With the release of the 2021 Midyear Annual Forecast last month, members may have noticed a new audience category, POPFACTS®. Geopath has received a few questions recently asking for guidance on when to use POPFACTS® audiences versus the demographic audiences available within the Population category of the Insights Suite. As such, we wanted to provide more insight into these audience classifications as our members begin to work with both targeting options.
POPFACTS® include only the age-based population for the four available audiences (Persons 0+, 5+, 18+ and 21+), including persons in group quarters (e.g., nursing homes, college campuses, military barracks, juvenile facilities, correctional facilities, etc.). Whereas, the age-based audiences available within the Population tab include target demographics based solely on households, excluding those in group quarters.
The US Census Bureau publishes less data about group quarters at the local level than about households. This is done to protect the privacy of group quarter residents. Specifically, the US Census does not designate person-level detailed variables (e.g., household income, gender, ethnicity) classified by housing type (households or group quarter) and it does not publish details about group quarters at the block group.
For example, the US Census and Claritas estimate how many people live in a block group in each housing type and in each age group, but they do not estimate all cross sections of household income, gender, and ethnicity. Explicitly, there is no estimate of how many people 65+ live in a specific type of group quarters in a block group. There also is not an estimate of how many correctional facilities versus care facilities exist in a block group.
Using POPFACTS® vs. Population Demographics
To compensate for this lack of detailed information on group quarters, the population estimates that Geopath has developed in partnership with Transport Foundry to understand movement around the country currently matches person-level controls using households (not group quarters).
As such, we recommend that when a user is looking to target only the universe of reachable individuals, they use the demographic audiences available in the Population section of the Insights Suite.
For users of the API, hourly impression data is available for the four POPFACTS® profiles. Additionally, homes data is available in the API for the Persons 0+ POPFACTS.
We will be deprecating these POPFACTS® audiences in future releases as we improve the methods currently available to handle group quarters. We are already working on an updated process to better account for the population in those housing situations which will also allow for expanded cross-tabbing capabilities.
We hope this helps to provide more insight into these audience categories. As always, please feel free to reach out directly on geekOUT@geopath.org with any additional questions.