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Demographic survey questions : understand your market beyond just surveys

Market research 04 12
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Table of Contents

People can be grouped together on the basis of their similarities and can be distinguished on the basis of their differences . These similarities and differences arise due to age , gender , ethnicity , race , household income, place of living , educational qualifications and a number of other parameters that is differently present in everyone . This kind of an information is particularly useful for businesses as it allows them to group people as a community based on their commonalities . But how do these businesses get hold of this information?


Demographic survey questions

Demographic survey questions are enquiry based questions which allows the researcher to gather valuable information about their respondents. These are background related and are focused on understanding the respondent according to several parameters , which helps in grading responses . Researchers have to make sure that they gather all the relevant information about their respondents without overdoing the length of the survey , as it could lead to non-completion.

For example: A brand seeking to understand smart phone buying habits should include questions regarding age and income to cover every age group : teenager, adults, aged individuals as well as low income , middle income and high income categories . This will help them in analyzing the results with pre-determined distinctions and fine –tune products to suit every category in case of a launch.

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Importance of demographic survey questions


Market segmentation:  Bifurcating and understanding target markets by using valuable personal information can help businesses by treating them as separate sects in the market and serving their needs by customizing products and services to their requirements . This increases the success rate of products as they tend to be accepted quickly and lead to increased sales and revenue for the companies. This is based on the simple strategy that people brought up in different environments and having different experiences tend to make different choices . These choices are better served when companies focus on their individual needs , instead of treating them as a group.

Competitive advantage:  By understanding market composition , companies can serve needs better than any other entity and so stand to benefit gaining a greater market share . The database of demographic information allows businesses to better the quality of their customer service and thus , increase satisfaction.

Survey organizations around the world have maximized their phone survey ROI with the advanced features, hosting options, seamless telephony integration, and flexible pricing of our CATI software.


Things to keep in mind while designing demographic survey questions

  1. Focus on relevance : Include and enquire only about that information which will serve the interest of the organization on whose behalf, the research is being conducted .
  2. Define the purpose of the survey : Lay down the reason for carrying out the survey . Understand what knowledge you seek to acquire , once you have completed the survey and make sure to communicate the same to your respondents .
  3. Keep it concise : Short and crisp surveys increase completion rates . Make sure that you keep the questions , to the point in order to attain maximum efficiency through quick completion. 
  4. Avoid overlapping : Design answer options in such a manner , that avoids overlapping . This is a very important point as it helps to avoid ambiguity among respondents.
  5. Be respectful : Frame questions in a manner that does not offend respondents or makes them feel uncomfortable while answering . Respondent mindset can impact the quality of answers , so it is better to e respectful of the respondent’s boundaries.
  6. Allow discretion : Always include options that allow the respondent to prevent disclosing a particular information if they feel it’s too personal or if they aren’t comfortable disclosing it . This is an extension of the previous point , as it shows the researcher’s respect for the respondent’s boundaries .
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Types of demographic questions



Gender related questions are the most basic that are asked in almost all the surveys . These questions should provide the option of ‘other’ , providing a space for many recognized and unrecognized communities as well as “ prefer not to say “ if the respondent wishes not to disclose. This makes the respondent feel safe and comfortable while answering the questions that follow .

  1. Q) What is your gender ?
  • Male 
  • Female  
  • Other (not listed ) :________________
  • Prefer not to say 

The researcher can also choose to keep the question open ended and allow the respondent to mention it themselves . This is more inclusive approach and can easily be used , without running the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings


This parameter is particularly useful due to variation in buying behavior which can assists brands, while approaching them . Care should be taken to use inclusive ranges in the answer options to avoid confusing the respondent 

  1. Q) Which age group do you belong to ?
  • Below 18 
  • 18-30
  • 30-45
  • 45-60
  • Above 60

The researcher can modify the range of age groups as per their own convenience and understanding .


Place can be used to identify the seasonal variation, relief , lifestyle etc of the respondent . These are factors that can shape the mindset of people and can influence their interaction with the brand and its products . Drop down list type questions are the most useful for framing such questions . These drop down lists can be modified to list the appropriate places according to the scale on which the survey is being conducted . Otherwise , multiple choice questions are the best alternative to receive meaningful answers .

For example : For a South American based survey –

  1. Q) Where in South –America do you live ?
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia


This type of questions help you gain a hold on the knowledge base of the respondent. This can be of relevance for the researcher who then can route questions based on prior answers , and gain important data . For example: Banking companies willing to study loan requirements can understand the needs and types of education loans , if a respondent is graduating or trying to pursue post graduation , by routing them to questions relating to annual course fee , payment options , scholarship programs offered by college etc .

  1. Q) What is the highest educational qualification?
  • High school
  • Graduate 
  • Post- graduate 
  • Ph. D.
  • Others ( please specify) :__________________
  • Prefer not to say 


Household income gives you a brief about the financial situation of the respondent . This helps the researcher study their responses as part of an income group with specific choices . For example: A respondent with low household income is likely to compromise on features to buy a product that fits their budget . On the other hand , high income groups pay less heed to cost and focus more on what the product has to offer them . This allows companies to decide upon product features , target market , pricing strategy and incentives and offers , before launching a product in the market .

  1. Q) What is your yearly household income ?
  • Less than 2 lakh 
  • 2 lakh -4 lakh
  • 4 lakh -8 lakh 
  • 8 lakh -12 lakh 
  • 12 lakh – 15 lakh 
  • More than 15 lakh 

These ranges can be modified according to the income group that the researcher wishes to target .


A person not engaged in any sort of relationship is an independent decision maker and so consumer behavior is pretty much focused on one person and factors affecting his/her decisions as against a person engaged in any relationship, who needs to take his partners needs and wants into consideration for the same .

  1. Q) What is your relationship status?
  • Single 
  • Married 
  • In a relationship 
  • Prefer not to say 


As each culture has its own set of traditions and values , their approach and interaction with the brands can vary . This can also be a selling point , as certain ethnicities identify themselves more with certain brands because of shared vision and mission . For example : Proctor and Gamble’s “ The Talk” advertisement which attracted a lot of attention as well as became an Emmy winning advertisement (2018) because of its boldness and the ability to raise an important social issue of racial bias . It even launched “The look” and “the pause “ as part of its ad campaign to eliminate racial bias , which attracted a large amount of viewership.

  1. Q) Which ethnicity do you identify as ?
  • Native Americans 
  • African Americans 
  • Puerto Rican
  • Hispanic and Latino American
  • Native Hawaiians 
  • Others (Please specify ) : _________________

Other demographic parameters such as family composition , religion ( born into and practiced ), voting status , language : mother tongue and known languages can be questioned upon . These questions have to be incorporated into the survey based on the relevance and the purpose of the study . Including unnecessary questions which do not serve the research purpose can make questionnaires long and nudge the respondent to not answering. It’s better to stick to the strategy of keeping the questionnaire concise as well as making sure the researcher gets all the information they need .

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Characteristics of an Interval Scale

These are a few characteristics of an interval scale: 

  1. Values between two variables can be subtracted to define the difference between two variables.
  2. Interval scales allow you to calculate the mean and median of variables.
  3. Interval Scales are preferred in statistics as numerical values may be assigned to arbitrary assessments such as those of opinions and feelings.
  4. Interval data is useful in business and scientific analysis as it is quantitative, and straightforward. 
  5. Nominal scales and Ordinal scales do not provide as much information as Interval scales, as they are qualitative in nature and do not provide information on the difference between two variables.


Why Voxco ?

Multiple question types to serve the multipurpose needs of the researcher . Drag and drop ranking , graphic sliders , signature capture , essay comments and a variety of other options to choose from , so that researchers can design their surveys however they feel like.

Extensive logic functions to ensure quality responses :

  • Choose question randomization , loops , custom logic , hide/show questions and multiple other options to guide respondents 
  • Use validations and calculations to mark answer priority , notify respondents about answers not meeting criteria and set up min/max values for answer range .
  • Piping , branching and skipping to use previous answers to map out questions that follow .
  • Survey design functionalities such automatic device detection ,multi language capabilities, pause and resume function and many more to enhance the research experience .
  • Efficient survey distribution options through emails , social media ,website and SMS that increase accessibility 
  • Precise respondent targeting through anonymous surveys , invitation only surveys and surveys with enhanced protection using pin or passwords.
  • Voxco Panel Manager that allows you to  actively survey and manage your panel of respondents with Voxco’s panel management system that integrates seamlessly with Voxco Online.

Add to this , the additional features that Voxco offers allowing integration and safety using data-at-rest encryption and role based access and security that keeps the valuable respondent information safe and leak proof .

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