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National Statistics Postcode Products

The ONS Postcode Directory (ONSPD) is a key ONS Geography product and is used by a variety of customers, including central and local government, private industry and academia.

It links all current and terminated UK postcodes to the administrative, health and other geographic areas in which each postcode falls.

Users should note that postcodes that straddle two geographic areas will be assigned to the area where the mean grid reference of all the addresses within the postcode falls.

The ONSPD is a Gridlink® branded product that pulls together data from members of the Gridlink® Consortium (Royal Mail, Ordnance Survey, National Records of Scotland, Land & Property Services (Northern Ireland) and ONS).

The National Statistics Postcode Lookup (NSPL) should be used by producers of National Statistics to allocate their source statistics at postcode level to a wide range of higher geographies.

The NSPL does this by allocating UK postcodes to output areas (OA) using the same methodology as that for the ONSPD. These OAs are then referenced to a wide range of higher geographies, for example local authorities, by a best-fit methodology that uses census population data.

The methodology used within the NSPL to allocate postcodes to higher geographies is different from that used in the ONSPD. See 'download' panel for further details.

Two NSPL versions are currently available - one based on 2001 output areas and one based on 2011 Census output areas. Both are included in the NSPL download. 

Information on the latest postcode changes is available on the Royal Mail website.

The ONSPD and NSPL are available at 1 metre resolution with UK coverage.

Product details

Postcode products are released quarterly in February, May, August and November and are available to download (please see Availability and cost below).

For licensing details please see 'Related Links'

Postcode products are provided in all the following formats: TXT, CSV DBF and MDB.

Version Notes and a User Guide, providing comprehensive information about the products, are included with the data.

TXT - fixed record length with no text qualifiers.

CSV - Variable record length with data items delimited by commas and qualified with double quotes.

DBF - Dbase IV format data, with column headings

MDB - MS Access 2000

Multi-csv - one file per postcode area (for ease of use in commercial spreadsheet packages)

Availability and cost

Products are available as a zipped download free of charge, or by special request on disk at a cost of £50 + VAT per CD / DVD in line with the ONS charging policy - please contact ONS Geography for details.


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