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Rural/Urban Local Authority (LA) Classification (England)

The LA Classification was introduced in 2005 as a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) initiative and was delivered by the Rural Evidence Research Centre at Birkbeck College (RERC).
Many statistics are only available at Local Authority level.

In order to differentiate between Rural and Urban for these statistics it is necessary to classify the LAs based on their rurality.

There are six urban/rural classifications; defined as follows:

  • Major Urban: districts with either 100,000 people or 50 per cent of their population in urban areas with a population of more than 750,000

  • Large Urban: districts with either 50,000 people or 50 per cent of their population in one of 17 urban areas with a population between 250,000 and 750,000

  • Other Urban: districts with fewer than 37,000 people or less than 26 per cent of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns

  • Significant Rural: districts with more than 37,000 people or more than 26 per cent of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns

  • Rural-50: districts with at least 50 per cent but less than 80 per cent of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns

  • Rural-80: districts with at least 80 per cent of their population in rural settlements and larger market towns

2009 update to the LA Classification

In April 2009 significant local government reorganisation 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.

Product details

The LA classification (England only) is available for the following geographies:

  • Local Authority - available for both post-April 2009 and pre-April 2009

  • Primary Care Organisations (PCO)

  • NUTS3

  • Parliamentary Constituencies

  • County - available from the Higher Geographies Dataset

  • Fire and Rescue Authority - available from the Higher Geographies Dataset

  • Police Authority - available from the Higher Geographies Dataset

  • Waste Authority - available from the Higher Geographies Dataset

  • Transport Authority - available from the Higher Geographies Dataset

For more information on the geographies see the Beginner's Guide to UK Geography. See Related links.

Files (XLS format) and guidance (PDF format) can be downloaded free of charge - see Downloads.

In addition, Technical Guides (April 2009 and Original) and an Introductory Paper are available from the DEFRA website. See External links.

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.