Collapsing Variables


In preparing a new snack food for WidgeCorp, Vicky, one of the regional sales managers has contacted me for help in trying to categorize some demographic data available through the American Marketing Association (AMA). The AMA website provides free demographical reports where U.S. Census information can be obtained regarding a specific region within the U.S. The reports from the U.S. Census to be discussed here include the General Summary, the 1980-2000 Census Trends, the Occupation and Employment, and the Income Summary of the 60614 zip code region of the U.S. After these reports are looked at some information will be broken down into smaller categories so that it becomes more inclusive for Vicky to understand the demographic data presented to her.

General Summary Report

Let’s begin by looking at the general summary report, which in this report we will break down the educational attainment.

Educational Attainment

v Individuals with a degree just over 80% v Individuals with some college or grade school through high school graduate = 19.46%

The educational attainment was broken down this way because the categories can be assigned by individuals with any sort of a degree and individuals who have some college and/or have attended grade school through high school. Furthermore, this category reduction can permit the regional sales manager to get a better view of the general population within the 60614 zip code that has a college degree versus those that do not (CTU Online, 2011).

1980 – 2000 Census Trends

Now let’s look at the U.S. Census Trend for the zip code 60614, which in this report we will break down the total household income for the years 1980 – 2000.


v $ 0 – $29,999 = 21,048 v $30,000 – $75,000 = 10,641 v $75,001 – $149,999 = 5,856 v $150,000 + = 0


v $ 0 – $29,999 = 12,171 v $30,000 – $75,000 = 22,665 v $75,001 – $149,999 = 11,909 v $150,000 + = 2,867


v $ 0 – $29,999 = 7,037 v $30,000 – $75,000 = 28,937 v $75,001 – $149,999 = 21,945 v $150,000 + = 7,531

Breaking these categories into four categories of income instead of thirteen will permit the regional sales manager to get a better view of the household incomes of individuals living in the 60614 zip code from 1980-2000. Also, presenting a visual graph to represent the family household incomes from the years 1980-2000 will help represent the total incomes for families, as well as a better understanding can be presented to the regional sales manager (CTU Online, 2011).

Occupation and Employment

Now let’s look at the Occupation and employment for the zip code 60614, which in this report we will break down travel time to work.

v 0 – 24 (work at home included) = 46.40% v 25 – 59 = 43.70% v 60 or more = 9.80%

Breaking the travel time to work down for zip code 60614 into three categories instead of thirteen will bring the median travel time in minutes to 33. This will permit the regional sales manager to not become so overwhelmed by consequently looking at the minute travel time to work every four miles. In my opinion I believe individuals travels up to 24 miles to work is the average time one should spend going to work without being all caught up in spending money made on commuting, ones traveling 25-59 would have to be making commute money plus living money, and the ones traveling 60 or more would have to be make in the $150.000 plus range in order to be able to afford the commute and still be able to live off the money they are making.

Income Summary

Now, lastly, let’s take a look at the income summary for the zip code 60614, and in this report will break down the household income by year.

v 0 – $29,999 – 232.67% v $30,000 – $59,999 – 177.95% v $60,000 – $199,999 – 177.33% v $200,000 – 50.93%

Breaking the income summary for zip code 60614 into four categories instead of fifteen and generating the income by amount made instead of amount and age will allow the report to be read more clearly by the regional sales manager.


It is common when analyzing large amounts of data, such as the data found in the U.S. Census for zip code 60614, to create categories and transform the information into legible data that can be easily read and understood. It should also be understood that when variables are collected and categorized there is the possibility that the categories can be further collapsed into fewer categories (CTU Online, 2011). Then what might be fifteen categories in the beginning may be collapsed into ten, and if upon viewing the categories may be collapsed into five. This would make the variables within the data more understandable for the regional sales manager and anyone else viewing the information.


CTU Online. (2011). Applied Managerial Decision Making. Phase 1 course material [text]. Retrieved from

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