The Rural/Urban Definition and LA Classification were developed following the 2001 Census to produce a rural/urban view from Government Statistics.
Where data are below the LA level the Definition must be used to produce rural and urban totals.
Where LA level data are the lowest available then the LA Classification should be used.
Users are encouraged to read the 'Rural and Urban Statistics Guidance Notes' in Downloads for further information on how to use the Definition and LA Classification.
Note: the Definition covers England and Wales, while the LA Classification covers England only.
For information on the classification of Welsh local authorities, and urban and rural classifications in Scotland and Northern Ireland please see External links.
The Rural/Urban Definition was introduced in 2004 and defines the rurality of very small 2001 Census based geographies.
Four settlement types are identified and assigned to either a 'sparse' or 'less sparse' regional setting to give eight classes of Output Areas.
The Definition also applies to Super Output Areas and wards, but with a reduced number of settlement types.
For further information and product downloads please see the Rural/Urban Definition page.
The LA Classification was introduced in 2005 in order to differentiate between rural and urban for those statistics that are only available at LA level.
It provides six classifications.
Significant local government reorganisation in April 2009 meant that a change to the LA classification methodology was required.
Additional classifications using the revised methodology have been created for a range of higher level geographies.