The Globe and Mail recently ran a story on the kind of data that we talk about when we talk about PCensus – locational data that provides insight into people who live in a certain area. While PCensus is pretty comprehensive with demographic and spending data, there are even more detailed layers out there that really try to summarize segments of the population. They take the kind of data that exists in PCensus (along with other things) and build descriptive profiles of the population in a specific area. They call it segmentation.
The Globe article specifically discusses the segmentation system created by Environics. Environics is releasing a revamped version of their system next week, so the Globe took the opportunity to talk about it and the whole field. It’s interesting reading, as it’s a more sophisticated version of what we try to help people with here with PCensus – indeed, the same data is available for PCensus, but it’s really expensive and even the company that makes the software suggested that it’s way more than we need.
You can get a taste of the Environics data by using their PRIZM5 lookup linked from the article. You type in a postal code and can learn about how Environics has segmented your neighbourhood. I tried mine (click on the image above) – it wasn’t at all accurate about me, but it’s intended to profile entire neighbourhoods and not every single person that lives there. So was it an accurate profile of my neighbourhood overall? Kind of. It seems accurate in some ways, less about others. The profiles are quite descriptive, and I don’t see my neighbourhood in the
Try it for yourself and see what you think. And check out PCensus to draw your own conclusions.