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Classifying Other Geographies

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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 also 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 six 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. 

Data Zones

Data zones are the core geography used for the dissemination of small area statistics in Scotland[1].  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 location of their centroid, 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 zone 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

17,231

17,199

0

4

0

28

0

Other Urban Areas

12,789

2

12,745

1

0

41

0

Accessible Small Towns

3,631

1

0

3,578

0

50

2

Remote Small Towns

1,620

0

0

0

1,599

1

20

Accessible Rural

4,580

54

124

88

2

4,236

76

Remote Rural

2,753

0

0

4

37

89

2,623

Total

42,604

17,256

12,869

3,675

1,638

4,445

2,721

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: 

•  99.8% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Large Urban Areas

•  99.7% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Other Urban Areas

•  98.5% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Accessible Small Towns

•  98.7% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Remote Small Towns

•  92.3% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Accessible Rural

•  95.3% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Remote Rural

As is shown above, the degree of straddling is most apparent in Accessible and Remote Rural Areas.  This is the result of the fact that in urban areas (built up), it is the Settlement boundary that defines the edge of the classification boundary.  Settlements, being composed of postcodes, nest very well with Output Areas and Data Zones.  In areas designated as rural, there is no definitive ‘Settlement’ boundary, and therefore the accuracy of fit between the geographies is significantly decreased.

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 six categories.  Tables 5.2 and 5.3 below show the percent of population by Urban/Rural category for each Local Authority.  Some Local Authorities are predominantly urban, others are predominantly remote and rural whilst others are very diverse and have high proportions in many of the classifications. 

Tables showing the urban, rural and remoteness as a proportion of population have also been created for Health Boards and Scottish Parliamentary Constituencies.  These tables can be found in Annex 2.  Population statistics for Multi-Member Wards will also be available for download from the Urban/Rural Classification web page[2].

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

92.9

0.0

5.5

0.0

1.5

0.0

Aberdeenshire

0.0

26.0

10.2

11.0

36.8

15.9

Angus

7.8

52.9

11.6

0.0

27.0

0.8

Argyll & Bute

0.0

17.3

0.0

30.4

6.9

45.3

Clackmannanshire

0.0

57.8

27.9

0.0

14.3

0.0

Dumfries & Galloway

0.0

28.3

17.3

7.5

24.1

22.8

Dundee City

99.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.5

0.0

East Ayrshire

0.0

37.3

28.2

7.5

18.6

8.4

East Dunbartonshire

60.6

26.2

7.6

0.0

5.7

0.0

East Lothian

23.2

10.9

23.5

15.0

24.4

2.9

East Renfrewshire

86.7

0.0

9.4

0.0

3.9

0.0

Edinburgh, City of

96.4

0.0

2.5

0.0

1.1

0.0

Eilean Siar

0.0

0.0

0.0

21.6

0.0

78.4

Falkirk

0.0

89.4

2.0

0.0

8.6

0.0

Fife

0.0

65.8

14.6

0.0

19.6

0.0

Glasgow City

99.9

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.0

Highland

0.0

26.2

0.0

23.0

10.5

40.4

Inverclyde

0.0

86.3

7.9

0.0

5.7

0.0

Midlothian

0.0

68.4

14.8

0.0

16.8

0.0

Moray

0.0

24.3

27.3

5.1

29.9

13.4

North Ayrshire

0.0

70.5

18.8

0.0

5.8

4.9

North Lanarkshire

66.6

15.7

10.8

0.0

7.0

0.0

Orkney Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

32.5

0.0

67.5

Perth & Kinross

1.2

31.0

9.7

11.0

34.0

13.2

Renfrewshire

76.2

10.1

9.4

0.0

4.2

0.0

Scottish Borders

0.0

25.0

21.5

4.8

33.6

15.0

Shetland Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

29.2

0.0

70.8

South Ayrshire

0.0

67.7

4.2

6.0

18.0

4.1

South Lanarkshire

22.6

55.4

10.7

0.0

9.9

1.3

Stirling

0.0

52.3

13.4

0.0

26.9

7.4

West Dunbartonshire

49.4

49.2

0.0

0.0

1.4

0.0

West Lothian

0.0

81.1

8.7

0.0

10.2

0.0

Scotland

39.1

30.4

8.7

3.7

11.6

6.5

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

92.9

0.0

5.5

0.0

0.0

1.5

0.0

0.0

Aberdeenshire

0.0

26.0

10.2

11.0

0.0

36.8

14.6

1.3

Angus

7.8

52.9

11.6

0.0

0.0

27.0

0.7

0.0

Argyll & Bute

0.0

17.3

0.0

10.5

19.9

6.9

5.1

40.2

Clackmannanshire

0.0

57.8

27.9

0.0

0.0

14.3

0.0

0.0

Dumfries & Galloway

0.0

28.3

17.3

7.5

0.0

24.1

22.0

0.7

Dundee City

99.5

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.5

0.0

0.0

East Ayrshire

0.0

37.3

28.2

7.5

0.0

18.6

8.4

0.0

East Dunbartonshire

60.6

26.2

7.6

0.0

0.0

5.7

0.0

0.0

East Lothian

23.2

10.9

23.5

15.0

0.0

24.4

2.9

0.0

East Renfrewshire

86.7

0.0

9.4

0.0

0.0

3.9

0.0

0.0

Edinburgh, City of

96.4

0.0

2.5

0.0

0.0

1.1

0.0

0.0

Eilean Siar

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

21.6

0.0

0.0

78.4

Falkirk

0.0

89.4

2.0

0.0

0.0

8.6

0.0

0.0

Fife

0.0

65.8

14.6

0.0

0.0

19.6

0.0

0.0

Glasgow City

99.9

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.0

0.0

Highland

0.0

26.2

0.0

10.6

12.3

10.5

12.7

27.7

Inverclyde

0.0

86.3

7.9

0.0

0.0

5.7

0.0

0.0

Midlothian

0.0

68.4

14.8

0.0

0.0

16.8

0.0

0.0

Moray

0.0

24.3

27.3

5.1

0.0

29.9

12.9

0.6

North Ayrshire

0.0

70.5

18.8

0.0

0.0

5.8

1.0

3.8

North Lanarkshire

66.6

15.7

10.8

0.0

0.0

7.0

0.0

0.0

Orkney Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

32.5

0.0

0.0

67.5

Perth & Kinross

1.2

31.0

9.7

11.0

0.0

34.0

11.1

2.2

Renfrewshire

76.2

10.1

9.4

0.0

0.0

4.2

0.0

0.0

Scottish Borders

0.0

25.0

21.5

4.8

0.0

33.6

15.0

0.0

Shetland Islands

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

29.2

0.0

0.0

70.8

South Ayrshire

0.0

67.7

4.2

6.0

0.0

18.0

4.1

0.0

South Lanarkshire

22.6

55.4

10.7

0.0

0.0

9.9

1.3

0.0

Stirling

0.0

52.3

13.4

0.0

0.0

26.9

6.2

1.2

West Dunbartonshire

49.4

49.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.4

0.0

0.0

West Lothian

0.0

81.1

8.7

0.0

0.0

10.2

0.0

0.0

Scotland

39.1

30.4

8.7

2.4

1.2

11.6

3.4

3.1

 

 

 

 

 

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