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Every UK postcode given an E-Society rating

One of the things I became very interested about whilst at the BBC was ‘e-literacy’ – basically how the various demographics of the UK have adopted and use technology, especially the Internet. (The BBC has a mandate to improve e-literacy (‘driving digital’, it’s called!), and must consider how it’s projects help promote the cause)

I think a lot us in Web2.0-world forget that only a tiny percentage of society are really getting what we’re doing. Ask some people outside your social and demographic circle whether they use Flickr and the chances are they’ve never even heard of it. Of course, what we’re doing is significant because it’s indicating future ‘mainstream usage behaviour’ (hmmm, sometimes anyway).

Anyway a number of British universities (UCL, Leicester and Nottingham) have conducted an ‘E-Society’ survey, rating every postcode in a metric between 1 and 23 (23 being most e-literate). For those who don’t know, a UK postcode is like a US Zipcode but shared by just 15 or so individuals addresses or a single apartment block.

From the Spatial Literacy E-Society website:

Our E-Society Classification is a detailed classification of all of Great Britain’s neighbourhoods, based on information about levels of awareness of information and communications technologies, usage patterns, and attitudes to their effects upon quality of life.

There is also an academic paper detailing the project.

Here are the 22 classifications:

Group A : E-unengaged Type A01 : Low technologists
Type A02 : Cable suffices
Type A03 : Technology as fantasy
Type A04 : Mobile’s the limit
Type A05 : Too old to be bothered
Type A06 : Elderly marginalised
Group B : E-marginalised Type B07 : The Net ; What’s that?
Type B08 : Mobile Explorers
Type B09 : Cable TV heartland
Group C : Becoming engaged Type C10 : E-bookers and communicators
Type C11 : Peer group adopters
Group D : E for entertainment and shopping Type D12 : Small time net shoppers
Type D13 : E for entertainment
Group E : E-independents Type E14 : Rational utilitarians
Type E15 : Committed learners
Type E16 : Light users
Group F : Instrumental E-users Type F17 : Computer magazine readers
Type F18 : E for financial management
Type F19 : On-line apparel purchasers
Type F20 : E-exploring for fun
Group G : E-business users Type G21: Electronic orderers
Group H : E- experts Type H22 : E-committed
Type H23 : E – professionals

But perhaps the coolest part is that you can search for your own UK post-code:


My postcode is H22 – E-Experts/E-committed (Confident in their abilities to undertake on-line transactions and to make full use of electronic technologies. These are the types of people who are able to make use of personalisation and configuration options.), although interestingly nearby neighbourhoods are listed as B09 – E-marginalised/Cable TV heartland (not necessarily averse to the use of electronic technologies but often lack the disposable income to equip themselves with it).

What’s yours?

Published in Links News


  1. I’m ‘H22 – E-Experts/E-committed’ too, which sounds about right for Dulwich.

    One correction though – the site only classifies according to the first bit of the postcode (eg SE21), rather than the full postcode, which is a few degrees less granular than you suggest above.

  2. Ben Ben

    It does look like that from the results (it just mentions the first part of the postcode).

    However that would be very inaccurate — some of the most poorest illiterate people in the UK and some of the most richest and technically advanced people in the UK live in E2 (my postcode).

    Having tested a few postcodes, it’s actually accurate down to the individual postcode. Just try a postcode and then iterate up…

    Or, check out:

    E2 0QB – A01: E-unengaged/Low technologists, vs
    E2 9NA – G21: E-business users/Electronic orderers

  3. this shows some quite interesting results

    For my current house
    TW7 – Group C : Becoming engaged, which is totally correct for my house mates.

    My parents
    LE2 – Group F : Instrumental E-users, which is totally correct for them.
    Although they found flickr this weekend, they started to use it but I think it freaked them out slightly.

    My flat at uni from September doesn’t even have an entry. I always thought people in Sheffield were slightly behide the times

  4. Apparently where I live is “We are very sorry but we do not have a classification for the postcode ‘*hidden*’ in our database.”, and the same applies for where I lived on campus while at uni last year. They have a nice definition of every postcode.

  5. Paul Paul

    I live in the Forth Valley in Scotland and the result for my postcode is very low… infact, it’s the lowest – Group A: E-unengaged. While many of my neighbours may not know about web 2.0, Flickr or be developing the next killer RoR app I think it’s pretty unfair to label them as ‘unengaged’.

    Sure, I live in an area that was once dominated by the shipping and mining industries, and large number of the population may be over 40 or retired, but it’s just crass to use an image of an overweight balding man eating chips…

    or an ageing pensioner, carrying a polythene bag (no doubt filled with tesco value cheese, the Daily Record and a few tins of Tennents special)

    to describe our collective level of e-society literacy. It’s more than crass actually, it’s offensive.

  6. I’m in an area that is rated as A : E-unengaged and type A05 : Too old to be bothered. Which makes sense as many of the people are elderly council tenants.

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