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UK geography
(includes UK maps)
- area names & codes
- geographic initiatives
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* introduction

Geography and National Statistics

Welcome to the National Statistics geography webpages. This introduction discusses the significance of geography to National Statistics, and also introduces the rest of the pages. These can be accessed by clicking on the hotspots in the text, or by selecting from the menu on the left.

Why is geography so important? The answer is quite simply that geography is key to virtually all National Statistics, providing the structure for collecting, processing, storing and aggregating the data. Indeed, the framework provided by geography is often the only factor different datasets have in common.
Click on this map to open a map of UK local authorities!
More maps are available in our Beginners' Guide to UK Geography

Unfortunately, UK Geography is far from simple:

  • There are many different geographic unit types (administrative, health, electoral, postcode etc) and their boundaries frequently don't align.
  • Boundaries keep changing, and it is said that the UK has more administrative boundary change than the rest of Europe put together. In some years several hundred electoral wards or divisions are affected, and in the extreme case of 2002 no fewer than 1549 got changed! Other geographies, especially postcodes, are also liable to frequent revision.
  • Area names and codes change too. This is complicated by the fact that different government departments have developed different coding systems for administrative geography, on occasions even using slightly different names for the same areas.

This inconsistent geography has been a major problem when trying to produce and compare meaningful statistics over time, but there are various initiatives designed to address this. A number of government departments have strong interests in geography but, in many cases, the lead has been taken by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Geography section. ONS Geography is also responsible for the following:

In addition, these pages contain:


This page last revised: Wednesday 21 January 2003

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