Statistical classifications and nomenclatures, are essential for the compilation of high quality statistical data. At international and national levels, different classifications are needed to cater for the diverse functions which statistics are required to perform. A variety of classifications have been developed to suit a wide range of statistical needs; each with a specific methodology and area of application, depending on the subject matter. The production of internationally comparable statistics requires uniform statistical definitions and harmonisation of the classifications used.

An integrated system of harmonised classifications provides the common statistical frameworks and definitions, essential to ensuring comparable statistical data across the UK, Europe and the world. The List of International and Allied Classifications (951 Kb Excel sheet) provides an inventory of commonly used integrated harmonised international and national classifications, used in the production of statistical data. The classifications are grouped by type and can be organised by acronym or short name and full title. Each classification has a dedicated information page, providing a range of metadata and details that include system description, scope of implementation, legal basis and contact information.

Classification of Products by Activity Version 2.1 (CPA Rev. 2.1)

The Statistical classification of products by activity, known as the CPA, is the classification of products (goods as well as services) at the level of the European Union (EU). Product classifications are designed to categorize products that have common characteristics. They provide the basis for collecting and calculating statistics on the production, distributive trade, consumption, international trade and transport of such products.

In November 2012, an update of the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA) was launched. The Regulation establishing CPA version 2.1 was adopted in October 2014, entering into force 1 January 2015. While some sections of the CPA have been aligned to the UN Central Product Classification and its new version 2.1 (commonly referred to as the CPC Ver.2.1) and the explanatory notes have been reviewed, the overall characteristics of the CPA remain unchanged.

The CPA has been aligned to updated concepts, such as the updated Frascati manual, resulting in restructuring of division 72 (Scientific research and development services). Services rendered to households have been introduced in appropriate parts of the CPA. Appropriate detail of the Classification of Types of Constructions (commonly referred to as the CC) has been integrated in division 41 (Buildings and building construction works). Detail has been added to reflect the further detail in various sections of the updated CPC Ver.2.1.

Simultaneously, the structure of the classification down to four digit level has not been changed, in order to maintain consistency with the structure of the activity classification, NACE Rev. 2.

The detail has increased, from 3.142 to 3.218 subcategories. The increase in detail primarily affected the lower level of the classification.

Since CPA version 2.1 is more detailed than CPA 2008, but the coding system remains the same, identical codes can be used in both versions of CPA but with different content, i.e. corresponding to different sections, divisions, groups, classes, categories and subcategories

CPA Ver. 2.1 Structure and explanatory notes

Correlation between CPA 2008 and CPA Ver. 2.1

For help and enquiries please contact:

Office for National Statistics
Classifications and Harmonisation Unit
Government Buildings
Cardiff Road
South Wales
NP10 8XG

Tel: +44 (0)1329 444970


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