Income Data   Living Standards Measure (LSM) Dataset

The Living Standards Measure is still seen as the most recognized form of market segmentation used by advertising agencies, media owners, service providers and marketers. A form of wealth continuum, it captures exactly just how the lifestyle landscape of South Africa has changed over time. Capturing this information from as early as 2004 means that AfricaScope has been able to create an extremely powerful temporal view of the dominant LSM’s, financial trends and national average comparisons presiding over any area of the country – helping us to understand LSM’s in terms of their distribution across SA.

AfricaScope has collected information on assets contained within households by conducting large, nationally representative surveys. Just over 21 000 households are interviewed from across the nine provinces and in different types of areas in order to provide the most holistic asset index available at an enumeration area level. An area-based sample is used that allows the information on LSMs to be modelled and mapped. Machine learning is then used to impute the data from surveyed areas to non-surveyed areas throughout the country.


Living Standards Measure

The LSM dataset is made up of the following indicators per EA:


  • Total Population
  • Total Number of Households
  • LSM Percentage per Category
  • Number of Households per Category
  • Dominant LSM Category

Using small area estimation techniques, an accurate calculation of the number of households per community that fall into one of ten LSM categories has been compiled. By mapping such an environment, one is easily able to empower a visual view on the most dominant LSM areas and subsequent target markets.

  • Businesses require the data to make strategic decisions about who to target with their products and services and where those profiles are situated
  • Marketers may use the LSMs to develop appropriate advertising and marketing campaigns that show a clear understanding of the different income profiles found across SA
  • Government departments use LSM data in order to target communities in the provision of services.

Whatever the application, the LSM dataset continues to be a key variable in a brands’ ability to define the optimum location for their business footprint.


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