Reference maps

Reference maps for the areas used to present Census results are viewable online, with the exception of postal geography which does not have precise boundaries.

These are of two types.

First, PDFs of reference maps in Census reports (check the 'contents' to find the maps), together with similar PDFs which are part of background information provided by ONS Geography - which generally show the larger areas within the whole country or quite large parts of it, without detailed topographical underlays. The former show boundaries and names as they were at the reference date for the Census results, and the latter show the areas as they are currently.

Second, local views of the boundaries of smaller areas overlain on topographical base maps are available through Neighbourhood Statistics or Nomis, which are very helpful in pin pointing the results for and selecting a local area, and displaying figures for it. There are also maps of the boundaries of larger areas such as local authorities. The 'Customised Tables , Charts, and Maps' option on the Neighbourhood Statistics homepage provides access to the maps, particularly for wards, parishes/communities, and Output Areas, and there is introductory guidance. Nomis offers views of maps, particularly for wards and Output Areas, in both 'wizard' and 'advanced' queries as part of the 'geography' step after activating 'turn maps on'.

Viewable maps of boundaries

Viewable maps are available without charge through Neighbourhood Statistics as:

  • reference maps

  • an entry route to the Census results

Local authority, health area, electoral area, ward, parish/community, Output Area and Super Output Area boundaries are viewable at appropriate scales on Ordnance Survey topographical base maps.

The largest scale viewable in Neighbourhood Statistics is the 1:10,000 map which shows many street names, although parts of an Output Area boundary may be off screen at the maximum zoom, particularly in rural areas.

Maps of wards and Output Areas boundaries on Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 scale topographical base maps are also viewable through the Nomis service.

Hard copies of Census boundaries overlaid on topographic base maps can be provided as A3 sheets at the cost of reproducing the maps, including royalties to Ordnance Survey, from Census Customer Services.

Vector boundaries

Files of vector (re-usable) boundaries of Output Areas in England and Wales are available, generally without charge, to users who wish to set up the boundaries in their own geographical information systems. Additional software is required to view and use the vector boundaries.

Lookup tables

These directories give the Output Areas which form higher geographies and the postcodes which formed each Output Area around the time of the Census. They may be used to aggregate results for Output Areas to higher areas or to link non-census data coded to postcodes to the 'denominators' provided by Census statistics. The products are generally supplied without charge, although material costs may be recovered.

How to find or order products

More information about how to find geographic products online - on Neighbourhood Statistics or on Nomis - or on how to order products can be found in the Census product catalogue land related links.