Wherever possible, the Rural Urban Classification is used to distinguish rural and urban areas. The Classification defines areas as rural if they fall outside of settlements with more than 10,000 resident population. For the smallest geography areas, the classification assigns them to one of four urban or six rural categories:
Rural: Hamlets and Isolated Dwellings
Rural: Hamlets and Isolated Dwellings in a sparse setting
Rural: Village in a sparse setting
Rural: Town and Fringe
Rural: Town and Fringe in a sparse setting
Urban: City and Town
Urban: City and Town in a sparse setting
Urban: Minor Conurbation
Urban: Major Conurbation
Those described as “in a sparse setting” reflect where the wider area is remotely populated.
When data are not available at a small enough geographical scale, it may be possible to apply the Rural Urban Local Authority Classification. This classification categorises districts and unitary authorities on a six point scale, based on the share of the resident population that resides in rural areas. The six categories are:
Mainly Rural (80% or more of the population resides in rural areas)
Largely Rural (Between 50% and 79% of the population resides in rural areas)
Urban with Significant Rural (Between 26% and 49% of the population resides in rural areas)
Urban City and Town
Urban with Minor Conurbation
Urban with Major Conurbation
Lookup tables have been produced to ease the use of the 2011 Rural Urban Classification for all geographies in further analyses. Each lookup table consists of a spreadsheet with the full list of areas for each geography and both of the accompanying detailed and simple 2011 Rural Urban Classification.
Additional description of RUC in page description.
Reorganised the 2011 Rural Classification guidance documents.
Added lookup tables for the rural classification for both small area geographies, local authority districts and other higher geographies.