Geographic areas on Local Insight use the 2001 census geographies

One method of creating custom areas on Local Insight is by building up from standard areas such as local authorities, Lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs), Middle layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) and so on. You can alternatively draw a boundary on the map for any area, which is then matched to the finer-grained Output Area (OA) geography.

The OA, LSOA and MSOA geographies were originally developed to publish data for the Census in 2001. For the 2011 Census, some of the geographical areas were changed to account for significant shifts in the population from 2001 to 2011. This change affected 5% of all areas. For more information on why and how the areas changed check out this page on the Office of National Statistics.

On Local Insight we use the 2001 census geographies. This means that the maps you see on the site are showing the 2001 boundaries, and when you build-up a custom area from standard areas such as LSOAs you are selecting 2001 boundaries.

How does Local Insight account for the difference between the 2001 and 2011 areas?

  • For the >95% of areas that are unchanged, published data can be used as needed for both the old or new geographies.
  • For the <5% of areas that have changed, we have produced a weighted lookup from new to old geographies. For example, if a single 2001 LSOA was split into three 2011 LSOAs, we produce a population-weighted sum from the 2011 LSOAs to the 2001 LSOA. We use this to provide estimates for the IMD 2015 and other datasets.

Future development - Get in touch

We are keen to constantly improve Local Insight to match your needs. Although users have not told us that moving to 2011 geographies is a high priority, if this issue causes you a significant headache then let us know. We would love to hear from you, so please do share how you approach the different geographies in your own work or let us know what you’d like to see developed next for Local Insight.


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