PopChange population grids for Britain, 1971-2011

Lloyd, Christopher and Catney, Gemma and Singleton, Alex and Williamson , Paul and Bearman, Nick (2018). PopChange population grids for Britain, 1971-2011. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Archive. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-852498

The research will explore how the population of the UK is, or has been, geographically distributed. The project will bring a new and important perspective to debates about divisions, inequalities and the ways in which people in the UK live together or apart. It will address questions such as: are health inequalities between places greater now than in the past? What makes localities different - are they geographically distinguished more by housing tenure or health than they are by employment status or ethnicity? What areas have the greatest diversity of people and how has this changed between 1971 and 2011? To answer these questions, we will generate population surfaces from publicly available Census data for 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011 to enable direct comparisons between Censuses. Counts of people in a variety of population sub-groups (e.g., by qualifications, age, etc) have been released from each Census for sets of small geographical areas (such as enumeration districts or output areas). This allows the mapping and analysis of geographical patterning in population groups across the UK for each Census. However, these small areas differ in size and shape between Censuses, so the 1971 small area boundaries, for example, are very different to those for 2011. This project will produce population surfaces for each Census year as a means of overcoming this problem. Population surfaces are estimates of counts of people for regular grids (with population estimates over, for example, 100m by 100m grid cells); these can be directly compared between Censuses. So, once these population surfaces are available we will be able to consider how localities have changed and in what ways. This new population surface resource will be made freely available so that users can explore these changes for themselves and also consider in more depth the results we produce. We will use this resource to provide the first systematic review of how the population of the UK has changed over the last 40 years. It will show how population groups in the UK are geographically distributed and it will assess, in detail, how far different localities (for example, within central Scotland) or regions (for example, south east England or north west England) are becoming more similar or more different to one another in terms of their population characteristics. The project will also consider how the relationships between population groups have changed across time. For example, with a consistent geography, it will be possible to assess which small area localities have very high rates of unemployment together with large proportions of social rented households, and how the characteristics of these localities changed between 1971 and 2011. We will also be able to identify which population characteristics most strongly distinguish particular areas. As an example, the population in some localities in north west England may be very similar in terms of levels of poor health, unemployment and housing tenure, but differ in terms of the number of single person households or the average number of dependent children. The project will explore these differences in detail and, for the first time, construct a detailed profile of the geographical distribution of individual population groups and the multiple characteristics of areas in combination. The population surface resource will be invaluable to any users interested in the population geography of the UK, while the results of our analysis of population distributions will enrich our understanding of the ways in which the population of the UK has changed over the last 40 years.

Data description (abstract)

The resource comprises population surfaces generated from publicly available GB Census data for 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011 to enable direct comparisons between Censuses. Population surfaces are estimates of counts of people for regular grids (with population estimates over, for example, 1km by 1km grid cells) and these can be directly compared between Censuses. Variables include age, country of birth, ethnicity, housing tenure, employment, self-reported health, overcrowding and a composite measure of deprivation over 1km by 1km cells for all Censuses where variables are available.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Lloyd Christopher University of Liverpool http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0575-7793
Catney Gemma University of Liverpool
Singleton Alex University of Liverpool
Williamson Paul University of Liverpool
Bearman Nick Clear Mapping Co
Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council
Grant reference: ES/L014769/1
Topic classification: Social welfare policy and systems
Housing and land use
Demography (population, vital statistics and censuses)
Social stratification and groupings
Labour and employment
Keywords: Census, Population, Britain, Grids
Project title: Population Change and Geographic Inequalities in the UK, 1971-2011
Alternative title: PopChange
Grant holders: Christopher Lloyd, Gemma Catney, Alex Singleton, Paul Williamson
Project dates:
1 February 201531 July 2016
Date published: 13 Mar 2018 14:47
Last modified: 13 Mar 2018 14:47

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