The diversity of diversity: a critique of geodemographic classification

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Abstract

We report on an examination of two geodemographic classification systems based on an analysis of 1991 census variables, for districts, wards and census enumeration districts in England and Wales. We also review the associations among the variables examined, the extent to which certain underlying components might account for the overall variation and the types of areas that are least typical. The results show that small areas are different in many different ways; a few dimensions cannot provide enough information to describe an area fully. Diversity on most scales remains even after geodemographicclassification, emphasizing the advantages of task-specific classification.

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