SCOTLAND'S STATISTICAL GEOGRAPHY
Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics includes two small area statistical geographies which complete the Scottish statistical geography hierarchy. The data zones and intermediate zones build on the well established postcode and census geographies and are now the key geographies for disseminating Scottish government statistics and for supporting policy making.
The data zone is the key small area statistical geography in Scotland. SNS has introduced, for the first time, a common, stable and consistent small area geography. There are 6,505 data zones covering the whole of Scotland, which nest within local authority boundaries. Data zones are groups of 2001 Census output areas and have, on average, populations of between 500 and 1,000 household residents, where possible they have been made to respect physical boundaries and natural communities. They have a regular shape and, as far as possible, contain households with similar social characteristics.
The need for a consistent small area geography has to be balanced against changes in population and other geographical boundaries over time. The Executive monitors such change and regularly reviews the need to consider redefining data zones.
Data zones are a small geographic area and can be used as building blocks to best-fit other higher level geographies. Details on the complete SNS family of geographies is given on page 8.
Not all statistics are suitable for release at the data zone level because of the sensitive nature of the statistics or for reasons of reliability and it was apparent that a statistical geography between data zone and local authority was required. The Intermediate zones are aggregations of data zones within local authorities and contain between 2,500 and 6,000 people. There are a total of 1,235 Intermediate zones.