ONS Classification of Areas

The Office of National Statistics classify postcodes in a three level hierarchy. The map below clusters postcodes into areas for each level of the hierarchy

The top level supergroups are:

Rural residents

The population of this supergroup live in rural areas that are far less densely populated compared with elsewhere in the country. They will tend to live in large detached properties which they own and work in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries. The level of unemployment in these areas is below the national average. Each household is likely to have multiple motor vehicles, and these will be the preferred method of transport to their places of work. The population tends to be older, married and well educated. An above average proportion of the population in these areas provide unpaid care and an above average number of people live in communal establishments (most likely to be retirement homes). There is less ethnic integration in these areas and households tend to speak English or Welsh as their main language.

 

Cosmopolitans

The majority of the population in this supergroup live in densely populated urban areas. They are more likely to live in flats and communal establishments, and private renting is more prevalent than nationally. The group has a high ethnic integration, with an above average number of residents from EU accession countries coinciding with a below average proportion of persons stating their country of birth as the UK or Ireland. A result of this is that households are less likely to speak English or Welsh as their main language. The population of the group is characterised by young adults, with a higher proportion of single adults and households without children than nationally. There are also higher proportions of full-time students. Workers are more likely to be employed in the accommodation, information and communication, and financial related industries, and using public transport, or walking or cycling to get to work.

Ethnicity Central

The population of this group is predominately located in the denser central areas of London, with other inner urban areas across the UK having smaller concentrations. All non-white ethnic groups have a higher representation than the UK average especially people of mixed ethnicity or who are Black, with an above average number of residents born in other EU countries. Residents are more likely to be young adults with slightly higher rates of divorce or separation than the national average, with a lower proportion of households having no children or non-dependent children. Residents are more likely to live in flats and more likely to rent. A higher proportion of people use public transport to get to work, with lower car ownership, and higher unemployment. Those in employment are more likely to work in the accommodation, information and communication, financial, and administrative related industries.

Multicultural Metropolitans

The population of this supergroup is concentrated in larger urban conurbations in the transitional areas between urban centres and suburbia. They are likely to live in terraced housing that is rented – both private and social. The group has a high ethnic mix, but a below average number of UK and Irish born residents. A result of this is that households are less likely to speak English or Welsh as their main language. Residents are likely to be below retirement age. There is likely to be an above average number of families with children who attend school or college, or who are currently too young to do so. The rates of marriage and divorce are broadly comparable with the national average. The level of qualifications is just under the national average with the rates of unemployment being above the national average. Residents who are employed are more likely to work in the transport and administrative related industries. Public transport is the most likely method for individuals to get to and from work, since households are less likely to have multiple motor vehicles available to them.

Urbanites

The population of this group are most likely to be located in urban areas in southern England and in less dense concentrations in large urban areas elsewhere in the UK. They are more likely to live in either flats or terraces, and to privately rent their home. The supergroup has an average ethnic mix, with an above average number of residents from other EU countries. A result of this is households are less likely to speak English or Welsh as their main language. Those in employment are more likely to be working in the information and communication, financial, public administration and education related sectors. Compared with the UK, unemployment is lower.

Suburbanites

The population of this supergroup is most likely to be located on the outskirts of urban areas. They are more likely to own their own home and to live in semi-detached or detached properties. The population tends to be a mixture of those above retirement age and middle-aged parents with school age children. The number of residents who are married or in civil-partnerships is above the national average. Individuals are likely to have higher-level qualifications than the national average, with the levels of unemployment in these areas being below the national average. All non-White ethnic groups have a lower representation when compared with the UK and the proportion of people born in the UK or Ireland is slightly higher. People are more likely to work in the information and communication, financial, public administration, and education sectors, and use private transport to get to work.

Constrained City Dwellers

This supergroup has a lower proportion of people aged 5 to 14 and a higher level aged 65 and over than nationally. It is more densely populated than the UK average. People are more likely to be single or divorced. There is a lower representation of all the non-White ethnic groups and of people who were born in other EU countries. There is a lower proportion of households with no children. Households are more likely to live in flats and to live in social rented accommodation, and there is a higher prevalence of overcrowding. There is a higher proportion of people whose day-today activities are limited, and lower qualification levels than nationally. There is a higher level of unemployment in the supergroup. There are no particular industries in which workers are most likely to be employed, but some industries such as information and communication, and the education sector are underrepresented.

Hard Pressed Living

The population of this group is most likely to be found in urban surroundings, predominately in northern England and southern Wales. There is less non-White ethnic group representation than elsewhere in the UK, and a higher than average proportion of residents born in the UK and Ireland. Rates of divorce and separation are above the national average. Households are more likely to have non-dependent children and are more likely to live in semi-detached or terraced properties, and to socially rent. There is a smaller proportion of people with higher level qualifications, with rates of unemployment above the national average. Those in employment are more likely to be employed in the mining, manufacturing, energy, wholesale and retail, and transport related industries.

A full description of supergroups, groups and subgroups is available on the ONS website here.

Use the layers icon on the map below to select specific groups and the menu on top to drill down from supergroups to groups to subgroups. As you drill down into groups and subgroups you will need to zoom into the map to see the areas since they will get progressively more precise.

Use the menu on the top left to drill down into groups and subgroups
Use the layers icon in the top right corner of the map to select specific groups to view

Sources – ONS Postcode Directory