It is essential that local authorities understand our citizens and local communities. We have used the Output Area Classification (OAC) which is a social classification tool, used to assist in understanding our customers. Cambridgeshire County Council Research Team is leading the way in the use of OAC.
What is the OAC?
An output area is a small geography that consists of about 125 households. They are designed to be as socially homogenous as possible. There are 1937 output areas in Cambridgeshire.
The Output Area Classification (OAC) is a geodemographic tool developed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It offers socio-demographic data for local neighbourhoods, ‘classifying’ each output area according to an array of variables (predominantly from the Census data)
OAC differs to other social classification tools in that it is freely available, accredited by ONS and it is open source which allows users to freely share the data.
We took the information from the 2011 OAC and developed an interactive map to display the OAC data for Cambridgeshire. The Cambridgeshire Atlas - 2011 OAC displays the supergroups, groups and subgroup profiles across the county, which can be filtered to a district, ward and output area level. Due to the amount of data, please allow a couple of seconds for the map to load.
The 2011 OAC is the second iteration of the classifications, based on the 2011 Census. It makes use of 62 key variables to develop its ‘classifications’, broken down as follows:
- 22 Demographic
- 4 Household composition
- 9 Housing
- 11 Socio-economic
- 16 Employment
There are three levels to the classification, each providing more detail than the next. The 2011 OAC consists of 8 supergroups, 24 groups and 67 subgroups – a notable expansion on those set out in 2001. The 8 supergroups are:
- Rural Residents
- Ethnic Mix
- Blue Collar Neighbourhoods
- Multicultural Metropolitans
- Hard-pressed Households
The groups and subgroups are breakdowns of the supergroups. Click here for further detail on the 2011 breakdown.
The 2001 OAC was the first iteration of the OAC. It was developed as part of a PHD project supported by the ONS. 41 key variables were used, stemming from the 2001 Census, to develop customer insight at a local area level – compared to 62 variables used in 2011. As with 2011, there were three levels to the Classifications. For 2001 there were seven supergroups, 21 groups, and 52 subgroups.
- The Cambridgeshire Atlas - 2011 OAC displays the supergroups, groups and subgroup profiles across the county, which can be filtered to a district, ward and output area level. Due to the amount of data, please allow a couple of seconds for the map to load.
Note the following publications are currently based on the 2001 OAC. The Research, Performance and Business Intelligence Team have created four interactive maps offering customer insight that make use of OAC:
- Cambridgeshire Atlas : Output Area Classification displays the supergroups and group profiles across the county, this can be filtered to a district and ward level. This is based on the 2001 OAC data.
- Cambridgeshire Atlas : Living Costs and Food Survey shows the expenditure habits of different OAC groups in the county.
- Cambridgeshire Atlas : Ward Profiles displays a wide range of socio-economic and demographic data for all Cambridgeshire wards. You can view the percentage of each OAC supergroup in a ward. This data can be found under the customer insight section.
- Cambridgeshire Atlas : Place Survey 2008 shows the Place Survey results at a ward level across the county. OAC can be overlaid onto the map for greater insight.