Health of the Nation

(Jan 21, 2010)

Geodemographic profiles use addresses or postcodes to classify people into groups which are homogeneous with respect to variables like income, housing tenure and life stage.  The original purpose of geodemographic profiles was to improve targeting for marketing purposes.  There is no point in sending marketing material for hearing aids to young families, for example, and geodemographic profiles help make more efficient use of marketing resources.

Geodemographic profiles have been conclusively shown to be predictive of mortality in the United Kingdom, both by Richards (2008) and Madrigal et al (2009).  This is because geodemographic profiles are about education level, wealth and income (amongst…

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Tags: geodemographics, Acorn, Health Acorn

Island Life

(Nov 10, 2009)

We have written extensively about the use of postcodes and geodemographics for mortality modelling.  Two peer-reviewed papers recently presented to the Institute of Actuaries in London have testified to the power of geodemographics when applied to pensioner mortality: Richards (2008) and Madrigal et al (2009).

One feature of standard U.K. postcode profilers is that they typically exclude the crown dependencies, which are not legally part of the United Kingdom.  This makes it impossible to assign a geodemographic type, despite the fact that crown dependencies often have a postcode system which follows the same hierarchical structure as that of the UK.  Postcodes for crown dependencies are therefore…

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Tags: postcodes, geodemographics, Mosaic, Acorn, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man

Self-prophesying models

(Sep 2, 2008)

A phenomenon to watch for is that of the "self-prophesying model".  It occurs when a variable is too specific to the mortality experience of a reference portfolio to have wider application.  It has been claimed that the risk of this increases for smaller data sets and more lifestyle categories. In fact, the error is actually most likely where there is a small number of lives in each sub-group prior to grouping.  This is simply because the impact of random variation is largest in very small groups.

As an illustration of this, consider the apparently reasonable alternative of using postcode sector instead of a geodemographic type.  The postcode sector is basically everything except the last two characters…

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Tags: postcodes, profiling, geodemographics, Mosaic, Acorn, CAMEO, postcode sector

More on postcodes

(Aug 8, 2008)

Following my entry on postcode profiling, I have been asked two further questions. The first is whether you have to use Experian's Mosaic system. The answer is no, and there are other profiling systems which also work well in the United Kingdom. There are equivalent systems such as Acorn (from CACI Ltd) and CAMEO (from Eurodirect), and these work as well as Mosaic.

The second question was what do you do if you want to analyse non-UK data where there is no postcode. The answer is that you can still use a geodemographic profiler, but you need to use the whole address. Both Mosaic and CAMEO are available in countries outside the UK, including USA, Canada, the Netherlands, France and Germany (and many more). By using the…

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Tags: postcodes, profiling, geodemographics, Mosaic, Acorn, CAMEO

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