categories rather than all of them.

If you are selling a new dietary supplement, categories like marital status and political affiliation are likely not as important as age, gender and income.

From these categories, find the consumer trends. Deduce who is buying the product and how much they are buying.

From this analysis, you can optimize your sales. Concentrate on the demographics that matter to your product or service.

Final Thoughts

Today, demographics are being used in business and in employment more than ever. They are an essential block of understanding who is buying what and who is working where.

They are the stepping stone to understanding individuals as well. Without demographics, people may not get the opportunity to express certain parts of their identity.

If you are running a business, you will need demographics to sell to the right people and hire the right personnel. Without them, you will be losing out.

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