ONS coding system

ONS codes are geocodes maintained by the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics to represent a wide range of geographical areas of the UK, for use in tabulating census and other statistical data. These codes are also known GSS codes, where GSS refers to the Government Statistical Service of which ONS is part.

The previous hierarchical system of codes was replaced as from January 2011 by a nine-character code for all types of geography,[1] in which there is no relation between the code for a lower-tier area and the corresponding parent area. The older coding system has now been phased out.[2]

Geography of the UK CensusEdit

Information from the 2011 Census is published for a wide variety of geographical units. These areas include:

  • Counties in England
  • Districts within English counties, and Unitary Authority areas served by one council providing district and county functions
  • Unitary council areas in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland
  • Civil parishes (communities in Wales)
  • Electoral wards (called electoral divisions in Wales). These are the areas defined for the election of local councillors, but are also widely used for presenting statistics at a smaller scale than the whole district.
  • Census output areas (OA). These are the smallest unit for which census data are published - they were initially generated to support publication of 2001 Census outputs and contain at least 40 households and 100 persons, the target size being 125 households. They were built up from postcode blocks after the census data were available, with the intention of standardising population sizes, geographical shape and social homogeneity (in terms of dwelling types and housing tenure). The OAs generated in 2001 were retained as far as possible for the publication of outputs from the 2011 Census (less than 3% were changed[3]). Before 2001, census data were published for larger Enumeration Districts (ED) which were delineated before the census was conducted and were the organisational units for census data collection.

Neighbourhood Statistics GeographyEdit

Super Output Areas (SOAs) are a set of geographical areas developed following the 2001 census, initially to facilitate the calculation of the Indices of Deprivation 2004 and subsequently for a range of additional Neighbourhood Statistics (NeSS). The aim was to produce a set of areas of consistent size, whose boundaries would not change (unlike electoral wards), suitable for the publication of data such as the Indices of Deprivation. They are an aggregation of adjacent Output Areas with similar social characteristics. Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) typically contain 4 to 6 OAs with a population of around 1500. Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) on average have a population of 7,200.[4] The hierarchy of Output Areas and the two tiers of Super Output Areas have become known as the Neighbourhood Statistics Geography.[citation needed]

Former hierarchical coding systemEdit

The older ONS code was constructed top down:

For example, 12 for Cambridgeshire.

  • A four-character code represented a district, so that the first two characters showed the county in which the district was placed.

For example, 12UB for Cambridge district or 12UD for Fenland.

  • In the case of a unitary authority (including metropolitan and London boroughs) the first two digits were 00.

For example, 00AL for Greenwich (London Borough) or 00EC for Middlesbrough.

  • Local Government wards were given a two-letter code within their local authority.

For example, 12UBGA for Petersfield Ward within Cambridge district.

  • The smallest level, Census OAs were originally given an additional 4 digits within a ward, so that the first output area in Petersfield Ward was coded 12UBGA0001.
  • Civil parishes were also coded using this hierarchical system. Parishes were coded using an additional 3 digits after their local authority. For example, within 12UD for Fenland district, the parish of Tydd St. Giles was coded 12UD010.

Current GSS coding systemEdit

The current system replaces these codes with a fixed length code of nine characters. The first three characters indicate the level of geography and the six digits following define the individual unit. For example, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is coded as E09000011, Middlesbrough is E06000002, Cambridge E07000008 and Fenland E07000010.

The meaning of some common three character prefixes is as follows:[5][6]

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland Other Status Entity
E00 W00 S00 N00 - Current Census Output Area (OA); Small Areas (N)
E01 W01 S01 - Current Lower layer Super Output Area (LSOA); Data Zone (S)
E02 W02 S02 - Current Middle layer Super Output Area (MSOA); Intermediate Zone (S)
E04 W04 S35 - Current Civil Parish (E/S); Community (W)
E05 W05 S13 N08 - Current Ward or Electoral Division
E06 W06 S12 - Current Unitary Authority
E07 - Current Non-Metropolitan District (two-tier)
E08 - Current Metropolitan Borough
E09 - Current London Borough
E10 - Current County
E11 - Current Metropolitan County
E12 - Current English Region
E13 - Current Inner and Outer London
E14 W07 S14 N06 - Current Westminster Parliamentary Constituency
E15 W08 S15 N07 - Current European Electoral Region
E16 - - - - Archived Primary Care Trusts
E17 - - - - Archived Care Trusts
E18 - - - L00 / M00 Archived Strategic Health Authorities
E19 - - - - Archived Pan Strategic Health Authorities
E20 W12 - - - Current Cancer Registries
E21 W13 - - - Archived Cancer Networks
E22 W14 - - - Current Community Safety Partnerships
E23 W15 S23 N23 - Current Police Force Areas
E24 - - - - Archived Local Learning and Skills Councils
E25 - - - - Current Primary Urban Areas
E26 W18 S21 - - Current National Parks
E27 - - - - Archived New Deal for Communities
E28 W20 - - - Current Registration Districts
E29 W21 - - - Current Registration Sub-District
E30 W22 S22 N12 K01 Current Travel to Work Areas
E31 W25 S38 N31 - Current Fire and Rescue Authorities
E32 W09 S16 - Current London Assembly; Welsh Assembly; Scottish parliament constituency
E33 W35 S34 N19 - Current Workplace Zones
E34 W37 - - K05 Current Built Up Areas
E35 W38 - - K06 Current Built Up Area Sub-Divisions
E36 W39 - - - Current Census Merged Wards
E37 - - - - Current Local Enterprise Partnerships
E38 - - - - Current Clinical Commissioning Groups
E39 - - - - Archived NHS England
E40 - - - - Current NHS England Regions
E41 W40 - - - Current Merged Local Authority Districts
E42 - - - - Current Census Merged Counties
E43 - - - - Current Non-Civil Parished Areas
E45 - - - - Current Public Health England Centres
E46 - - - - Current Public Health England Regions
E47 - - - - Current Combined Authorities
E48 - - - - Current Local Resilience Forums
E49 - - - - Current Enterprise Zones
E50 - - - - Current Waste Authorities
E51 - - - - Current Development Corporations
E52 - - - - Current LEP - overlapping part
E53 - - - - Current LEP - non overlapping part
E54 - - - - Current Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships
E55 - - - - Current Strategic Clinical Networks
E56 - - - - Current Cancer Alliances
E57 - - - - Archived National Cancer Vanguards
E58 - - - - Current County Electoral Divisions
E59 - - - - Current Integrated Care Systems
E60 W43 S44 N13 - Current Local Planning Authorities
E61 - - - - Current Greater London Authority
E92 W92 S92 N92 L93 / M83 Current Country
E92 W92 S92 N92 - Current Country
- - - - J01 Current Major Towns and Cities
- - - - J02 Current 1961 Census Parishes
- - - - J03 Current 1961 Census Wards
- - - - J04 Current 1961 Census Districts
- - - - J05 Current 1961 Census Counties
- - - - K02 Current United Kingdom
- - - - K03 Current Great Britain
- - - - K04 Current England and Wales
- - - - L93 / M83 Current British Crown Dependencies
- - - - M01 Current Priamry Healthcare Directorate
- - - N09 - Current Local Government Districts
- - - N10 - Current District Election Areas
- - - N11 - Current Settlement 2015
- - - N24 - Current Police Force Districts
- - - N32 - Current Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Areas
- - - N33 - Current Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Districts
- - - N34 - Current City Regions
- - S03 - - Archived Community Health Partnerships
- - S04 - - Current Regeneration Outcome Agreement Areas - Scotland
- - S05 - - Current Regeneration Outcome Areas - Community Planning Partnerships
- - S06 - - Current Regeneration Outcome Areas - Local Areas
- - S07 - - Current Regional Transport Partnerships
- - S08 - - Current Health Board areas
- - S09 - - Current Enterprise Regions
- - S10 - - Current Urban Regeneration Companies
- - S11 - - Current Strategic Development Plan Areas
- - S12 - - Current Council Areas
W10 S17 - Current Welsh Assembly; Scottish Parliament Electoral Region
- - S19 - - Current Localities
- - S20 - - Current Settlements
- - S24 - - Current Highlands and Islands Enterprise
- - S25 - - Current Community Justice Authorities
- - S26 - - Archived Community Health Partnerships sub-areas
- - S27 - - Current ISD Health Board of Treatment
- - S28 - - Current Census Detailed Characteristics
- - S29 - - Current Census Local Characteristics
- - S30 - - Current Local Administrative Units 1
- - S31 - - Current Local Administrative Units 2
- - S32 - - Current Scottish Police Divisions
- - S33 - - Current Broad Rental Market Areas
- - S35 - - Current Civil Parish
- - S36 - - Current Island Groups
- - S37 - - Current Integration Authorities
- - S39 - - Current Scottish Fire and Rescue Local Senior Officer Areas
- - S40 - - Current Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Delivery Areas
- - S41 - - Current Scottish Marine Regions
- - S42 - - Current Scottish Local Resilience Partnerships
- - S43 - - Current Scottish Regional Resilience Partnerships
- W03 - - Current Upper layer Super Output Area (USOA)
- W04 - - Current Communities
- W11 - - Current Local Health Boards
- W16 - - Current Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills
- W19 - - Current National Assembly Economic Regions
- W23 - - Current Spatial Plan Areas
- W24 - - Current Spatial Plan Sub-areas
- W26 - - Current Strategic Regeneration Areas
- W27 - - Current Strategic Regeneration Sub-areas
- W28 - - Current Transport Consortia Areas
- W29 - - Current Agricultural Regions
- W30 - - Current Agricultural Small Areas
- W31 - - Current Non-National Park Area
- W32 - - Current Non-Strategic Regeneration Area
- W33 - - Current Communities First Areas
- W34 - - Current Non-Communities First Areas
- W36 - - Current Footprint Regions for Public Service Collaboration
- W42 - - Current City Regions

In 2019, the House of Commons Library proposed names instead of numeric codes for MSOAs to make them easier to use.

Nine-character GSS codesEdit

A full and up-to-date listing of GSS names and codes may be found by following the link to ONS Geography's Code History Database, below.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "New Geography Codes and Naming Policy implemented 1 January 2011". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  2. ^ "GSS Coding and Naming - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Output Areas". ONS.
  4. ^ "Super Output Areas". ONS.
  5. ^ "Register of Geographic Codes (RGC)". Coding and Naming for Statistical Geographies. ONS. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  6. ^ "ONS Geography Linked Data". Coding and Naming for Statistical Geographies. ONS. Retrieved 17 June 2017.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit