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Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification

Defining Scotland by Rurality rural

The Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification provides a standard definition of rural areas in Scotland. This classification is updated every two years to incorporate the most recent Small Area Population Estimates (SAPE) produced by National Records of Scotland (NRS) and Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF).

NRS Small Area Population Estimates (SAPE) together with information from the Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF) were used to classify 2016 postcode units as high or low density. This information was then used to identify areas of contiguous high density postcodes with a population of 500 or more that make up a Settlement. Details of the methodology used for the Mid-2016 Population Estimates for Settlements can be found at Mid 2016 population estimates for settlements.

The publication includes background information and guidance on the use of the classification and also the geographic information to allow organisations to use the classification. The classification distinguishes between urban, rural and remote areas within Scotland.

The Scottish Government will use the classification to improve the rural evidence base. Issues such as transport, education and health can have a particular impact on rural communities and the Scottish Government seeks to reflect this in mainstream policy development. This classification aids in developing our understanding of the issues facing urban, rural and remote Scotland. Regular publications which use the classification include:

  • Scottish Household Survey: A National Statistics publication for Scotland, providing reliable and up-to-date information on the composition, characteristics and behaviour of Scottish households and adults.
  • Rural Scotland Key Facts: Summary of key facts related to rural Scotland. Compares remote rural, accessible rural and the rest of Scotland.
  • Rural Scotland in Focus: A biennial report by the Rural Policy Centre within Scotland’s Rural College provides a range of evidence and commentary on the key characteristics of rural Scotland, how these are changing, and the implications of these changes.

The latest datasets, shape files and maps have been published.

Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification Breakdowns

The classification is available in a number of forms, depending on your requirements.

 

Scottish Government 2 fold Urban Rural Classification

1 Urban Areas
Settlements of 3,000 or more people
2 Rural Areas
Settlements of less than 3,000 people
 

Scottish Government 3 fold Urban Rural Classification

1 Rest of Scotland
Settlements of 3,000 or more people
2 Accessible Rural
Settlements of less than 3,000 people and within 30 minutes drive of a settlement of 10,000 or more.
3 Remote Rural
Settlements of less than 3,000 people and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.
 

Scottish Government 6 fold Urban Rural Classification

1 Large Urban Areas

Settlements of 125,000 or more people.

2 Other Urban Areas

Settlements of 10,000 to 124,999 people.

3 Accessible Small Towns

Settlements of 3,000 to 9,999 people and within 30 minutes drive of a settlement of 10,000 or more.

4 Remote Small Towns

Settlements of 3,000 to 9,999 people and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.

5 Accessible Rural

Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and within a 30 minute drive time of a settlement of 10,000 or more.

6 Remote Rural

Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.

 

 

Scottish Government 8 fold Urban Rural Classification

1 Large Urban Areas

Settlements of 125,000 or more people.

2 Other Urban Areas

Settlements of 10,000 to 124,999 people.

3 Accessible small Towns

Settlements of 3,000 and 9,999 people and within 30 minutes drive of a settlement of 10,000 or more.

4 Remote Small Towns

Settlements of between 3,000 and 9,999 people and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.

5 Very Remote Small Towns

Settlements of 3,000 and 9,999 people and with a drive time of over 60 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.

6 Accessible Rural

Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and within a 30 minute drive time of a settlement of 10,000 or more.

7 Remote Rural

Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and with a drive time of over 30 minutes but less than 60 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.

8 Very Remote Rural

Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and with a drive time of over 60 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.

 

Publications

Published

Web Address

March 2018 Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2016
November 2014 Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2013-2014
August 2012 Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2011-2012
August 2010

Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2009-2010

August 2008

Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification 2007-2008

August 2006

Scottish Executive Urban Rural Classification 2005-2006

June 2004

Scottish Executive Urban Rural Classification 2003-2004

Related Publications

Use and Understanding of the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification

Contacts

If you have any questions on the Scottish Government Urban Rural Classification please contact the Geographic Information Science & Analysis Team at GI_Science_and_Analysis@gov.scot or Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services at RuralStatistics@gov.scot