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 the National Records of Scotland

Why define localities or settlements at all?

4. When the former regions and districts came into being in May 1975, we lost the small local authorities known as large and small burghs. However, Census users still stated - and continue to state - a need to know the population (and characteristics of the population) of such areas. For example, an 'urban and rural' division is used in the calculation of Grant Aided Expenditure for local authorities. Village shops are now exempt from business rates if they are in settlements of less than 3,000 population. Furthermore, land reform legislation being drafted by the Scottish Government will apply only to rural areas of Scotland, defined as those parts of Scotland which are not settlements, as well as any settlements which fall below a minimum threshold number of residents.