rt43ruralurbanarea_tcm77-221319.pdf - Regional Trends 43 2010\/11 Rural and urban areas comparing lives using rural\/urban classifications By Tim Pateman

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Unformatted text preview: Regional Trends 43 2010/11 Rural and urban areas: comparing lives using rural/urban classifications By Tim Pateman, Office for National Statistics Abstract Most people have a clear impression of what the cities, towns and countryside look like in the UK, both physically and in terms of the lives of the people who live there. This article compares rural and urban areas statistically for themes such as working, earnings, services and population, using geographical classifications. There is quantitative evidence that rural areas are better off than urban areas on a number of different measures, such as unemployment and crime, but there are substantial differences within both rural and urban areas. In a few respects rural areas are worse off. Analysis indicates that house prices are less affordable to local workers in rural areas than urban areas and the costs, travel time and carbon emissions resulting from transport tend to be higher in rural areas. Using classifications that show sparse areas of England, some topics, such as incomes and qualifications, show ‘two countrysides’ – a better off, less sparse and more accessible one, and a less populous and isolated sparse countryside. Patterns within urban areas often differ, with the most urban areas of England frequently showing different trends from those in other places, and the widest variations. This article shows that while no single rural/urban classification can be used for all geographies, using such a product helps to better understand the differing characteristics of rural and urban areas in a consistent, transparent way. This article will be of interest to those who wish to explore local authority or small area datasets, covering countries within the UK, for rural/urban differences, as well as those who wish to develop a greater understanding of rural/urban differences in general. It will also be of interest to those involved in local policy development and the allocation of resources within areas, as well as academics, journalists, researchers and members of the public with an interest in the classification and characteristics of rural and urban areas. Office for National Statistics 1 Regional Trends 43 2010/11 Contents Abstract............................................................................................................................................. 1 Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 3 Rural/urban classifications ................................................................................................................ 5 Working........................................................................................................................................... 22 Income and earnings ...................................................................................................................... 35 Services and life chances ............................................................................................................... 41 Physical environment...................................................................................................................... 50 Population and demography ........................................................................................................... 62 Residents’ perception of their area ................................................................................................. 69 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................................... 71 References...................................................................................................................................... 73 Appendix A: More information on rural/urban classifications .......................................................... 74 Office for National Statistics 2 Regional Trends 43 2010/11 Introduction Despite the continued spread of our towns and cities, the UK geographic landscape is still predominantly rural. Whichever classification is used, for all four countries in the UK, less than onethird of the land area is classified as urban. However, at least 60 per cent of the population is concentrated in these smaller urban areas. The topographic differences between town and country might be expected to lead to very different experiences for their residents. Transport and access to services are the most obvious areas for study, and this article looks at these as well as population structures, education, health and the physical environment. Although the article does not look at change over time and the recent recession, there is an emphasis on household finances and working lives. The rural/urban classifications established for different nations and geographies within the UK present excellent opportunities to examine all these themes. The aim of this paper is to apply seven recognised classifications to a variety of datasets to determine if differences and patterns exist in UK life according to how rural or urban a place is. These classifications allow us to study not just specific places, but ‘place’ in general. They potentially allow differences between places to be shown for big groupings of people, and the bigger the groups, the more quickly or more cheaply robust statistics can be produced. In effect, classifications offer opportunities to help understand complex differences, with less information. Seeing clear differences between broad groupings of areas may present opportunities for designing, implementing and monitoring policy; but it raises the question – are the differences positive or negative? What effects do they have on the people who live there? Qualitative research is better placed to answer that question1. However, official statistics can be used to consider whether barriers exist (in which case differences might be divisive), or whether people appear to be moving freely, in which case differences could be argued to represent genuine diversity and choice. Both rural and urban areas have been painted positively (idylls and cosmopolitan centres), and as traps. Statistical classifications allow us to dig deeper than stereotypes and impressions. Sources Some of the data used in the article were already aggregated to urban and rural area types. However, this is mainly an exercise in taking publicly available datasets, published at local authority or small area level, and matching to a rural/urban classification then aggregating the data directly. It is worth noting that a wealth of data are available at the small area level from the 2001 Census. This was considered too out of date for analysis for this article. However, when 2011 Census data are released over the next few years there will be many opportunities for rural/urban analysis. This article aims to complement the large volume and wide variety of rural/urban material published by other UK organisations. For England these include the Commission for Rural 1 The Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) has commissioned qualitative ‘rural insight’ surveys. Office for National Statistics 3 Regional Trends 43 2010/11 Communities (CRC), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) through its Neighbourhood Statistics Service. The Welsh Government (WG) publishes topic reports and compendia, such as ‘Statistical Focus on Rural Wales’ which gives more information on the local authority level rural/urban classification used here. The Scottish Government publishes rural/urban material, and, as with other countries, this is both in the form of dedicated reports (for example briefings and key facts documents) and as appendices or sub-sections of wider reports. Different government departments in Northern Ireland publish rural/urban statistics, including the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and Department for Social Development (DSD). The data used in the figures are available at: Issues and limitations There are a number of things to bear in mind when interpreting the material in this article. Interpretation • Policies designed specifically for urban or rural areas might refer to extremes – inner cities or small villages. Using a statistical classification puts every place in a country, including the areas most people think of as suburbs, into either an urban or a rural area type • These classifications make it easy to slip into the ‘ecological fallacy’ – for example thinking of all people in the most deprived areas as deprived, when in fact many people in the most deprived areas are by no means ‘poor’ and the majority of deprived people do not live in deprived areas. Even the biggest rural/urban difference can obscure there being more variation within areas than there is between them • On the other hand, it is often hypothesised that neighbourhoods do affect people. For example, studies on deprivation and health sometimes show that even when many other factors are taken into account, simply living in a deprived neighbourhood is associated with poorer health • Classifications may feel wrong for particular areas. None of the classifications used in this article take account of the look and feel of a particular place, rather they are modelled using sets of definitions and rules Presentation • In all cases areas can be split into urban and rural groups (or more accessible, less accessible for local authorities in Northern Ireland), but most classifications give at least one more detailed way of breaking down the data. This report shows a number of different ways of sub-dividing such classifications. However, not all the classifications offer breakdowns of urban areas • Urban and rural areas should not be compared using more than one classification, so in general each country is analysed separately Office for National Statistics 4 Regional Trends 43 2010/11 • Data are not collected and published consistently across the UK, especially for devolved matters such as housing. Although many datasets used here are multi-country, sometimes there has only been space for data analysis for a single country Data accuracy • In order that official statistics do not identify individual people or businesses, data are subject to disclosure control. In many cases the datasets here have been subject to some degree of rounding or suppression (where some data may not be available). Unfortunately this is more likely to affect smaller areas. Since this article aggregates published data, for local authority datasets the estimates for rural areas (which tend to be less populous) are likely to be less accurate • While some datasets, such as those covering crime and General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) or equivalent scores, are derived from administrative sources, in most cases a sample survey has been used. All the figures in this report should be assumed to be estimates and subject to sampling variability, unless stated otherwise • Where national figures are published in this report, they may have been aggregated from local data, and therefore may differ from national figures published elsewhere. Different time periods, geographies and use of public (disclosure controlled) datasets may also make figures here difficult to compare with those elsewhere Rural/urban classifications This article uses two main types of classification to divide areas into rural and urban. To cover small area data and local authority level data for the four countries of the UK requires seven classifications. A summary of each of these, including the data used, publication links, and the headline proportions of urban and rural people, can be found in Appendix A. This section presents a map and a table of key population figures for each one. Many alternative and older classifications exist – it was estimated in 2007 that 30 different definitions were in use across the UK (Scott, Gilbert and Gelan, 2007). Some classifications cover only some types of area – for example the Commission for Rural Communities’ uplands areas. Other products cover the whole of the UK, but do not focus on rural and urban issues alone. ONS’s Local Authority Classification and Output Area Classification products have some categories that show rural areas; however, these show different geographical distributions from those developed by or with Defra, and are not widely used as rural/urban classifications. Dedicated rural/urban classifications are generally based on complex modelling exercises. Some aspects have been devised subjectively, for example, selecting the Valleys group of local authorities in Wales using local knowledge and existing policy area boundaries. Thresholds differ, so that any settlement with more than 10,000 people will be considered urban in any UK small area definition; however, settlements with between 3,500 and 10,000 people are treated differently in each classification. Several have been updated, and it is worth noting that a number of government organisations, including Communities and Local Government (CLG), Defra, ONS and WG, are Office for National Statistics 5 Regional Trends 43 2010/11 jointly looking into updating the rural/urban definition covering small areas in England and Wales for use with 2011 Census outputs. What makes a good rural/urban classification? A common approach is to take several continuous data variables, not just one, and look for clusters of areas. Commonly-used factors are population size, population concentration and remoteness (which can be measured as physical distance to other settlements, travel time, or a modelled measure of where people are in relation to each other known as ‘population potential’). Ultimately there is no limit to the kinds of settlements a classification can pick out. Vickers’ 2003 UK district classification2 picks out area groupings such as ‘agricultural fringe’ and ‘averageville’ but this classification has seen less use in recent years than simpler definitions. The perfect classification would be comparable across different nations. Only the Eurostat ‘urban-rural typology’3 can offer this at the moment; however, because it is based on larger (NUTS 34) areas than those used in this article, and it does not allow different kinds of urban area to be distinguished, it is not widely used in analyses such as those in this article. The classifications used in this article are based on different sets of criteria. Individual classifications may have methodological limitations. Such issues tend to be set out in a methodology or technical report for each classification, links to some of which can be found in Appendix A. The Rural/Urban Definition (England) Map 1, which uses a small area geography based on Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs), shows a complex patchwork of area types. Of particular note are the ‘sparse’ areas, both urban and rural, which are few in number, and concentrated in particular areas broadly round the fringes of the country. This definition picks out a far larger number of urban areas than the local authority definitions do, but groups them all together, so that, for example, Westminster and Weston-superMare are shown in the same group. It is also worth noting that Town and Fringe – Less Sparse areas almost always lie next to Urban – Less Sparse ones. 2 For an example of this classification being used, see ONS’s Population Trends 134, available at: 3 More information on the Eurostat ‘urban-rural typology’, which can be used to compare urban and rural regions across different countries, can be found here: 4 Some 133 ‘Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics level 3’ areas cover the UK, and tend to cover groups of local authorities, resulting in areas such as ‘Lancashire’ in England, and ‘Monmouthshire and Newport’ in Wales. Office for National Statistics 6 Regional Trends 43 Map 1 2010/11 The Rural/Urban Definition for MSOAs1 in England Urban – Less Sparse Urban – Sparse Town & Fringe – Less Sparse Town & Fringe – Sparse Village, Hamlet & Isolated Dwellings – Less Sparse Village, Hamlet & Isolated Dwellings – Sparse Carlisle Newcastle upon Tyne Stockton-on-Tees Lancaster Kingston upon Hull Leeds Blackpool Manchester Sheffield Liverpool Lincoln Stoke-on-Trent Nottingham Leicester Norwich Birmingham Northampton Cambridge Ipswich Oxford Bristol Reading London Southend-on-Sea Guildford Folkestone Taunton Southampton Exeter Bournemouth Portsmouth Brighton and Hove Plymouth Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 1 Middle Layer Super Output Areas. Source: Office for National Statistics Office for National Statistics 7 Regional Trends 43 Table 2 Wider area type 2010/11 Key population figures for England: by Rural/Urban Definition area type, 2009 Narrower area type Mid-2009 population, thousands Percentage of total population Percentage of total land area Percentage change in population since 2001 42,071 114 81.2 0.2 20.5 0.4 5.5 2.6 4,424 220 4,573 407 8.5 0.4 8.8 0.8 16.1 2.1 47.7 13.2 5.2 4.7 5.6 4.9 Urban Urban1 – Less Sparse Urban1 – Sparse Rural Town & Fringe – Less Sparse Town & Fringe – Sparse VHID2 – Less Sparse VHID2 – Sparse Urban Rural - 42,185 9,625 81.4 18.6 21.0 79.0 5.5 5.4 Less sparse Sparse - 51,068 741 98.6 1.4 84.4 15.6 5.4 4.5 Total - 51,810 100.0 100.0 5.4 1 Greater than 10,000 population 2 Village, Hamlet & Isolated Dwellings (VHID) Source: 2009 Middle Layer Super Output Area Mid-Year Population Estimates, Office for National Statistics Table 2 shows the predominance of the Urban – Less Sparse area type; no other area type in this report includes such a high proportion of people. There is an interesting symmetry in the difference between urban and rural areas: in England urban areas contain about 80 per cent of the population but cover roughly 20 per cent of the land area, rural areas cover roughly 80 per cent of the land and 20 per cent of the population. Some 42 million people live in urban England by this definition, and just under 10 million in rural England. Sparse areas, which cover three narrower area types in both rural and urban areas, contain 1.4 per cent of the population. Only 15 per cent of this group are resident in urban areas and the remainder in rural areas. The Urban – Sparse area type, in particular, is very small with a population, of 114,000, which compares, for example, to that of the 2001 Census-defined urban areas of Southport or St Albans. Sparse area types should therefore be expected to have distinct characteristics where survey data are being analysed, as sample sizes are likely to be close to the acceptable minimum. A population pyramid showing the age structure for the rural and urban populations is presented in Figure 52 on page 63. Office for National Statistics 8 Regional Trends 43 2010/11 The Rural/Urban Definition (Wales) While the Rural/Urban Definition is the same for Wales (shown in Map 3) as for England, the aggregation of area types into urban and rural wider area types can in practice be done in different ways. For example, in Wales, the Town and Fringe area types may sometimes be divided into urban and rural areas by population size. This report follows the convention of classifying all town and fringe areas as rural. Map 3 The Rural/Urban Definition for MSOAs1 in Wales Holyhead Bangor Wrexham Urban – Less Sparse Urban – Sparse Welshpool Town & Fringe – Less Sparse Town & Fringe – Sparse Newtown Aberystwyth Village, Hamlet & Isolated Dwellings – Less Sparse Village, Hamlet & Isolated Dwellings – Sparse Cardigan Brecon Carmarthen Llanelli Swansea Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 Cardiff 1 Middle Layer Super Output Areas. Source: Office for National Statistics Table 4 shows that according to the Rural/Urban Definition two-thirds of p...
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