It is perhaps not surprising that much about the demographic of a population of a particular post code can now be translated into a list of personal data. The Royal Mail's online Postcode Finder is one of the UK's most used webpages with around 100,000 visits a day - more than 40 million a year, what would we do without it!
Post codes were first introduced in 1959 and were trialled in Norwich to try and reduce the labour intensive task of sorting the mail. Post codes were then pushed out across the whole country in an eight year programme that began in 1966 and ended in 1974. In total, there are now 48 million postcodes available. On average one postcode covers 17 residential addresses. The Royal Mail chose an alpha-numeric system, as the combination of letters and numbers is easier for people to remember than a straight list of numbers and of course it gives more code combinations.
To mark its 40th anniversary of the postcode the Royal Mail commissioned a survey to see what it could really reveal about the population of a post code area, according to their data everything from birth rate to mortgage debt and car ownership can be revealed. The research examined five key areas - health and wellbeing, work, the cost of living, safety and security and home life revealing:
Aldeburgh in Suffolk has the highest average age, while parts of the university city of Birmingham have the youngest population, West London and the City are home to the healthiest people in the UK. Two-thirds of those living in the Dorset town of Poole are married and Canterbury is the town with the lowest birth rate!