National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

Scottish Settlements Urban and Rural Areas in Scotland

Scottish Settlements Urban and Rural Areas in Scotland

Annex B - History of Definition of 'Urban' Areas at National Records of Scotland

The 1981 Census

5. By examining maps, National Records of Scotland (NRS) defined localities as 'continuously built-up areas that had approximately 500 or more population at the time of the 1971 Census'. In many cases, built up areas were split into localities based on the former burghs. Also some 21 localities were identified that had not been burghs. Each locality could be expressed in terms of one or more Enumeration Districts (ED), the basic output area for the 1981 Census. In all, some 540 localities were defined. These were grouped into settlements (as then defined) and an urban-rural code allocated to each settlement according to its population. This code for the settlement (1 to 5) was also assigned to each constituent locality, ED and postcode.