Publication - Advice and guidance

Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2016

Published: 29 Mar 2018
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781788516204

2016 Urban Rural Classification. Classification identifying urban and rural areas based on settlement size and drive times. Update on 2013-2014 Classification.

25 page PDF

1.4 MB

Contents
Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2016
4 Significant Changes with this Release

4 Significant Changes with this Release

The Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification was last produced based on 2012 Settlements (2013-14 version). This updated version is reflective of 2016 Settlements. The differences between the classifications stem from changes to Settlement populations and Settlement boundaries and, to a lesser extent, changes to the road network. There have not been any major changes to the methodologies used to create Settlements or to measure accessibility from the previous version of the Urban Rural Classification.

Settlement Changes

The classification of a particular area will change if the Settlement population crosses the 3,000, 10,000 or 125,000 thresholds which are used to distinguish between urban and rural areas. Of the 519 Settlements identified in Scotland based on 2016 data, the population of ten had changed enough since 2012 to pass one of the key population thresholds, and one new settlement was added which passes a threshold. These changes are shown in Table 4.1 below.

Table 4.1: Changes between population categories, 2012 vs 2016 Settlements

Population

Settlement

Council area

2012

2016

Increased to more than 3,000:

Blackburn

Aberdeenshire

2,980

3,050

Conon Bridge and Maryburgh

Highland

2,890

3,140

Garelochhead

Argyll & Bute

2,110

3,700

Laurencekirk

Aberdeenshire

2,920

3,040

Leuchars and Guardbridge

Fife

2,860

3,090

Winchburgh

West Lothian

2,500

3,040

Increased to more than 10,000:

Dalgety Bay

Fife

9,810

10,050

Forres

Moray

9,900

10,100

Kilsyth

North Lanarkshire

9,860

10,080

Prestonpans

East Lothian

9,490

10,410

New settlements between 10,000 and 125,000:

Barrhead

East Renfrewshire

-

17,610

These changes in population impacted the total number of centroids used for the drive time calculations. There were a total of 65 centroids used to calculate drive times in the 2013-14 classification. This increased to 69 centroids for the 2016 classification. The difference was due to the addition of five Settlement centroids for Barrhead, Dalgety Bay, Forres, Kilsyth, and Prestonpans. Barrhead was part of Greater Glasgow Settlement in 2012, but has been split from Greater Glasgow by low-density postcodes in the 2016 Settlements. The other four additional Settlement centroids are all included due to their populations increasing above the 10,000 threshold between 2012 and 2016, making them eligible for inclusion in the drive time calculations. The biggest impact on service areas appears to be the addition of Forres, creating noticeably increased accessibility in this part of the country.

Road Network Changes

Due to the fact that the drive time analyses are based on average speeds applied by road type to the whole country, the results will not be impacted by improvements made to sections of existing roads, e.g. widening a motorway to ease localised congestion. Unless there are new roads, the network used for the 2016 Classification will behave exactly the same as in the 2013-14 Classification, as both are based on the same average speeds. There were no noticeable drive time boundary changes due to any new roads.

Analysis of Data Zone changes

One of the most common uses of the Classification is the assignment of urban rural categories to Data Zones, which is the core geography used for the dissemination of small area statistics in Scotland[2]. It is therefore interesting to note the changes in category assignments between versions of the classifications, particularly Data Zones which swap between the 2-fold categories of Rest of Scotland and Rural Scotland. There are 6,976 Data Zones 2011 in Scotland. Each Data Zone has been assigned to an urban rural category based upon the location of its population weighted centroid. There are 28 which have changed from being classified as Rural in 2013-14 to Urban in 2016 (i.e. less than 0.5 per cent of all Data Zones). These changes are mostly due to the centroids for these Data Zones being located within Settlements which have passed the 3,000 population threshold since 2013-14 (see Table 4.1 above). There were also a small number of Settlement boundary changes which impacted the assignment of Data Zones, including two Data Zones which changed from being classified as Urban in 2013-14 to Rural in 2016.


Contact

Email: Geographic Information Science & Analysis Team