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Consultation on Small Area Population Estimates

Opening date: 16 June 2014
Closing date: 25 July 2014
Department: Office for National Statistics
Category: Population

ONS produces official population estimates for the UK and its constituent countries, the regions of England and Wales, local authorities and other geographic areas within England and Wales. They provide details of the number of people usually resident within each area on 30 June of the reference year. In particular, small area population estimates include figures for both statistical geographies (eg Super Output Areas) and sub-regional administrative geographic areas (eg wards, parliamentary constituencies and health areas).

This consultation includes two main topics: the future of the publication of population estimates for health areas and a request for information on the uses made of small area population estimates in general, including your views on the quality of the the products.


We asked:

  • Should we withdraw population estimates for former health geographies?

  • What do you think of the accuracy and timing of small area population estimates?

  • How do you use small population estimates?

You said:

  • You mostly (98%) agreed that you were happy for ONS to withdraw population estimates for former health geographies.

  • You were mostly (83%) happy with the accuracy of the statistics, although there were some concerns over the accuracy of the local authority population estimates (from which small area population estimates are derived) and estimates for areas whose boundaries do not match Output Areas.

  • You mostly (84%) thought the timing of the statistics (three to four months after the national population estimates) was acceptable, but any steps to reduce this time lag were welcomed.

  • You mostly use these statistics for:

                    - Local government planning purposes and performance indicators;

                    - Inputs to local models and analyses, e.g. population forecasting;

                    - Health planning and production of health indicators.

We did:

  • Agree to discontinue population estimates for former health geographies.

  • Confirm that all other small area population estimates will continue to be published, including population estimates for current health geographies.


Contact details:
Fiona Aitchison
Office for National Statistics
Segensworth Road
PO15 5RR
Tel: +44 (0) 1329 444694


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