Geography and Areas

Know Newcastle uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to analyse and present information about small areas, whether on a map, in tables or on a chart or graph. There are several different types of areas or geographies that have been built into the system for which you can request information or analysis:


Wards, or electoral wards, are one of the main administrative areas on which local government is based. Each local authority (district or borough) is divided into a number of wards and between 1 and 3 councillors are elected to represent each ward on the council. Until quite recently wards were the smallest areas about which reliable statistics were available and a lot of information is still published at ward level.

CAS Wards refer to the ward boundaries in place at the time of the 2001 Census which were used as the geography for the Census Area Statistics.

2008 Wards are the current ward boundaries.

Districts and boroughs

Districts and boroughs are the local authorities.

Neighbourhood Statistics (NeSS) Geography Hierarchy

The UK Stats Neighbourhood Statistics (NeSS) Geography Hierarchy is based on aggregations of Output Areas (OAs) and has been introduced to avoid the frequently changing geography of electoral wards. It is also intended to allow a range of different sizes of area at which data can be presented.

Output Areas

These were introduced as the smallest units of output for the 2001 Census. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland they have a minimum size of 100 residents and 40 households.

Super Output Areas (SOAs)

These are units of geography used in the UK for statistical analysis. They are developed and released by UK Statistics.
To support a range of potential requirements there are curently 2 layers of SOAs:


Lower Layer


Minimum population 1000; mean 1500. Built from groups of OAs (typically 4 to 6) and constrained by the boundaries of the Standard Table (ST) wards used for 2001 Census outputs.

Middle Layer     

Minimum population 5000; mean 7200. Built from groups of Lower Layer SOAs and constrained by the 2003 local authority boundaries used for 2001 Census outputs.

Updated: 08 October 2013 | Owner: Sarah Ledger