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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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.
Data Zones are the core geography used for the dissemination of small area statistics in Scotland. 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.
|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||17,640||17,628||2||0||0||10||0|
|Other Urban Areas||15,640||0||15,605||0||0||34||1|
|Accessible Small Towns||3,856||0||1||3,819||0||34||2|
|Remote Small Towns||1,328||0||0||0||1,317||1||10|
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
- 99.7% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Other Urban Areas
- 99.0% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Accessible Small Towns
- 99.1% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Remote Small Towns
- 92.7% of Census Output Areas are correctly assigned to Accessible Rural
- 95.0% 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 section of the Scottish Government website.
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 section of the Scottish Government website.
|Local Authority||Large Urban||Other Urban||Accessible Small Towns||Remote Small Towns||Accessible Rural||Remote Rural|
|Argyll and Bute||0||17.7||4.3||30.4||4.4||43.2|
|Dumfries and Galloway||0||29.8||20.1||5||25||20.1|
|City of Edinburgh||96||2||1||0||1||0|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||0||0||0||27.5||0||72.5|
|Perth and Kinross||1.2||31.2||11||10.9||35||10.9|
|Local Authority||Large Urban||Other Urban||Accessible Small Towns||Remote Small Towns||Very Remote Small Towns||Accessible Rural||Remote Rural||Very Remote Rural|
|Argyll and Bute||0||17.7||4.3||0||30.4||4.4||5.2||38|
|Dumfries and Galloway||0||29.8||20.1||5||0||25||20||0|
|City of Edinburgh||96||2||1||0||0||1||0||0|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||0||0||0||0||27.5||0||0||72.5|
|Perth and Kinross||1.2||31.2||11||10.9||0||35||9.6||1.3|
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