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2011 Area Classifications

Area classifications group together geographic areas according to key characteristics common to the population in that grouping. These groupings are called clusters and are derived using census data. The area classifications are hierarchical classifications, consisting of three tiers: Supergroups, Groups and Subgroups.

The first of the 2011 area classifications to be published is the 2011 Area Classification for Output Areas (2011 OAC), which was produced by an external partner, University College London.  Following on from this, a 2011 Area Classification for Local Authorities has been published.

A number of different 2011 Area Classifications for the whole of the UK using 2011 Census data are planned for release in 2015, covering different geographies, as was done following the 2001 Census.  These will cover (1) health areas, (2) Super Output Areas including: Lower Layer Super Output Areas for England and Wales, Data Zones for Scotland and Super Output Areas for Northern Ireland. Consideration is also to be given to a possible update to the area classification for wards.

Consideration will also be given to updating the 2011 Census-based area classifications periodically in the future using non-census data sources.

  • About the Area Classifications

    Information and frequently asked questions about the 2011 area classifications.

  • Corresponding Local Authority Districts

    Details of measuring similarities between local authority districts and the identification of ‘statistical neighbours’ based on 2011 Census data used in creating the 2011 Area Classification for Local Authorities.

  • Datasets

    Access to downloadable files or external links to data forming the 2011 Area Classifications, including 2011 Census Data, Cluster Membership and Distance from Centroids.

  • Maps

    Downloadable maps and links to interactive maps for the 2011 Area Classifications.

  • Methodology and variables

    Details of the methodology and 2011 Census variables used for the 2011 Area Classifications.

  • Pen portraits and radial plots

    Pen portraits describe the clusters that make up the 2011 Area Classifications. They provide an informal view of the characteristics of each Supergroup, Group and Subgroup.

    Radial plot charts represent for each of the Supergroups, Groups and Subgroups the values for each of the final Census variables, using a scale to represent the difference (either positive or negative) from the UK mean and parent Supergroup/Group (if applicable) for that variable.

  • Contact us

    Contact the Office for National Statistics.

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