Census 2021: Ethnic group, national identity, language and religion data available in Community Insight


The small area ethnic group, national identity, language and religion census data is now live in Community Insight. You can start using and analysing this data for all your stock groups. 

For guidance on using Census 2021 data in Community Insight please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Community Insight”.

Summary of published data 

Download the full list of indicators now available in Community Insight

We have added 68 indicators to Community Insight. This release includes small area data from the ethnic group, national identity, language and religion topic summary.

Indicators for the following datasets can now be seen in Community Insight: 

  • English language proficiency (5 indicators)
  • Ethnic Group (25 indicators)
  • Household language (4 indicators)
  • Households with multiple ethnic groups (6 indicators)
  • Households with multiple languages (4 indicators)
  • National identity (16 indicators)
  • Religion (8 indicators)

ONS also published detailed breakdowns of main language, national identity and religion datasets. These are currently not available in Community Insight as the data has not been published at Output Area (and will show very low numbers in many instances). However, we can add breakdowns that are useful to you upon request – please send these to support@ocsi.co.uk 

Additional census religion data in Community Insight

The question about religion in the 2021 census was voluntary. Overall, 94.0% (56.0 million) of usual residents answered the question.

ONS percentages are calculated out of the overall population as opposed to out of the population who responded to the religion question. Because the census question about religious affiliation is voluntary and has varying response rates, caution is needed when comparing figures between different areas or between censuses (source ONS).

Alongside adding the official ONS figures to Community Insight, we have also included an additional indicator for each religion that uses only people who responded to the religion question as the denominator. These indicators are displayed as [Religion] (% of all respondents – Census 2021)

Below is an example how these distinct indicators display in Community Insight

  • Jewish (% of all people – Census 2021)
  • Jewish (% of all respondents – Census 2021)

These supplementary indicators that use respondents only as the denominator provide additional value as the response rates vary considerably across local areas. There are a multitude of possible driving factors behind non-response rates, which are not necessarily related to religious affiliation.

The ONS figures are the ones that will be in your default themes. However, should you want to use the alternative figures you can find these on the Dashboard or add them to the map using the manage indicators page.


We have updated 35 of the indicators in the Community Insight report. You will need to update your reports  in order to see Census 2021 data here.

Data includes:

Community Insight England:

  • Population by ethnic group (pg. 5)
  • Population by household language (pg. 6)
  • Population by religion (pg. 9)

Community Insight Wales:

  • Population by ethnic group (pg. 5)
  • Population by religion (pg 9)
  • Population by household language (pg. 10)


Census 2021: UK Armed Forces Veterans data

The small area UK Armed Forces Veterans census data is now live in Community Insight. You can start using and analysing this data for all your custom areas.

For guidance on using Census 2021 data in Community Insight please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Community Insight”.

Summary of published data

Download the list of indicators.

We have added 14 indicators to Community Insight. This release includes small area data from the UK Armed Forces Veterans topic summary. Indicators for the following datasets can now be seen in Community Insight:

  • Household reference person indicator of previous service in UK armed forces (4 indicators)
  • Previously served in the UK armed forces (4 indicators)
  • Number of people in household who have previously served in UK armed forces (4 indicators)
  • Population who have previously served in UK armed forces in communal establishments and in households (2 indicators)

Data availability

Please note the smallest geography this data has been published at is MSOA level.

This may have an impact on how you can view data for your stock groups

Viewing data on the map

While the smallest geography that the data has been published at is MSOA level, we have used population weighted apportioning so that you are also able to view this data at LSOA level on the map.

As we have used population weighted apportioning, this may mean that some component LSOAs of a parent MSOA will have slightly different data values and may be shaded a different colour on the choropleth map.

Viewing data for custom areas

As the data is published at MSOA level, it is more difficult to accurately apportion to stock groups that are built out of smaller building blocks. We use population weighted apportioning to generate data for your stock groups. Please see below for guidance on how this works for different area types.

Areas larger than an MSOA, built out of MSOA or Local Authorities: We use the figures published by ONS to build areas out of MSOAs and Local Authorities.

Areas larger than an MSOA, built out of LSOAs or OAs: Some stock groups are larger than MSOAs but built out of smaller component areas (eg, areas that you create by drawing on a map). For these, we use population weighted apportioning to derive a value for each of the LSOAs.

As we round apportioned results to the nearest round numbers, there may be some small variances in data at a sub-MSOA level.

Areas smaller than an MSOA: As with the above, we use population weighted apportioning to derive values for areas smaller than MSOA level.

As the data is only published at MSOA level, data values are based on estimates rather than exact figures and so should be used with caution.


UK Armed Forces Veterans data is not available to view within reports. For guidance on how best to view this data in Community Insight, please see “How to explore Census 2021 data in Community Insight”.

How to explore Census 2021 data in Community Insight

You can view Census 2021 indicators across Community Insight through Dashboards, Maps and Reports.

To make it easier to locate the new census indicators they all have (Census 2021) in their indicator titles. 

The Dashboard 

The easiest way to see Census 2021 indicators for your stock groups is by using the Dashboard.

  1. Open the Dashboard tab
  2. Click the Data icon 
  3. Select Build a custom dashboard
  4. Use the search bar to find the census indicator you want, for example, Pensioner living alone. Or type in the key search term Census 2021
  5. You can select both the 2011 and 2021 timepoints (Not all the 2021 indicators have corresponding 2011 indicators as some questions were asked for the first time in the 2021 census)
  6. Click on the ‘currently selected’ theme to see the indicators you have selected (this will also show you if they are assigned to a theme or not, which will be useful to know when it comes to adding indicators to the map)
  7. When you are happy with your selection, click the blue Done button.

The Map

Not all Census 2021 indicators will be available on your map’s data menu by default. Many of the indicators will be in the unassigned theme. This means that they will need to be added to a theme by Group Admin users on the manage indicators page before they can be viewed on the map.

Additionally, depending on how your themes have been set up by your organisation, you may find that the indicators are somewhat spread around various themes.

We provide guidance below on where to look, but please get in touch with our support team if you are having trouble we are happy to help.

The Census 2021 theme on the map

Back in June 2022 when the first round of census data was released, we created a theme for all our clients titled Census 2021. This contained the 25 headline usual resident population indicators (by sex and age). Originally ,this data was only published at local authority level and rounded to the nearest 100. 

ONS has published the small-area equivalents of:

  • All people (Census 2021)
  • All Males (Census 2021)
  • All Females (Census 2021)

We have now updated these indicators in the Census 2021 theme with the more granular data, so that you can see the data at MSOA and LSOA level as well as for all stock groups.  

You can use this Census 2021 theme as you choose:

  • Keep as is with key population indicators
  • Remove Census 2021 theme and move the indicators to alternative themes
  • Use the Census 2021 theme as your go-to theme for Census 2021 data to help your colleagues find data more easily.

Any changes to the Census 2021 theme need to be managed by a Group Admin, using the Manage Indicators functionality.


New indicators for Census 2021

Some indicators are  based on questions that were asked for the first time in Census 2021. For example, the indicator Married: Same-sex. These new indicators (that do not have 2011 counterparts) are not available on your Community Insight Map by default. Group Admin users can add these indicators to the maps using the Manage Indicators functionality.


Census 2021 indicators that have Census 2011 counterparts

If you already had an existing Census 2011 indicator displaying on your map, which has now been updated, it will be automatically replaced with the Census 2021 data. For example, the Pensioner living alone indicator.



Some census indicators will also be updated and included in your Community Insight reports. We will inform you which indicators have been updated in reports as part of each data release.

You will need to update your reports to see the latest Census 2021 data after each release.

Compare Census 2011 and Census 2021 data in Community Insight 

You can compare Census 2021 indicators with their 2011 counterparts in Community Insight through the Dashboard and on the Maps.


View 2021 and 2011 data on the Maps 

When viewing an indicator on the map, click on the name and the corresponding 2011 indicator will show underneath it. 

Use the Data for your areas popup

The Data for your areas popup shows a table with the percentage and count data for the indicator you’ve selected for all your stock groups. When viewing the census indicators you can see 4 columns: percentage and count data for the 2021 and 2011 census timepoints. 

How to open the data for your areas popup

  • Click on the Data button to open the menu and click on the name of the dataset to view it on the map.
  • Click on the Info button, in the top right hand corner
  • Click Data for your areas to see the data for your stock groups.

On the dashboard

Use the build a custom dashboard tool to select any of the 2021 and 2011 census indicators to view on your dashboard. 

Top tip: Use the search bar and type in 2011 or 2021 to filter for the relevant indicators.

Organise the new census data in your Community Insight Group

Group Admin users can add new indicators to the maps using the Manage Indicators option.

To do this:

  1. Go to the Group admin tab and click Manage Indicators
  2. Click on the theme titled unassigned located under the themes header 
  3. Search for the census indicator by typing the indicator name or a keyword such as Census 2021.
  4. Drag and drop the indicator into a theme 
  5. Check the box underneath the map column to show that indicator on your groups map

Upcoming census releases 

ONS has a release calendar that is regularly updated to provide information on upcoming releases. Once ONS publishes the data, we aim to have data live within 3 working days. 


Demography and migration census data live in Community Insight


The small-area Demography and Migration census data is now live in Community Insight England and Wales just two days after release by the The Office of National Statistics (ONS). You can start using and analysing this data for all your stock groups. 


Summary of published data 


Download the full list of indicators now available in Community Insight


We have updated or added 74 indicators to Community Insight. This release includes small-area data from the Demography and Migration topic summary. 

Indicators for the following datasets can now be seen in Community Insight: 

  • Resident age and sex (3 indicators)
  • Household (1 indicator)
  • Number of Usual Residents in Households and Communal Establishments (1 indicator)
  • Legal Partnership Status (11 indicators)
  • Household Composition (14 indicators)
  • Households by Deprivation Dimensions (5 indicators)
  • Country of Birth (11 indicators)
  • Passports Held (17 indicators)
  • Length of Residence (4 indicators)
  • Age of Arrival in the UK (3 indicators)
  • Migrant Indicator (4 indicators)


We have updated 26 of the indicators in the Community Insight report. You will need to update your reports in order to see Census 2021 data here.

Data includes:

  • Country of birth / passports held (pg. 6)
  • People who have moved addresses (pg. 7)
  • Household composition (pg. 8)
  • Household deprivation dimensions (pg. 22)


The first census 2021 outputs are now live on Community Insight

We are delighted to announce that the first 2021 census outputs are live and available in Community Insight. Read on to find out about:

How many datasets are there?

In total, there are 63 new datasets on the tool with 25 being displayed automatically under the Data icon on your maps. The first outputs include:

  • Usual resident population by sex
  • Usual resident population by 5-year age group
  • Usual resident population by sex and 5-year age group
  • Usual resident population density

Download the full list of new datasets

How do I find the new census data in Community Insight?

We have created a new theme called Census 2021. In that new theme 25 of the new census datasets will appear (along with their 2011 counterparts). We have applied this to all groups, so you do not need to do anything in order to start using the census data straight away.

Those 38 other datasets not in the new default theme will be in the Unassigned theme.

  • Group Admin users can add these new datasets to the maps using the Manage Indicators functionality.

Why are the datasets available at Local Authority level only?

The datasets are published at Local Authority level only in this release. The ONS are indicating that small area level data will be published in Autumn. For the purpose of accuracy we have put in place measures to prevent this data showing for small areas. 

You cannot zoom below Local Authority level when viewing these datasets on Community Insight.

Usually when viewing datasets on the map you can zoom in and out and the geographic level at which you are viewing the data will automatically change. This is not the case for datasets published at Local Authority, the data will stay frozen at Local Authority level.

Any stock groups smaller than Local Authorities will not show any data. 

When viewing these datasets on the dashboard and the data for more areas popup no data will show for stock groups that are smaller than Local Authorities. This includes, but is not limited to wards, MSOAs, LSOAs and parishes. This is because the datasets are only available at Local Authority level and so we cannot accurately  apportion data down to smaller geographies.

How to compare census 2011 and 2021 data

You can compare census 2021 datasets with their 2011 counterparts in Community Insight. This is possible when viewing those datasets on the maps and in the data for your areas popup.

Data for your areas popup

The data for your areas popup shows a table with the percentage and count data for all your stock groups. When viewing the census datasets you can see 4 columns: percentage and count data for the 2021 and 2011 census timepoints.

Why is the census data not in the Community Insight reports?

New Census data will only be available on the Maps and the Dashboard, as these initial outputs are only available at Local Authority level. Reports will be updated when census data at smaller geographies is released. 


Below are some frequently asked questions we’ve already had. We will continue to add to this resource: 

Will the census data be available at Local Authority level initially and then small area data will be available later on? 

The ONS are indicating that small area data will be published in Autumn. When they publish this we will add it to the tool within days of publication. We are very excited for this release and will keep you updated regarding when the datasets will be available in Community Insight.


Why are there gaps on the Dashboard for some of my areas?

Datasets that are published at Local Authority level (like these initial census ones) will not show data for any stock groups that include constituent regions smaller than Local Authority.


Do you know if Local Authority level data regarding ethnicity will be included within this first census release, or if it will be included in a later release?

Local Authority level data regarding ethnicity will not be released on the 28th June. However, we will be providing more information regarding the next releases, so ensure you keep a close eye on our updates.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions or feedback then get in touch with us on support@ocsi.co.uk.

Community Insight and Census 2021 – Latest News

Census 2021 – Latest News

The release of the Census 2021 is the most eagerly awaited publication this year in the UK data world. The Census data will provide robust small area level data for a whole range of different themes. Here at Community Insight  we are very excited for the release and cannot wait to support you to use the data in the tool.

Since the data will be published at small area level it can all be included in Community Insight . Data for themes such as ethnicity, where the data landscape has been sparase for many years, will be available in Community Insight. This is a high priority topic for organisations looking to understand the impact of the pandemic on minority groups. 

When is the Census 2021 data going to be available in Community Insight ?

Our intention is to have the data sets loaded into Community Insight  within one week of publication by the ONS. The table below summarises the provisional release timetable outlined by the ONS. A more detailed and accurate timetable will be published in March 2022, by the ONS. 

What does this mean for Community Insight ?

All the data in Community Insight is published at small area level. Small area level includes postcode, Output Area, Lower layer super output area (LSOA)  and Middle layer super output area (MSOA). The majority of the census outputs will be published at this small area level. However, the initial publications may be published at Local Authority (LA) level only. Community Insight  does not contain LA level data because it cannot accurately apportion down to lower levels. Therefore, we will wait until the small area level data is published. If you have any concerns or questions about this please contact us on support@ocsi.co.uk. 

The ONS aims to stagger topic summary releases from Summer to Autumn of 2022.

The proposed theme order (informed by consultation responses):

  • Demography and Migration
  • Ethnic Group, National Identity, Language and Religion
  • Health, Disability and Unpaid Care
  • Housing
  • Labour Market and Travel to Work
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Education and Skills
  • Armed Forces Veterans


This will then be followed in Autumn by the release of more detailed single (univariate tables) including data from new themes, multivariate data (combining two or more themes together e.g. health and ethnicity). Non-standard populations such as resident and workplace population, migration and commuting flows will follow next.

New Census Data

There will be a variety of new data on specific minority groups ranging from housing breakdowns to new ethnic groups. These new data sets will be especially useful to those exploring equality, diversity and inclusion. The data sets will be available for you to access on Community Insight .


The following topics will have new data sets:

More Housing Breakdowns

There will be a number of additional breakdowns relating to housing stock. The following new categories will be available:

  • “a flat, maisonette or apartment: part of another converted building (for example, former school, church or warehouse)”
  • Heating – “Mains gas” and “Tank or bottled gas”
  • Heating – “Wood (for example, logs, waste wood or pellets)” and “Solid fuel (for example, coal)”
  • Heating – “Renewable energy (for example, solar thermal or heat pumps)”, “District or communal heat network” and “Other”
  • Unpaid Care – more broken down hours – 0-9, 10-19

The heating categories are likely to be of interest to groups exploring impacts of energy efficiency and fuel poverty. 

Gender Identity 

The ONS intend to investigate the feasibility of creating a detailed univariate table at Local Authority level that include for example: genderfluid, non-binary, trans man and trans woman. However, as they have yet to finalise this it is likely that any small area data will be merged in order to avoid disclosure. 

Sexual Orientation 

The ONS are planning to produce small area data on broad sexual orientation categories such as: straight or heterosexual, gay or lesbian, bisexual or other sexual orientation, not stated. 

UK Armed Forces Veterans 

The ONS will publish breakdowns at household level including: armed forces veterans, armed forces veteran status of household reference person, number of armed forces veterans in household.

New Ethnic Groups

The ONS will consider the feasibility of producing statistics on the Eritrean, Romanian and Showman populations. They may do this by including them within the detailed ethnic group classification or by creating bespoke small population tables for these groups.

Support for using the new Census Data 

The ONS are running a number of webinars to share their updated plans for the first phase of the Census 2021 release.You can register for their events here. 

If you have any questions please contact us at support@ocsi.co.uk 

Christmas Break

The Community Insight support team will be off during the Christmas break from Monday the 20th of December to Monday the 3rd of January inclusive.

We will not be able to respond to any Community Insight support requests during this time.

We will answer emails when the office reopens on Tuesday the 4th of January.


If you experience any issues or need support please visit our the Help Centre.

If you have another question which requires assistance from a member of the team please email support@ocsi.co.uk. We will reply on Tuesday 4th of January.

Driving a prosperous recovery

Writing in the Financial Times, Henrietta Moore, founder and director of The Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) at University College London spoke on the need to “build back better” based on a more nuanced vision of prosperity, rooted in local communities.

Referring to a four-year project by the IGP to create a prosperity index for east London, she wrote that “Instead of measures of growth, productivity and income, the index identified 15 headline indicators that reflected the lived experience of prosperity for people in these places. It established that “human infrastructure” — public transport, affordable or free childcare, social care and low or no-cost digital services — was what made lives liveable and laid the foundations for a prosperous life.[1]

Indicators in the index were selected based on a citizen-scientist led research project, and included good quality and secure jobs, household security and affordability, sense of community and healthy, safe and secure neighbourhoods. The project re-iterated that high-level indicators like GDP and productivity are entirely abstract from what it feels like to live a prosperous life, in a distinct place.

The social housing sector is looking to the long-term recovery from Covid-19, and could benefit from measuring its own success against such individual and community based indicators. What makes for prosperity will look different in the communities of East London who were a focus of the IGP study, in comparison to a rural community in North Wales.

In practice this means thinking strategically all the way down to the neighbourhood level, which allows social housing organisations to make targeted interventions. Many of Community Insights indicators relate to the 15 themes identified by the IGP.

Good and Secure Jobs

One of the themes that came through the IGP research was the importance of good jobs in peoples experience of prosperity. One indicator on Community Insight is Universal Credit Claimants – In Employment.(latest data from June 2021). The colours on the map show % of working age people receiving Universal Credit around the study sites the IGP chose in East London.

Specific down to a LSOA level (refers to Lower Layer Super Output Areas – typically about 650 households), it’s clear that a high proportion of local people of working age are in receipt of universal credit, in this part of East London.

Healthy, safe and secure neighbourhoods

The map looks different when we look at another IGP theme, healthy, safe and secure neighbourhoods. One of the sub categories was access to open and green space, and the indicator from Community Insight below is AHAH Green Space (active) with the colours on the map showing distance to Green spaces (km)

For a social housing organisation which is looking to build back better with a focus on prosperity for residents, these data sets can play a role in informing targeted interventions. In the case of access to green space, its clear that specific neighbourhoods have diminished access. Working with and through local residents, solutions might include building green spaces into new developments or turning marginal sites into pocket parks.

Global goals made local

The IGP report references the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) role in moving away from conventional abstract measures of prosperity like GDP. This is a radically different vision of prosperity to the orthodox understanding of prosperity as material wealth that dominated global policymaking throughout the 20th century”.[2]

Whilst the SDGs are global in ambition, many play out at a local level and in individual lives. Whilst its hard to see how Gross Domestic Product means much in our everyday lived experience, goals such as ‘Gender equality’ are experienced through employment outcomes, public transport and access to affordable childcare.

With this in mind, its no surprise that social housing organisations are accessing ESG funding to deliver against the SDGs and other frameworks. Rooted in specific places, social housing organisations as anchor institutions are well placed to deliver people-centred prosperity through affordable housing, placemaking and community investment.

For investors serious about meaningful impact, rather than abstract metrics on an accounting ledger, social housing can be a force for good as a locally based actor in people’s lives.  A good score in an ESG framework needs to be visible in individual peoples and communities’ lives, otherwise it risks being as abstract as GDP.

The role of Community Insight

Our Community Insight tool built for targeted decision making, utilising over 1000 indicators all the way down to the LSOA level. When coupled with theory of change on how to leverage social value, health and wellbeing, it can be a powerful tool to drive the sort of community level prosperity outlined in the IGP’s report.

Social housing organisations that can demonstrate how they are meeting global goals in local places stand out as serious about people centred prosperity. As a tool, Community Insight (alongside resident engagement) provides the sort of data to direct community investment where it can leverage the most impact.


[2] https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a0c05169f07f51c64a336a2/t/5d03c62b56b1ce0001bf6266/1560528440423/LPI_Report_single_140619_update.pdf


It’s now easier to create stock groups based on postcodes in Community Insight

You can now create stock group areas based on postcodes where you don’t have stock.

Previously, you could only create stock groups based on your stock’s postcodes. We’ve expanded this feature to allow you to create stock group areas based on any postcode regardless of whether there is stock within it or not. 

The 3 main improvements are…

1) You can now create stock groups based on any postcode, not just postcodes in your stock list.

2) You can see the boundary line around your stock group area so that it is clear where data for that area derives from.

3) Your postcodes are validated on import so you can be sure they are accurate.

Create stock group areas based on any postcode

Previously you could only create stock group areas using postcodes that were already uploaded in your group’s stock list. Hence why they are called stock groups, as they were areas based on where you have stock. This limited the areas that you could create.

Now you can create stock group areas based on any postcode. For example, create an area where you are planning on adding stock and view data for that community.

See the boundary line around your stock group areas

Whereas previously, stock group areas created using this method displayed as stock icons on the map, now the areas display with clear boundary lines around the constituent regions covered, alongside any stock icons to represent the stock you have in that area. 

Data is still created for these areas in the same way, more on that below, but now you can see a more accurate depiction of the area you have created on the map. 

The image on the left shows how postcode stock groups previously displayed on the map. The image on the right shows how the same stock group area now displays on the map.

How Community Insight calculates data for stock group areas based on postcodes

Community Insight identifies all the Output Areas (OAs) covered by the uploaded postcodes and then calculates the data based on those component OAs. Community Insight then apportions data for that collection of OAs and their value is the value for your stock group areas.

Not sure what Output Areas are? 

Output Areas (OA) are standard areas that were primarily created for the publication of the Census. They are fairly homogeneous in terms of population size – ranging from 40 to 250 households. The number of postcodes per OA is always changing as new postcodes are added. There are roughly 11 postcodes per OA and no single postcode will cover multiple OAs.

Please note: Your existing stock group areas created using postcodes have been updated to display in the new format with a boundary line around the areas covered. 

Some historic stock group areas created, based on stock postcodes, may no longer show anything on the map. This will be the case if you updated your accounts’s stock list and in the process removed the stock postcodes used to create that stock group area. If you want to recreate these historic stock groups, we can support you to do this – please email support@ocsi.co.uk.

Going forward this issue will no longer happen as the stock feature has been decoupled from the postcode area feature. Therefore, any stock groups created based on postcodes will remain static, allowing you to see data for them regardless of the stock you have in that area.

Postcodes validated on import

When creating stock group areas based on postcodes you can either paste in a list of postcodes or upload a CSV.

In both methods, Community Insight checks the postcodes to ensure that they are valid. If there are invalid postcodes (e.g typos, postcodes from other countries), you will see an error message detailing the rows that have invalid postcodes. You can then go back edit those postcodes and reupload.

Reminder of how to create stock group areas…

To create a stock group area you must have Power User or Group Admin access.

Read our Help Centre for more support on creating stock groups in Community Insight.

Get in touch!

If you have any questions or feedback then get in touch with us on support@ocsi.co.uk or call us 01273 810270.

The implications of Census 2021 data on Community Insight

Although the census 2021 is complete, the ONS won’t be publishing outputs until March 2022 at the earliest. But when the data’s finally released, here’s what you can expect to see on Community Insight.

The first census release is likely to cover data on the total population at Local Authority level. This will then be followed by data on the major themes of the census, such as ethnicity, qualifications, economic activity, and general health. Following this we will see the release some of the small area data outputs – LSOA and MSOA.

The final release is likely to include datasets that cut across different themes. For example, you may be able look at datasets on age and homeownership or ethnicity and health in relationship to each other. Included too in this final release will be origin and destination data – an examination of travel to work patterns and migration patterns.

New Developments

The ONS is planning to develop a dissemination tool, which will allow users to create bespoke tables that cut across different sensor table themes. Users will be able to ask bespoke questions of the census, pertinent to their exact needs and combinations of data required, resulting in bespoke data tables for analysis. This is an exciting development which we hope to see applied to Community Insight.

New Geographies

Changes in Output Area geography:

  • Roughly 5% of Output Area (OAs) boundaries will change (2.5% changed in 2011)
  • Some LSOA and MSOA definitions will also change
  • All revised OAs will nestle into a stable hierarchy of Lower and Middle layer SOAs

As part of the Census 2021 update, the ONS are planning to make some changes to the Output Area geographies, with potentially up to 5% of all Output Area boundaries changing. This will have knock on effects for the LSOA and MSOA boundaries, as all areas will continue to nestle within larger boundaries. This is critical to Community Insight as Output Area boundaries are the building blocks for all the stock groups created by users.

There are three main circumstances where a change in OA boundaries may occur:

  1. Where the population has changed dramatically – a defining principle for OAs is that they are comparable in size and composition.
  2. To align Output Area boundaries more closely with the latest ward and parish boundaries to facilitate better data at these levels – so that fewer wards and parishes are based on ‘best-fit’ geographies.
  3. Where OAs are split by Local Authority boundary changes that have occurred since the 2011 Census, ensuring that they are aligned to the changed Local Authority boundaries as of 2022.

The pandemic may have resulted in unexpected changes to population as many people are not currently residing within what may have been their normal place of residence. For example, it’s estimated that a large number of people that are normally resident within the UK are currently living abroad, particularly foreign students and migrant workers, meaning we may see more changes in population patterns than were observed in the last census.

Impact on Community Insight functionality

To ensure that we are ready to load census data into Community Insight and that all the data in the system is based on the most up-to-date and relevant geographies, we propose to update Community Insight to run on Census 2021 OA/LSOA and MSOA geographies in advance of when the data for the Census 2021 is released at this geographical level. We will need to convert all stock groups built from component areas that have changed, so that they will be based on the new OA/LSOA/MSOA building blocks.

We will also need to ensure that we can continue to read in data for both new and old geographies, to support our users who hold their own data for old geographies, as well as for any data suppliers who are still publishing their data for old geographical boundaries. Where data is published for old geographies, we will convert it to the new geographies on the site.

Moving to the new Output Area boundaries will have some implications for users. Those stock groups which contain OAs, LSOAs or MSOAs that change in 2021 will be updated to reflect these changes. Users may therefore see some slight changes to the data for some of their stock groups.

For those stock group areas created by standard area, users may see some changes to the way the boundaries on the map are displayed. Where change occurs, we will make sure that we notify any affected users of their custom area changes.

There will also be some minor changes to the thematic maps, with small changes to MSOA and LSOA boundaries. Because the number of areas will change, some areas may see a change in quintile rank where they were previously ranked on the margin of two quintile bands. However, this will be a small change that will only affect a handful of areas.

We will need to convert all older data to the new geographies and all new data published for old geographies, to align with the new boundaries, so there will be some small differences from the published data for data released for the old boundaries.

Lastly, any custom datasets users have uploaded may display differently and therefore may require re-uploading.

Data Changes

The census 2021 will also bring updates to much of the data within Community Insight. This will see our largest single update to data we have ever managed as we expect to update up to 356 census indicators.

The new census population figures will have knock on effects for the Mid-Year population Estimates. As in 2011, the Mid Year Estimates will be revised to ensure they are aligned with the population base as counted in Census 2021 – this re-alignment will also affect the historical population estimates between Census 2011 and Census 2021. This will affect not only the population indicators themselves, but also any indicator which used population estimates as a denominator, with at least 275 indicators potentially affected.

New Data Opportunities and Discussions

As well as updates to existing indicators, there are likely to be new sources of interesting data from the census.

For example, there are new questions relating to sexual orientation and gender identity which will enable analysis of the size and socio-demographic characteristics of the LGBTQI+ communities in different local neighbourhoods.

ONS are also planning to develop a new flexible dissemination system for creating tables. This will make it easier to create bespoke tables which cut across multiple census themes, such as identifying areas with high concentrations of young adults with both low skills and high unemployment.

The new dissemination tool will also mean that the cross tabular data will be made available much earlier than it was last time around, when cross theme tables were some of the last outputs to be released. We will engage with users closer to the time of release as to what sort of cross theme data users would like to see in Community Insight.

Another potentially exciting development is the possibility of linking census data with key administrative data at record level to produce multi-variate small area measures of interest.

The ONS consultation events so far indicate that they are having discussions with the Valuation Office Agency about producing a more sophisticated overcrowding measure that considers room size. They are also in discussion with HMRC and DWP about producing a robust small area household and personal income measure.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Community Insight, get in touch with Lara Phelps for a demo and free trial.