Antedating of "Demographics"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Mar 28 01:15:36 UTC 2012

On Mar 27, 2012, at 9:08 PM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:

> The New York Times, July 24, 1981, Friday, Late City Final Edition, Section D; Page 11, Column 1; Financial Desk, 662 words, Advertising; ELAN: FOR THE BLACK WOMAN, By Philip H. Dougherty, ELAN, a magazine for sophisticated, affluent college
> ... job is not only getting up a list of people who meet the target demographics or are striving to meet them, but get people who are already subscribers to magazines. They are the most  …

Well, that is two or three years before the Frederick Post, but I'm not sure it counts.  "demographics" above might be a mass rather than count noun (which I assume might be a back-formation), and that does go back to the time when the Mad Men episode is set:

  In pl. Demographic statistics; the science of obtaining and interpreting these. Hence, the characteristics or composition of a population (esp. a television or other audience) so revealed. orig. U.S.
1967   Time 8 Dec. 81/3   The network feels that ‘intelligent advertisers are not interested in demographics per se but in the audience's response to their product.’

>> demographic
>> Draft additions December 2005
>> As a count noun: a particular section of a population, typically defined =
>> in terms of factors such as age, income, ethnic origin, etc., esp. =
>> regarded as a target audience for marketing or broadcasting.
>> 1984   Frederick (Maryland) Post 8 Mar. b2/3   The CBS Radio Network =
>> gained in its target demographic, 25=9654 year-olds.
>> --which strikes me as about right, although someone might could push it =
>> back a year or two.  But not into the Vietnam War era, much less when =
>> "the conflict" was still escalating.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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