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Demographics are statistics related to the population of a particular area. Political groups and marketing firms often take demographic data into account when making policy decisions or launching new products. Demographics can break down the population in a number of different ways, including by age, gender, race, religion, and highest education level.
Marketing firms used demographic data when launching new sales campaigns. Analysts study the demographic data for a certain area and then develop ways to market products to the types of people that are most prevalent in that area. For example, a firm will spend more money on promoting products aimed at young people in areas with a large numbers of people under the age of 25, and firms that offer products that cater towards retirees tend to advertise more heavily in areas with large numbers of retired people. As population changes cause the demographics of an area to shift, marketing firms must adapt to the changes and develop new marketing plans that reflect those changes.
Politicians study demographics when deciding where to campaign during elections. Sociologists, psychologists, and political strategists determine what kind of voters are likely to support a particular candidate, and then campaign workers canvass heavily for that candidate in areas where the demographic make-up suggests that the candidate will receive widespread support. Politicians that are already in office also use demographic data when deciding where to canvass for the support needed to pass new bills and make policy changes.
During a criminal trial, the prosecutor and the lawyer representing the defendant normally have the opportunity to have some say in the jury selection process. Prior to jury selection, the lawyers may also have an influence on determining where the trial will be held. Defending lawyers often try to have trials based in communities where a large percentage of the population are of the same race or religion as the defendant because they believe that juries that can identify with the accused are more likely to side with the defendant against the prosecutor. Prosecutors try to ensure that the defendant will not have a sympathetic jury and instead try to have the case heard in a place where demographic factors will favor the prosecution.
Supporters of demographics argue that accurate predictions can be made about people's actions based on factors such as age, race or religion. Critics of demographic studies point out that these studies make assumptions that people with certain characteristics will have similar behavior patterns. Demographics related to race are harder to record in increasingly multicultural societies, but other demographics continue to be widely used.