Statistical Note - Changes to Urban Rural Classifications 2014-15

Date: 21 September 2016

Changes to Dissemination of Family Resources Data by Urban Rural Classifications

1. The Family Resources Survey Urban Rural report includes secondary analysis of the Family Resources Survey (FRS) dataset. Up to 2013/14 it focussed on two breakdowns of the Northern Ireland specific urban rural classifications. These breakdowns were as follows:

Breakdown 1 Breakdown 2
Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area
Urban Urban East
Rural Urban West
  Rural East
  Rural West

2. Breakdown 1 reported separately on Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA) and classified other areas as urban or rural in line with NISRA Geography settlement classifications. These classifications were created following the publication of the Report of the Inter-Departmental Urban-Rural definition group in 2005.

3. Breakdown 2 was a fivefold breakdown which split the urban and rural areas into East and West of Northern Ireland. This relied on an East/West split of the 26 Local Government Districts in Northern Ireland.

4. In 2015 NISRA reviewed the 2005 settlement classifications and produced new recommendations that take account of 2011 census information. The new settlement classifications coupled with the introduction of the new 11 Local Government Districts (LGDs) raises two separate issues for the FRS urban rural breakdowns.

5. The first issue is that the new settlement classifications have changed Band A from including all of BMUA to just including Belfast City. The second issue is that there is no official East/West split produced for the 11 LGDs.

6. Various options were considered for providing urban rural analysis from 2014-15 onwards; taking into account the need for comparability and consistency we will provide a three-way breakdown which will report on (i) Belfast City, (ii) Other Urban and (iii) Rural areas. The breakdown will be derived from the 2015 Urban-Rural classifications. No official East-West split is available using the new 11 LGDs.

7. To make the statistics more timely, we will be providing urban rural breakdowns for selected tables in our Households Below Average Income (HBAI) report and the main FRS report for 2014-15. These tables will be created using the new classifications. The HBAI report will be released on 29 September and the FRS report will be released in October/November. We also aim to revise the time series data in the urban rural 2014-15 report which will be released in 2017.

8. The Urban Rural tables included in the relevant reports will be as follows:

HBAI Report 2014-15 FRS Report 2014-15
Income and Poverty Household Income and State Support
Deprivation Tenure and Housing Costs
  Savings and Investments
  Occupation and Employment
  Household Characteristics

9. For further information please contact

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