Multi-level integrated classifications based on the 2001 census
The purpose of this thesis is to describe and explain the processes and decisions that were involved in the creation of the National Area Classification of 2001 Census Output Areas (OAs). The thesis describes the creation of the classification: selection of the variables, assembly of the classification database, the methods of standardisation and the clustering procedures, together with some discussion of alternative methodologies that were considered for use. The processes used for creating the clusters, their naming and description are outlined. The classification is mapped and visualised in a number of different ways. In order to enable a classification of OAs to be possible the document starts with a review of the history of area classification and issues surrounding its future development. The methodological and theoretical issues in the creation of a classification system are also discussed. In order to test out the practicalitie s of creating a classification system, a classification of UK local authorities was created prior to the construction of the OA classification. The thesis describes the quality assurance procedures that the OA classification was put through. This included an innovative consultation exercise. This ensured that the classification was of enough quality and without error, enabling it to be published as a ‘National Statistic’. Examples of use of the classification are presented, outlining the value and relevance of the classification to social research. The OA classification is connected to other scales of classification to form a multi-scale classification system enabling the socio-demographic pattern of the UK to be examined at multiple scales. The project had to overcome numerous methodological issues due to the size of dataset that was used. The project used a new methodology to create the first free-to-use small scale classification of the UK. The classification was published as a ‘National Statistic’ on the 29th July 2005 and is freely available . The classification can be downloaded from the ONS website at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/about/methodology_by_theme/area_classification/oa/default.asp or via the School of Geography, University of Leeds website at: http://www.geog.leeds.ac.uk/people/d.vickers/OAclassinfo.html. Alternatively it can be ordered on CD by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. The publication of the classification as a ‘National Statistic’ has created a resource that can be used by private, public and academic researchers.