The Population Sampled

The sample for data collection is designed to be representative of the adult population aged 15+ of Great Britain.

Overview of the PAMCo Sample

PAMCo has a multi-stage disproportional pre-selected sample design.

The three stages of sampling are as follows:

1)    Selection of sampling points (1464 points for 2023)

2)    Selection of addresses

3)    Selection of individuals

The sampling frame for the selection of sampling points comprises all Output Areas (OAs) in Great Britain. In 2023, two OAs were selected for all sampling points, with the exception of the most rural. The sampling frame for the selection of addresses is the Postal Address File (PAF). At the postal stage, addresses in each sample point are invited through a postal invitation and up to two household members are invited to take part.  

At the field stage, interviewers are issued with all addresses that have not completed the survey at the postal stage (and have not declined the interviewer visit).  At each household contacted, up to two household members aged 15+ are invited to take part.  

Selection of Sampling Points

The first stage of sampling is to select the sample points (or locations) where interviews will be carried out. Before this is done, certain ACORN areas are upweighted (and others downweighted). This is done so as to oversample areas with particularly high penetration of individuals with AB social grades, and therefore increase the number of interviews taken with AB participants.

The steps taken to select the sampling points were as follows:

a) Sampling weights are applied to the adult populations of OAs by 7 categories of ACORN Types, as follows:

CategoryACORN TypesWeights Applied
11, 2, 3, 71.90
24, 5, 8, 9, 14, 15, 161.60
36, 10, 11, 17, 19, 611.30
412, 13, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 31, 321.10
523, 25, 27, 29, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 53, 60, 62, 630.90
630, 38, 39, 41, 42, 49, 50, 540.70
740, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 52, 55, 56, 57. 58, 590.60

b) Great Britain is divided into 60 area groupings, devised for PAMCo. Ultimately these areas were individually weighted and used to piece together the Government Office Region and non-overlap ISBA TV regions. 

A full list of the 60 areas can be found overleaf. For the purposes of sampling, the area groupings were further sub-divided into district groupings.

c) The weighted adult populations of each of the 60 area groupings were calculated. The target number of sampling points for each area grouping was then set. The total number of points at this stage was 1,392 per annum.

d) Within each area grouping, OAs were ranked in descending order by district grouping, then within district by ACORN category, and finally within ACORN category by NS-SEC.

e) The required number of OAs within each area grouping as specified at b) was then selected with probability proportional to weighted adult populations, using random start/fixed sampling interval procedures.

f) Any selected OA falling into a ‘no-go’ area was replaced with one in the sample District and same ACORN Type with population size closest to the originally selected OA.

 g) Modified procedures were applied in Scotland, where the target number of points was increased from 112 to 184, a boost of just over 60%. This is to allow for larger analysis samples for Scottish newspapers and Scottish editions of national newspapers and brought the total number of points to 1,464.


Sampling Areas

A division into ‘reference’ and ‘boost’ points was made for the first time in 2023. Two thirds of the selected points were assigned as ‘reference’ points and one third as ‘boost’ points.  In reference points, both the postal stage and the field stage were worked, whereas in the boost stage only the postal stage was conducted, with no follow-up field stage.  The two types of point were matched fully by GOR and as fully as possible by ACORN sampling band and weighting areas within GOR.    

The area groupings used and the target number of Sampling Points selected were as follows:

England and Wales

Area GroupingsGovernment Office RegionISBA AreaNo. of Points Selected
1South WestSouth West40
2South WestSouthern20
3South EastSouthern38
4South EastSouthern18
5South EastSouthern26
6South EastSouthern50
7South EastLondon38
8East of EnglandLondon50
9Greater LondonLondon32
10Greater LondonLondon64
11Greater LondonLondon46
12Greater LondonLondon46
13East of EnglandEast of England32
14East MidlandsEast of England14
15South EastLondon24
16East of EnglandEast of England20
17East of EnglandEast of England32
18South EastMidlands26
19South WestMidlands16
20West MidlandsMidlands40
21West MidlandsMidlands24
22Greater LondonLondon28
23West MidlandsMidlands14
24West MidlandsMidlands14
25West MidlandsMidlands24
26East MidlandsMidlands22
27East MidlandsMidlands18
28East MidlandsMidlands22
29WalesWales and the West8
30WalesWales and the West22
31WalesWales and the West26
32North WestBorder10
33South WestWales and the West16
34South WestWales and the West34
35Yorkshire and the HumberYorkshire44
36Yorkshire and the HumberYorkshire26
37Yorkshire and the HumberYorkshire22
38East MidlandsYorkshire26
40North WestLancashire34
41North WestLancashire34
42North WestLancashire14
43North WestLancashire26
44North WestLancashire28
45Yorkshire and the HumberNorth East16
46North EastNorth East26
47North EastNorth East12
48North EastNorth East12


Area GroupingsArea Names

No. of Points Selected


52Strathclyde, urban54
53Strathclyde, rural20
57Other Tayside8
58Other Grampian12
60Scottish Borders8