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


5. In the years between successive Censuses, National Records of Scotland (NRS) maintains data on unit postcodes including a boundary enclosing all of the addresses within the postcode. Since the unit postcode contains an average of around 15 addresses, it is considered to be a sufficiently precise means of locating births and other vital events and of carrying out the geographic planning of Censuses. The postcode can also be used as a building brick in the definition of urban areas. Accordingly, NRS have produced a grouping into 'settlements' (as mentioned in paragraph 4 above) of unit postcodes as existing at January 2000. The methodology will be further developed and the grouping repeated for the postcodes in existence at January 2001. The boundaries of this second (2001) set of settlements will be among those used to define the 'output areas' for the main results of the 2001 Census.

6. More information is given in technical annexes about:

  • the NRS postcode database and how it is used for the Census (Annex A);
  • previous definitions by NRS of urban and rural Scotland (Annex B); and
  • the methodology used to define settlements (Annex C).

The main paper and the annexes have each been written as a free-standing document, so there is necessarily some repetition.