The town of Southwick has been included in a list of the top five ‘most normal’ places in England, compiled by data scientists.
It came fourth in the list, drawn up by ASI Data Science, which was headed by Didcot in Oxfordshire, followed by Droitwich Spa in Worcestershire and Bath Road in Worcester.
The places were identified using a new technique that picks out areas of England to act as ‘representative microcosms of wider society’, a spokesperson from ASI Data Science said.
Using publicly available data – from the Office for National Statistics and the 2011 Census records – Southwick was found to be one of the places that most closely resembled the statistical median across 11 key metrics, said the spokesperson.
The metrics included mean income, age distribution, ethnicity, marital status, euroscepticism, 2015 Election vote share and house prices, among others, said the spokesperson.
Across these metrics, Southwick was one of the places which most closely matched the statistical average lifestyle, opinions and experiences for people living in England, according to the spokesperson.
The new data analysis techniques of publicly available data used in the study can be applied to any geographic area, such as a specific city, to find the most ‘normal’ area, the spokesperson said.
Researchers from ASI Data Science hope the study will help organisations, businesses, and political institutions to make more informed decisions – because it will enable decision makers to easily walk around that location and physically experience, and better understand, the local population, said the spokesperson.
Marc Warner, chief executive of ASI Data Science, said: “Most people live in a bubble whereby their experiences in life are heavily influenced by the area they live in and the people they interact with.
“Our study allows researchers and decision makers to better understand a ‘normal’ life experience and apply these methods at a more local level.
“This could have huge benefits, enabling decision makers to have a far better understanding of the challenges in their local area and the average experience of the people that live there, making them better placed to make informed decisions.”
The study was inspired by the 1940s film Magic Town, which tells the story of a man who stumbles upon a small town which he believes is perfectly representative of the nation’s views and uses it to conduct consumer research.
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