Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2020

The Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification provides a consistent way of defining urban and rural areas across Scotland. The classification is based upon two main criteria: population and accessibility.

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1. Introduction

The Scottish Government is committed to improving its understanding of life in rural Scotland. The Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division works to continuously improve evidence available on rural communities.

We understand that issues such as transport, education and health can have a distinct impact on rural communities and reflect this when developing or implementing policy. To do this we need accurate and up-to-date information on our rural communities, and our main tool to identify rural communities is the Urban Rural Classification. This classification aids in developing our understanding of the issues facing urban, rural and remote Scotland.

The Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification (version 2020, which updates the 2016 version) was first released in 2000 and is consistent with the Government's core definition of rurality which defines Settlements of less than 3,000 people to be rural. It also classifies areas as remote based on drive times from Settlements of 10,000 or more people. The definitions of urban and rural areas underlying the classification are unchanged.

The publication includes background information, methodology and guidance on the use of the classification, and also the geographic information to allow analysts to use the classification in their research.

The wider dissemination and use of the classification will improve the evidence base on urban, rural, and remote Scotland.

Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division

Scottish Government

May 2022



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