The 2011 Area Classification for Output Areas (2011 Output Area Classification or 2011 OAC) was released by the Office for National Statistics at 9.30am on the 18th July 2014.
Documentation, downloads and other information regarding the 2011 OAC are available from the official ONS webpage: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/geography/products/area-classifications/ns-area-classifications/ns-2011-area-classifications/index.html.
Further information and a larger array of 2011 OAC resources can also be found at http://www.opengeodemographics.com.
Additionally, an interactive map of the 2011 OAC is available at http://public.cdrc.ac.uk.
For the 2011 release it has been agreed that a less centralised version of the OAC User Group will be beneficial. The new home of the OAC User Group is located at https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/111157299976084744069 and enables a more decentralised way of organising meetings / events or accessing supporting materials. If you have any questions or comments regarding the classification then this is the place to visit.
This means areaclassification.org.uk will no longer be maintained. There will be no future posts and no upkeep of links or other materials currently available. Any bookmarks you have for this page should be redirected to http://www.opengeodemographics.com
A joint project has been set up between ONS and University College London to develop a new UK Output Area Classification, for which we are seeking your views and thoughts. The new Output Area Classification is planned to be created using 2011 Census data, when available, and is relevant to anyone interested in social area classifications, encompassing geodemographics and neighbourhood classifications.
A user engagement exercise began on 17 February 2012 and runs until 30 March 2012. For further information, and details on how to respond to this user engagement exercise, please see the ONS webpage for User Engagement on a new United Kingdom Output Area Classification or alternatively you can download the User Engagement form direct from here.
If you would like to see some of the initial work that has been undertaken by Chris Gale, a UCL research student whose PhD is focussing on creating this new Output Area Classification, then please click here.
Many OAC User Group members will be delighted to learn that not only has ONS coded its Wealth and Assets Survey with OAC, but there’s a paper “Exploring the geographical distribution of wealth using the output area classification” in the latest Economic & Labour Market Review (Jan 2011). http://www.statistics.gov.uk/articles/elmr/elmr-jan11.pdf – pages 59-78.
You’ll see some dramatic profiles of the variations in Total, Property, Pension, Financial and Physical Wealth by neighbourhood type.This follows the initial publication of a 174-page report on the Wealth and Assets Survey at the end of 2009: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/Product.asp?vlnk=15074
Researcher Oliver O’Brien at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) has just published a new version of the national OAC Map to Maptube. This is now enhanced with Group labels, along with clickable details on each Ouptut Area. Many thanks Ollie! Map is available here.
The 2010 Family Spending report is available here and presents a series of interesting OAC profiles.
“The supergroups with the highest expenditure are supergroups 2 (city living) and 4 (prospering suburbs), spending an average of £457.90 and £454.10 per week, respectively, followed by supergroup 3 (countryside), with expenditure of £433.70. Supergroup 5 (constrained by circumstances) showed the lowest expenditure at £269.20 followed by supergroup 1 (blue collar communities)….”
Weekly spending is also broken down into a series of categories:
Food & non-alcoholic drinks; Alcoholic drinks, tobacco & narcotics; Clothing & footwear ; Housing , fuel & power; Household goods & services; Health; Transport; Communication Recreation & culture; Education; Restaurants & hotels; Miscellaneous goods & services.
See page 117 onwards from the ONS report located here.
There are 3 interesting papers on OAC in the current issue of the Journal of Maps:
Visualising the Output Area Classification ( http://www.journalofmaps.com/crossrefMap.php?mid=1102)
Mapping the geodemographic classifications of migrants’ origins and destinations (http://www.journalofmaps.com/crossrefMap.php?mid=1106)
Rectangular Hierarchical Cartograms for Socio-Economic Data (http://www.journalofmaps.com/crossrefMap.php?mid=1090)
The final paper has also appeared as a piece in the Telegraph recently on ‘social tribes’ – available here.
Thanks to Jo Wood, Aidan Slingsby and Jason Dykes for the image, created the map as part of their work at City University London’s giCentre.
What is the OACoder Software?
The OAC classification has previously been disseminated by the ONS at the Output Area Level. For a lot of users this has been problematic given that address records typically consist of lists of unit postcodes. A recent development at the ONS has created an open licence version of the National Statistics Postcode Directory (NSPD), which usefully includes an OAC Code for each unit postcode in the UK. Researchers at University College London and University of Liverpool have created a free tool which uses this file and can read a CSV list of postcodes, and then append the corresponding OAC code for each of these addresses.
How do I get the Software?
The good news is that this tool is free to use – the only requirement being that you agree to the terms of a license as part of a short software request form. This is available here.
We have just finished compiling version 1.0 of the OAC grand index. This is a tool which we hope you will find useful in its current form, however, we will be adding more data in the future as and when this becomes available. For this first edition we would like to thank Daryl Lloyd – Department for Transport and Mike Hare - British Population Survey for their very generous contributions of data; and furthermore, Daniel Lewis and Alex Singleton for compilation the spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet is available in Microsoft Excel format and available to download here.
What is a grand index?
A grand index is a simple spreadsheet of index scores for a series of variables cross tabulated with OAC Sub Groups, Groups and Super Groups. These index scores can be used to target specific OAC clusters in your profiling work. For example, you could ask which neighbourhoods in your local area are likely to contain users of social networking websites?
Many thanks to all those who attended our OAC User Group Annual Conference, and additional thanks to all of our speakers. The slides from the talks have all been uploaded to slideshare:
Introduction. Alex Singleton: University of Liverpool
OAC in an age of austerity. John Fisher: Local Futures
Using geo-demographic classifications for customer insight. Miranda Webb and Andrew Rudd: Worcestershire County Council
Married to MOSAIC or could we have an affair with OAC? Steven Rose: Birmingham City Council
The British Population Survey – an introduction to a new perspective. Mike Hare: The BPS
How The British Population Survey can enhance geodemographics. Martin Callingham: Birkbeck College
Open Data, Free Tools. Alex Singleton: University of Liverpool and Daniel Lewis: University College London
We at the OAC User Group feel that implementing a standard set of colours would help OAC. It would make it easier to share data visualisations, such as graphs and maps if the groups were directly comparable by colour, and would give OAC a branded feel, bringing it in line with other commercial classifications.
As such, we have tabulated a colour set that was designed by Martin Callingham, and is currently in use by the people at localfutures. We recommend you use it, although of course you are not required to.
The colour specifications, in RGB, HSV, Hex and CMYK are available in the attached excel file, inputting these values will allow you to visualise OAC in a uniform way. We will look to harmonise all our future releases in line with these colours.
Download OAC colours excel spreadsheet: OAC_Colours