When will research sample criteria reflect the realities of 21st Century Britain?

7th Feb, 2014

We have had a busy week here at Trajectory, kicking off some new projects and putting finishing touches to others. This has involved analysis of secondary data sets from a variety of commercial, public and academic sources. This work has not been without its frustrations.

It is striking how blunt, and unreflective of modern Britain, so much published data really is. Take age breaks, for example. Is it really acceptable in this day and age to have breaks that run from 16-24, 25-34 and so on, but then end at 55+?

Looking at the latest census data there are currently 18,735,000 people aged over 55 in the UK, or 29% of the population. In ten years’ time this figure will have risen to 33%. Meanwhile 16-24 year olds currently account for 12% of the population, falling to 10% in ten years.

The over 55s include people at the peak of their earning potential at one extreme and those most dependent on social care at the other. Whether we are researching for social, communications or marketing purposes, we surely need more finely calibrated information?

Perhaps when we have cracked that one, we can have a go at providing samples that properly reflect the increasing ethnic diversity of the UK?