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Census 2021: Calculating data for wards in Local Insight

Census 2021: Calculating data for wards in Local Insight

All indicators in Local Insight are published at statistical area level, that is Output Area (OA), Lower layer Super Output Area (LSOA) and Middle layer Super Output Area (MSOA). To find out the smallest geography an indicator is published at, you can view the list of all indicators in Local Insight and filter by “Lowest Published Geography” (column H).

ONS published all small-area Census 2021 data at some or all of these geographies. The majority were published at OA level. For the 2021 census ONS also published data directly at the 2022 ward area level.

In Local Insight we calculate data for your wards by identifying the underlying constituent statistical areas (right down to OA level). This means that there will be slight differences in the values ONS has directly published for the 2022 wards and the values that Local Insight shows for the 2022 wards. This is not an error in the data, rather a reflection of the methodology used.

Why doesn’t Local Insight load in data published at ward level?

Most open data is published at OA, LSOA, or MSOA level. By using these statistical geographies we are able  to use a consistent approach to comparing indicators from multiple sources as well as a consistent approach to custom area aggregation. 

The statistical geographies only change every 10 years with each census (usually only 5% or fewer boundaries will actually change), whereas ward boundary changes can occur annually.  It’s unlikely that the ONS will re-release ward level Census 2021 data when ward boundaries change and so this data may become outdated quite quickly.

However, when ward boundaries change, we can easily upload the new boundaries to Local Insight as custom areas and data will automatically be aggregated for the new boundaries (based upon the underlying component areas). 

We are considering future development opportunities to address data being loaded into Local Insight directly at ward level. Get in touch with us on support@ocsi.co.uk if this is important to you.