Dr Dan Vickers

Lecturer in Social and Spatial Inequalities

Dan Vickers

Room number: F13
Telephone (internal): 27946
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7946
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7946
Email: D.Vickers@Sheffield.ac.uk

Dan Vickers obtained his first degree in Geography (2001, University of Derby) and also has a Master of Science in Geographical Information Systems (2002, University of Nottingham) and a PhD in Geography (2006, University of Leeds). Dan subsequently he worked as a Research Fellow (ESRC) at the University of Leeds (School of Geography, 2006). In September 2006 he took up his appointment as Lecturer in Social and Spatial Inequalities in the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield.

Research Interests

Dan's research interests are centred on social and spatial divisions within society. This includes: Social and spatial inequalities, residential segregation and methods and techniques for measuring these differences. Dan is especially interested in methods of clustering and classification, which enable the grouping of areas based on their socio-economic characteristics. Such techniques enable the creation of geodemographic and area classifications such as the National Classification of Census Output Areas which Dan created on behalf of the Office for National Statistics.

Current research

Changing Residential Patterns of the UK part of the ESRC's Understanding Population Trends and Processes (UPTAP) Programme

Area classifications are an excellent way of simplifying complex datasets into a manageable set of indicators (Voas and Williamson, 2001). They have powerful predictive powers that can be used to explain any number of demographic trends and socio-economic processes (Harris et al., 2005; Sleight, 2004). However, the classification cannot tell us how, if at all, these residential patterns have changed over time and how these changes are affecting current socio-economic processes and demographic trends. To find out if, and how, residential patterns have changed a means of comparison needs to be created from an earlier data source.

The Output Area Classification (OAC)
In collaboration with the The Office for National Statistics I created a classification of the UK at a very fine geography (census output areas) using data from the 2001 Census. The classification splits the UK into a hierarchy of 7, 21 and 52 groups, clustering areas that share similar socio-economic characteristics. By mapping the classification using digitized output area boundaries and Ordnance Survey background mapping, clear residential patterns can be seen throughout the UK. Clear distinctions can be made between neighbourhoods, for example on the basis of affluence, rurality or multiculturalism. The classification can answer many questions about the residential patterns of the UK at the start of the 21st century.

As user group has been formed to promote the use of OAC as part of the Royal Statistical Society's Statistics Users' Forum. You can find out more details about the OAC user group and their activities at the group's webpage.

View an interactive map of the classification here


I convene and teach on modules at levels 2 and 3 of undergraduate studies and have overall responsibility for the MSc Social and Spatial inequalities on which I also convene several modules.  My teaching is heavily influenced by my research at all levels.

The main focus of my teaching is to get students to think about and understand how and why where people live affects their chances in life. This takes many forms – from the analysis of the economies of different countries to the effect of being brought up on different streets in the same town. My attitude in the classroom is very much that students learn better in an environment which they are taking part rather than being simple consumers of lectures. This is reflected in both the way I teach and assess, with all my courses requiring students to take part in activities within the lecture theatre and beyond.

Dan teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including:

GEO242 Health, Place and Society
GEO367 Development Geographies Fieldclass
GEO369 Social and Spatial Inequalities

GEO6015 Poverty, Place and Inequality
GEO6017 Urban and Regional Inequalities
GEO6021 SASI Dissertation
GEO6022 The SASI Research Proposal

All staff also engage in personal supervision and tutoring of individual students at all three undergraduate levels in the following modules:
GEO163 (Information & Communication Skills for Geographers)
GEO263 or GEO264 (Research Design in Human or Physical Geography)
GEO356 (Geographical Research Project)

Key Publications

  • Vickers, D.W. and Rees, P.H. (2007). Creating the National Statistics 2001 Output Area Classification. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A
    Online version (1MB PDF)
  • Vickers, D.W. and Rees, P.H. (2006). Introducing the National Classification of Census Output Areas, Population Trends, 125.
    Online version (3MB PDF)
  • Vickers, D.W., Rees, P.H. and Birkin, M. (2005). Creating the National Classification of Census Output Areas: Data, Methods and Results. Working Paper 05/2, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds
    Online version (3MB PDF)
  • Vickers, D.W. and Stillwell, J. (2005). Area classification in Yorkshire and the Humber: a region of diversity? The Yorkshire & Humber Regional Review, 15(2).
    Online version (2MB PDF)
  • Vickers, D.W., Rees, P.H. & Birkin, M. (2003). A New Classification Of UK Local Authorities Using 2001 Census Key Statistics. Working Paper 03/3, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds
    Online version (2.2MB PDF)
  • Vickers, D.W. (2003). The Difficulty of Linking Two Differently Aggregated Spatial Datasets: Using a Look-up Table to Link Postal Sectors and 1991 Census Enumeration Districts. Working Paper 03/2, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds
  • Online version (3.9MB PDF)

Other information

Dan Vickers is currently Awards Officer for the Population Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society