2011 Census Scottish boundary data


In preparation for the next Census release for Scotland on 14 November (release 2B), the SASPAC team have prepared a series of boundary files to assist users. Our Scottish geography page now contains boundaries in  Mapshore (BDY), MapInfo (TAB) and ESRI (SHP) formats, as well links to a number of other useful geographic resources. Boundaries are available for the following hierarchies:


  • 2011 Census Output Areas
  • 2011 Local Characteristic Sectors
  • 2011 Detailed Characteristic Sectors
  • 2001 Data zones
  • 2001 Intermediate zones
  • Electoral Wards
  • Council Areas

Boundary data is downloadable as; a single file for all Scottish zones (split by hierarchy); a single file containing Council Area folders split by hierarchy; and a separate file for each Council. – allowing users to download all the boundaries just for their Council area if necessary.

Update to Scottish Census Release 1C (Part 2)


On the 15 August NRS released usual resident/household estimates for postcodes, output areas (OA), data zones and inhabited islands. To support these outputs, OA boundaries, postcode to OA and OA to higher area lookup files were also published. However, NRS have just announced an issue with the OA coding applied and they will be replacing these files with revised datasets within the next two weeks. As a result these files have been temporarily removed from the website.

Unlike in England and Wales, NRS renamed all the 2011 Census OA codes in Scotland so they ran sequentially within each council area, however, the error means that this is not always the case. Although physical OA boundaries and population/household estimates will not be altered, the OAs will be recoding to correct this issue.  NRS will be providing a ‘current 2011 OA’ to ‘new OA’ lookup table to assist users. NRS Geography Customer Services will contact users when this data is available but can be contacted for any further information.

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Census boundary downloads


SASPAC have made available 2011 Census Output Area and Super Output Area (LSOA/MSOA) digital boundaries in Mapshore (.bdy), MapInfo (.tab) and ESRI (.shp) file LSOA-Vizformats. Individual Local Authority files have been created from the national (full resolution, extent of the realm) England and Wales file released by ONS. In addition to the boundaries, MapInfo and ESRI file formats include summary Census statistics to allow users to easily map the data.

Digital boundaries are supplied under the Open Government Licence and Ordnance Survey OpenData Licence, appropriate copyright statements must be used when reproducing or using this material – see the ONS website for more details.

2011 Census boundaries, spatial data and lookups


ONS have now published the 2011 Census boundaries for Output Areas (OAs), Lower layer Super OAs and Middle layer Super OAs.

2011 Census boundary files (.shp) for OAs, LSOAs and MSOAs may be downloaded from here.

2001 Census boundary files (.shp) for OAs, LSOAs and MSOAs may be downloaded from here.

2001 to 2011 Census geography OAs, LSOAs and MSOAs lookup files from here.

2011 OA to higher area lookup files from here.

Postcodes to OAs, LSOAs and  MSOAs from here.

2011 Census median population weighted centroid files (.shp) for OA, LSOA and MSOAs datasets from here .

2.6 per cent of 2001 OAs have changed as a result of the 2011 Census, 1.1 per cent of LSOA and 0.1 per cent of MSOAs. The average population in an OA has increased, from 297 in 2001 to 309 in 2011.