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Research project

Census 2022: Transforming Small Area Socio-Economic Indicators through ‘Big Data’

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Project overview

Census 2022: Transforming Small Area Socio-Economic Indicators through ‘Big Data’ was a project funded by the ESRC Transformative Research 2012/2013.

The possible demise of the decennial UK Census presents social, policy and commercial researchers with both a challenge and an opportunity:

- The challenge is to transform ‘census-taking’ by finding robust alternative methods for creating traditional (‘census-like’ indicators) small area socio-economic indicators over time.

- The opportunity is to transform the very nature of the socio-economic indicators themselves (‘census-plus’ indicators) using new analytic methods applied to new geo-coded datasets and to radically accelerate the temporal cycle from decennial to annual or sub-annual production. If we are no longer to be restricted to what can be asked in a Census, then what kinds of social indicators might we want or be able to produce, how regularly and what forms of novel social, policy and commercial analysis might this then underpin?

This project addressed these questions using existing large-scale geo-coded transactional datasets held at the University of Southampton.


Lead researcher

Doctor Ben Anderson

Principal Research Fellow

Research interests

  • ‘big’ data-driven analysis of habitual energy and water consumption
  • the impacts of interventions or natural socio-technical change on patterns of demand

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Other researchers

Professor Patrick James

Professor of Energy and Buildings

Research interests

  • His work looks at energy across scales from the dwelling, to the neighbourhood, city or region. Patrick undertakes studies in the UK, China, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

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Professor AbuBakr Bahaj

Professor of Sustainable Energy

Connect with AbuBakr

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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