GKB: Geodemographics Knowledge Base

The dynamic nature of population change, advances in information technology, cost constraints and demand for more frequent and more detailed statistics are driving changes in methods for the provision of population and socio-demographic data in the UK.

ONS are investigating the feasibility of moving to a census based on administrative data after 2021. 

2016 ONS Research conference: Transforming the census — to 2021 and beyond

The aim of the conference was to inform stakeholders about the latest research, get feedback on the statistical design of the 2021 Census and Admin Data Census and reinforce confidence in the Census Transformation Programme’s delivery of a successful programme.
ONS presented research and plans around the move to a predominantly online census in 2021 and the potential move to an administrative data-based census after 2021. This included making the best use of all available data sources that are needed to produce better statistics for making better decisions.

Admin-based ethnicity statistics feasibility research, 6 August, 2021

ONS does not currently produce annual statistics by local authority on the population by ethnic group and the last official statistics were from the 2011 Census. Today, as part of our population and social statistics transformation programme, we have published two articles on our research into the feasibility of producing statistics on the population by ethnic group from administrative data. 

Admin-based income statistics, England and Wales: tax year ending 2016 (published December 2018)

In these statistics, ONS brings together data from the Pay As You Earn and benefits systems to derive experimental estimates of gross and net income.

Admin-based levels of overcrowding (using the bedroom standard and Valuation Office Agency number of bedrooms), feasibility research: England and Wales

This report considers the potential for using VOA data on number of bedrooms to support the production of sub-regional estimates of overcrowding in intercensal years (which the current surveys are unable to do due to sample size).

Administrative Data Census Research Outputs

The ONS page summarising experimental outputs produced as part of the research into using administrative data to produce population and census statistics in the future.

Administrative Data Census: annual assessments

The web page for ONS annual assessments on progress made towards development of an Administrative Data Census.

Advancing knowledge on ethnic differences in health, 19 August 2021

Using new methods, the Office for National Statistics has, for the first time, been able to provide insights into the health outcomes of different ethnic groups. In this blog, Julie Stanborough explains why this experimental data is so important and outlines some of the complexities behind the statistics used.

Beyond 2021 - transforming the Census

A blog by ONS discussing how ONS is refining its approach to gathering and using administrative data – information people have already supplied to other government bodies – to produce census-type outputs.

Census 2022: Transforming Small Area Socio-Economic Indicators through Big Data

This research project, being conducted at Southampton University, is looking to discover indicators that could help to estimate census variables, existing large-scale geo-coded transactional datasets such as telephone calls and smart meter usage. The project has tested the utility of a range of analytic techniques for deriving traditional and novel small area socio-economic indicators including relatively simple ratios and distribution measures as well as more experimental temporal sequence and profile analysis.

Estimates of the very old, including centenarians, UK: 2002-2020, 23 September 2021

Today the Ageing team in the Centre for Ageing and Demography published the latest Estimates of the very old, including centenarians, UK: 2002 to 2020. These provide official estimates of the age 90 and over population for the UK, England and for Wales at single year of age up to age 105 and over and by sex. They show the number of centenarians in the UK at mid-year 2020 rose to their highest ever level in 2020 reaching 15,120, an increase of almost a fifth from last year. This was driven by people turning 100 years old, born in the post-World War One birth spike. The release includes information about how historic birth patterns influence the age 90 and over population, age group comparisons for this population, and UK constituent country comparisons for centenarians.

Future plans for research on population estimates and projections, 29 July 2021

On Thursday 29 July we will be publishing our future plans for population estimates and projections and responding to the OSR review of population estimates and projections. In our publication, letter and accompanying blog we will explain our future plans and invite feedback on our plans. We will subsequently provide updates on our progress to meet OSR’s recommendations between now and May 2022 and we will publish a timeline of planned work with our next update. Our transformation work continues to evolve and there will be further updates in the future.

Has the Coronavirus pandemic caused life expectancy in the UK to fall? 23 September 2021

For the first time in four decades life expectancy for men in the UK has fallen. But what does that actually mean, what are the latest trends for women and is this just a blip caused by the pandemic? Pamela Cobb investigates.

Information Collected by Commercial Companies: What Might Be of Value to ONS?

The recent census in the UK, taken in March 2011, may also have been our last – since the Office for National Statistics has announced that it intends to explore alternative more cost-effective options for ‘census taking’ in the future. In this paper, we consider what the options may be, based on approaches and experiences from other countries, and assess their implications for users. We start by reminding ourselves about the value of the census and the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach. We then identify the principal methods being followed in other countries, together with their advantages and disadvantages. This leads us to review methodological work in the UK, building up to the current ‘Beyond 2011’ ONS project. We focus on administrative records as a possible way of removing the need for a full population survey. Finally, we assess the options and discuss the implications for users in market research.

International migration: estimating movement in and out of the UK and those living here now, 25 November 2021

Today the Centre for International Migration has published our best estimates of long-term international migration in 2020, as well as the population of the UK by country of birth and nationality for the year to June 2021. Alongside these releases, we have published a blog explaining the differences between these two sets of statistics, and when you should and shouldn’t compare them.

Living longer: impact of working from home on older workers, 25 August 2021

Today the Ageing Analysis team in the ONS Centre for Ageing and Demography have released Living longer: impact of working from home on older workers . The headline point is that the early exit of older workers from the UK labour market, between the age of 50 years and prior to State Pension age (SPA), can negatively impact an individual's future financial security and is also detrimental to the wider economy

Mid-2020 population of the UK by country of birth and nationality

ONS has released (14 January 2021) mid-2020 estimates of the population of the UK by country of birth and nationality.

Migration and Population Statistics Newsletter

The December 2020 edition of the migration and population statistics newsletter, published on 14 December 2020, includes news on recent and upcoming releases and events, and updates on the work that ONS has been doing in the last quarter.

Migration and Population Statistics Newsletter, 30 September 2021

Welcome to the autumn 2021 edition of the migration and population statistics newsletter.  In this edition news on recent and upcoming releases and events, together with updates on the work we have been doing in the last quarter.

National life tables - life expectancy in the UK: 2018 to 2020, 23 September 2021

Today ONS has published  National life tables - life expectancy in the UK: 2018 to 2020. The headline from the release is that life expectancy at birth in the UK in 2018 to 2020 was 79.0 years for males and 82.9 years for females; this represents a fall of 7 weeks for males and almost no change for females (a slight increase of 0.5 weeks) from the latest non-overlapping period 2015 to 2017. 

New ONS Inclusive Data Taskforce

As part of the ONS’s drive to ensure that its statistics reflect the experiences of everyone in society it has established a new Inclusive Data Taskforce. In this blog (11 January 2021) Chair of the Taskforce Dame Moira Gibb explains the importance of this work and how users can offer their views.

Occupied address (household) estimates from Administrative Data: 2011 and 2015 (published February 2017)

This ONS work presents results from continued research into a different methodology of estimating the household population using administrative data. This is part of a series of Administrative Data Census Research Outputs the first which was published in October 2015.

ONS blog - Experimental migration data: No evidence of UK exodus, 25 November 2021

New figures suggest that although net international migration to the UK fell in 2020, there is no evidence of an exodus. Jay Lindop explains what can be interpreted from today’s experimental statistics, why they shouldn’t be compared to population figures and ongoing improvements to build and refine them.

ONS Data source overviews

This ONS page summarises the data sources being used for the experimental Administrative Data Census research outputs, as well as those sources being evaluated for use in the 2021 Census.

ONS research into the use of Valuation Office Agency data to produce overcrowding statistics

ONS has published (18 January 2021) two reports showing research into the use of Valuation Office Agency (VOA) data to produce overcrowding statistics:

Estimating the number of rooms in Census 2021: an update on deriving an occupancy rating from Valuation Office Agency number of rooms

ONS plans to use administrative data from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to replace the number of rooms question in the 2021 Census. This report looks at the impact the use of VOA data on number of rooms has on room occupancy ratings, outlining the method we plan to use to account for definitional differences and asking users for feedback on the method.

Overview of the UK population

ONS has released (14 January 2021) an overview of the UK population. This includes information on how the population has changed, why it has changed and how it is projected to change into the future.

Population estimates by output areas, electoral, health and other geographies, England and Wales: mid-2020, 16 September 2021

Today we’ve published mid-2020 Population estimates for Super Output Areas, electoral wards, Parliamentary constituencies, Clinical Commissioning Groups and National Parks. The headline point is that in the year to mid-2020 the population of England and Wales continued to grow with the population in areas described as Cosmopolitan student neighbourhoods experiencing the highest increase at 1.8%.

Providing faster and better estimates of the population, 22 November 2021

The pandemic has highlighted the need for more frequent data about our population to understand the biggest challenges facing society. The ONS has been making great strides bringing together new sources of information to build the richest picture possible. As Pete Benton explains, this week we are publishing the improvements we have made, the limitations in the estimates, and our ambitions to refine the work in 2022.

Research into more timely population and migration estimates

On 26th November ONS published research on transforming  population and migration statistics, based on  their approach to make best use of all available data to produce the best possible statistics at a point in time.  This includes an update on their recent progress in this transformation journey, summarising and signposting the detailed research. The Centre for International Migration is publishing an overview of how ONS intends to integrate admin data with statistical modelling to produce coherent international migration estimates. They are also sharing further research which develops our understanding of  admin-based population estimates (ABPEs) for England and Wales in more depth, including their first time series, as well as research into how the student population appears in administrative data.

Research outputs estimating the size of the population in England and Wales: 2016 release (published November 2016)

This presents ONS research and population statistics based on a different methodology to that currently followed in the production of official population statistics. A Statistical Population Dataset (SPD) makes use of linked administrative data to estimate population. These research outputs are NOT official statistics on the population.

Research Outputs: Income from PAYE and benefits (published December 2016)

At the end of 2016 ONS published their first Administrative Data Census research outputs on income. These outputs are the start of ONS research to assess whether it’s feasible to produce income outputs from administrative data. This release produces local authority level individual gross annual income distributions.

UK Electoral Statistics 2020

The number of parliamentary electoral registrations at 2 March 2020 was at the highest level ever recorded. This increase, compared to December 2019, reflects the full uplift due to the most recent General Election.

Variant national population projections for the UK and subnational population projections and household projections for England: user guide, 4 November 2021

The aims of this user guide are to provide guidance and examples for those wishing to understand and use variant projections in policy and planning. It covers the national population projections, subnational population projections and household projections.

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