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 2011 census geographies. This means that the maps you see on the site are showing the 2011 boundaries, and when you build up a custom area from standard areas such as LSOAs you are selecting 2011 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 use a lookup from new to old geographies. For example:
- If a single 2001 LSOA was split into three 2011 LSOAs, we can determine from the lookup table which areas the 2001 LSOA was split into, so we can include all of these 2011 LSOAs.
- If a 2001 LSOAs was merged with 1 or multiple other 2001 LSOAs to create a single 2011 LSOA, we cannot know whether to include the other 2001 geographies or not. In this case, Local Insight is ‘inclusive’ and therefore will include the entire 2011 LSOA.
Get in touch
We are keen to constantly improve Local Insight to match your needs, which is why we have updated our geographies from using 2001 boundaries to using 2011 boundaries. If you are looking to create areas using 2001 geographies specifically, and 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.