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Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2016

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5. Classifying Other Geographies and Land Area calculations

The Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification can be used to classify other geographies as urban, rural and remote. However, due to the detail of the boundaries, a direct link to the classification is only advisable to geographies that are smaller in area. As part of creating the classification, the Scottish Government provides look-up tables for postcodes, Census Output Areas and Data Zones to the Urban Rural Classification. When applying the classification to other geographies, users are encouraged to make use of the smallest geography possible (i.e. postcodes).

Where larger geographies are concerned (i.e. Local Authority), it is more meaningful to show the proportion of the population living in each of the 6- and 8-fold categories. Applying the classification rigidly to these geographies would result in the detail of the classification being lost in aggregation, and likely result in Scotland appearing more urban than it is in reality.

DataZones

Data Zones are the core geography used for the dissemination of small area statistics in Scotland[3]. Each Data Zone has been assigned to an urban rural category based upon the location of its population weighted centroid. Data Zones were not designed to nest within the urban rural classification and as a result some Data Zones do straddle the classification boundaries. Therefore, it may be possible to have postcodes and Output Areas that belong to one urban rural category when classified based on the locations of their centroids, but belong to another class when the Data Zone in which they are located is used to classify them. To illustrate, Table 5.1 below measures the degree of straddling in terms of Output Areas that are classified differently based upon the Data Zones that they fall within.

Table 5.1: Urban Rural Classification of Output Areas by centroid location and Data Zone classification

Output Area Classification, based on Data Zone classification

Output Area Classification, based upon centroid location

Large Urban Areas

Other Urban Areas

Accessible Small Towns

Remote Small Towns

Accessible Rural

Remote Rural

Large Urban Areas

16,362

16,351

0

2

0

9

0

Other Urban Areas

16,623

0

16,585

1

0

36

1

Accessible Small Towns

3,822

0

1

3,786

0

35

0

Remote Small Towns

1,707

0

0

0

1,692

0

15

Accessible Rural

4,992

43

153

102

11

4,592

91

Remote Rural

2,845

0

0

3

37

110

2,695

Total

46,351

16,394

16,739

3,894

1,740

4,782

2,802

The effect of straddling can also be expressed by the percentage of Output Areas which are assigned to the same category under their centroid classification and their classification based upon the Data Zone in which they are located:

  • 99.9% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Large Urban Areas
  • 99.8% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Other Urban Areas
  • 99.1% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Accessible Small Towns
  • 99.1% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Remote Small Towns
  • 92.0% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Accessible Rural
  • 94.7% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Remote Rural

As shown above, the degree of straddling is most apparent in Accessible and Remote Rural Areas. This is the result of the fact that Data Zones can be very large in rural areas, in order to meet the minimum population threshold, and therefore are more likely to straddle the drive time areas and Settlement boundaries.

Classification of higher geographies

Where larger geographies are concerned, the classification can be used to show the degree of urbanity, rurality and remoteness as a proportion of the population living within each of the 6- and 8-fold categories. Tables 5.2 and 5.3 below show the percent of population by Urban Rural category for each Local Authority.

Tables showing the proportion of the population living within each of the 6- and 8-fold categories for Health Boards, Scottish Parliamentary Constituencies, Westminster Parliamentary Constituencies, and Multi-Member Wards will also be available for download from the Urban Rural Classification web page, http://www.gov.scot/urbanrural.

Land area

As well as calculating the proportion of the population within each of the Urban Rural categories, it is also possible to calculate the proportion of the land area covered by each category. Tables on the land area for the 2-, 3-, 6- and 8-fold Urban Rural Classifications are available for download from the Urban Rural Classification web page, http://www.gov.scot/urbanrural.

Table 5.2: Percent of population in each 6-fold Urban Rural category, by Local Authority

Local Authority

Large Urban Areas

Other Urban Areas

Accessible Small Towns

Remote Small Towns

Accessible Rural

Remote Rural

Aberdeen City

93.4

0.0

5.3

0.0

1.4

0.0

Aberdeenshire

0.0

30.4

14.4

6.8

35.0

13.4

Angus

7.6

53.9

11.6

0.0

26.1

0.7

Argyll & Bute

0.0

17.9

4.2

30.6

4.2

43.0

Clackmannanshire

0.0

40.4

45.0

0.0

14.6

0.0

Dumfries & Galloway

0.0

29.7

17.4

7.7

24.2

20.9

Dundee City

99.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.5

0.0

East Ayrshire

0.0

42.0

19.1

10.3

20.6

8.0

East Dunbartonshire

60.1

27.4

7.4

0.0

5.1

0.0

East Lothian

23.2

21.7

14.0

15.3

23.8

2.0

East Renfrewshire

68.6

18.8

9.1

0.0

3.5

0.0

Edinburgh, City of

96.2

0.0

2.8

0.0

1.0

0.0

Falkirk

0.0

90.0

2.0

0.0

8.0

0.0

Fife

0.0

67.1

15.4

0.0

17.5

0.0

Glasgow City

99.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.4

0.0

Highland

0.0

31.3

4.2

17.0

9.5

37.9

Inverclyde

0.0

85.5

12.5

0.0

2.0

0.0

Midlothian

0.0

77.2

8.8

0.0

14.1

0.0

Moray

0.0

36.3

8.2

14.0

29.8

11.8

Na h-Eileanan Siar

0.0

0.0

0.0

27.6

0.0

72.4

North Ayrshire

0.0

72.0

18.8

0.0

4.9

4.3

North Lanarkshire

1.9

81.6

8.5

0.0

8.1

0.0

Orkney Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

34.0

0.0

66.0

Perth & Kinross

1.2

31.5

10.3

10.9

33.2

12.9

Renfrewshire

76.0

9.9

9.4

0.0

4.7

0.0

Scottish Borders

0.0

25.1

22.0

6.0

36.1

10.7

Shetland Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

29.6

0.0

70.4

South Ayrshire

0.0

68.7

4.1

5.7

17.5

4.0

South Lanarkshire

19.0

59.6

10.7

0.0

9.2

1.6

Stirling

0.0

53.2

13.4

0.0

26.6

6.9

West Dunbartonshire

48.2

50.6

0.0

0.0

1.3

0.0

West Lothian

0.0

82.0

9.7

0.0

8.3

0.0

Scotland

34.6

36.2

8.5

3.5

11.2

5.9

Table 5.3: Percent of population in each 8-fold Urban Rural category, by Local Authority

Local Authority

Large Urban Areas

Other Urban Areas

Access. Small Towns

Remote Small Towns

Very Remote Small Towns

Access. Rural

Remote Rural

Very Remote Rural

Aberdeen City

93.4

0.0

5.3

0.0

0.0

1.4

0.0

0.0

Aberdeenshire

0.0

30.4

14.4

6.8

0.0

35.0

12.3

1.1

Angus

7.6

53.9

11.6

0.0

0.0

26.1

0.7

0.0

Argyll & Bute

0.0

17.9

4.2

0.0

30.6

4.2

5.4

37.6

Clackmannanshire

0.0

40.4

45.0

0.0

0.0

14.6

0.0

0.0

Dumfries & Galloway

0.0

29.7

17.4

7.7

0.0

24.2

20.8

0.1

Dundee City

99.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.5

0.0

0.0

East Ayrshire

0.0

42.0

19.1

10.3

0.0

20.6

8.0

0.0

East Dunbartonshire

60.1

27.4

7.4

0.0

0.0

5.1

0.0

0.0

East Lothian

23.2

21.7

14.0

15.3

0.0

23.8

2.0

0.0

East Renfrewshire

68.6

18.8

9.1

0.0

0.0

3.5

0.0

0.0

Edinburgh, City of

96.2

0.0

2.8

0.0

0.0

1.0

0.0

0.0

Falkirk

0.0

90.0

2.0

0.0

0.0

8.0

0.0

0.0

Fife

0.0

67.1

15.4

0.0

0.0

17.5

0.0

0.0

Glasgow City

99.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.4

0.0

0.0

Highland

0.0

31.3

4.2

9.2

7.8

9.5

14.1

23.8

Inverclyde

0.0

85.5

12.5

0.0

0.0

2.0

0.0

0.0

Midlothian

0.0

77.2

8.8

0.0

0.0

14.1

0.0

0.0

Moray

0.0

36.3

8.2

14.0

0.0

29.8

11.7

0.1

Na h-Eileanan Siar

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

27.6

0.0

0.0

72.4

North Ayrshire

0.0

72.0

18.8

0.0

0.0

4.9

1.0

3.3

North Lanarkshire

1.9

81.6

8.5

0.0

0.0

8.1

0.0

0.0

Orkney Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

34.0

0.0

0.0

66.0

Perth & Kinross

1.2

31.5

10.3

10.9

0.0

33.2

11.5

1.4

Renfrewshire

76.0

9.9

9.4

0.0

0.0

4.7

0.0

0.0

Scottish Borders

0.0

25.1

22.0

6.0

0.0

36.1

10.7

0.0

Shetland Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

29.6

0.0

0.0

70.4

South Ayrshire

0.0

68.7

4.1

5.7

0.0

17.5

4.0

0.0

South Lanarkshire

19.0

59.6

10.7

0.0

0.0

9.2

1.6

0.0

Stirling

0.0

53.2

13.4

0.0

0.0

26.6

5.7

1.1

West Dunbartonshire

48.2

50.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.3

0.0

0.0

West Lothian

0.0

82.0

9.7

0.0

0.0

8.3

0.0

0.0

Scotland

34.6

36.2

8.5

2.3

1.2

11.2

3.2

2.8