Released in August 2005, the National Area Classification project was carried out on behalf of ONS by the University of Leeds. The classification was created from 41 Key Statistics Census variables and classifies all of the 223,060 Output Areas in the United Kingdom. The classification is structured as a three-tier hierarchy (or clusters) consisting of 7 Supergroups, 21 Groups and 52 Subgroups. To facilitate easy access to this data it has been processed and made available through SASPAC.
The data can be accessed in much the same way as existing Census datasets in SASPAC. It is possible to combine the Output Area Classification (OAC) with existing census variables, select only Output Areas that are described as a specific classification or output and map the OAC using MapShore. The classifications are stored as 12 SASPAC System files (below) that represent the different regions in the UK (9 English regions, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). A User Guidance Note (UGN GE-03 (pdf 1.3MB)) has been produced with some example exercises that you may wish to carryout using SASPAC and the OAC data.
The OAC User Group (OACUG) was formed in late 2006 and aims to promote the use of OAC and other area classifications. For more details, including a newsletter, events, data sources and related papers visit their website.
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