Headcounts and Household Estimates for Postcodes in England and Wales

Detail of release

This release contains summary results - 2011 Census estimates of usual residents broken down by sex and an estimate of the number of households with one or more usual residents - for unit postcodes in England and Wales. In addition to this, a separate table detailing the postcode/OA splits is provided.

The postcode headcount datasets are supplied in CSV format. The two datasets have been split into four files each to make manipulation of the data easier. As a convenience, we have also combined the files to form one dataset for each table.

Table 2 only contains information on postcodes that are split across Output Areas.

Description of the data

Table 1: This is simply a count of usual residents broken down by sex and a count of the number of households with one or more usual residents for each postcode within England and Wales.

Table 2: If a postcode splits the boundary of two adjacent Output Areas, table 2 shows the count and proportion of usual residents of that postcode who reside in each Output Area.

Please Note: Postcodes with no usual residents have not been included in these tables.



A household is defined as one person living alone, or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room or sitting room or dining area

A household must contain at least one person whose place of usual residence is at the address. A group of short-term residents living together is not classified as an occupied household, and neither is a group of people at an address where only visitors are staying.

Usual resident

The main population base for outputs from the 2011 Census is the usual resident population as at census day 27 March 2011. Although the population base for enumeration included non-UK short-term residents, this population is analysed separately and is not included in the main outputs from the 2011 Census. All outputs, unless specified, are produced using only usual residents of the UK.

For 2011 Census purposes, a usual resident of the UK is anyone who, on census day, was in the UK and had stayed or intended to stay in the UK for a period of 12 months or more, or had a permanent UK address and was outside the UK and intended to be outside the UK for less than 12 months.

Household space

A household space is the accommodation used or available for use by an individual household.

Household spaces are identified separately in census results as those with at least one usual resident, and those that do not have any usual residents. A household space with no usual residents may still be used by short-term residents, visitors who were present on census night, or a combination of short-term residents and visitors.

Vacant household spaces and household spaces that are exclusively used as second addresses are also classified in census results as household spaces with no usual residents.

Geographic Information


Unit postcodes are the base unit of postal geography. They are alphanumeric references comprising an outward code of 2-4 characters and an inward code which is always 3 characters for example:

Outward CodeInward Code

The postcodes for which 2011 Census estimates are provided in this release are as at ceneus day, 27 March 2011.

Differences to releases at postcode sector level

The counts provided in this product are based on the postcode to output area lookup file. This is a lookup between enumeration postcodes, statistical geographies, (output areas, lower layer super output areas, middle layer super output areas) and local authority districts as at December 2011 in England and Wales. The lookups are created using the allocation of postcodes based on their geometric centroid. The methodology used to create this lookup file differs from that used for other Census outputs on postcode sectors which are based on the best-fit allocation of an Output Area’s population weighted centroid to the postcode sectors. More information on the methodology used to create the Output Area to postcode sector lookup file can be found at https://geoportal.statistics.gov.uk/geoportal/catalog/search/resource/details.page Due to the different methodologies used to create the two lookups, postcode sector counts calculated using each of these will not match.

Output Areas (OAs)

For the 2011 Census, the smallest geographic unit for which outputs are published is the Output Area (OA). OAs were introduced for the 2001 Census to provide a stable small area geography for the production of local area statistics. To ensure the confidentiality of data published for OAs, they were designed for the 2001 Census to have at least 40 resident households and 100 resident people, but the recommended size was larger at 125 households.

OAs are used as the building blocks that are aggregated to form all higher geographical areas for which statistics are produced, in accordance with the Geography Policy for National Statistics. These 'best-fit' estimates are therefore consistent and comparable with other National Statistics prepared using the geography policy.

A similar Output Area building block policy was also used to produce results from the 2001 Census. To maintain as much consistency and comparability with 2001 Census results, and with other national statistics, the 2001 Output Area boundaries have been preserved wherever possible for 2011.

A small number have been modified, based on 2011 Census population estimates in instances where the population has undergone significant change since 2001. Other modifications have also been made to align OAs with local authority boundaries that have changed since the 2001 OAs were created, and to improve the social homogeneity of some areas.

In total, for the 2011 Output Areas, there are 171,372 OAs in England and 10,036 in Wales. This means that 2.6 per cent of 2001 OAs have been modified as a result of the 2011 Census.

Output-Area-to-higher-area lookup files, which specify the "best-fit" that has been used for a range of geographical hierarchies, are available to download from the ONS website at http://ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/geography/products/census/index.html.

Output Area codes

Output Area use the nine character codes introduced from January 2011.

25th September 2013 - Correction

An error was identified in the formatting for postcode E3 2UG in file "Postcode_Estimates_Table_ 1_A_F.csv" first published 28 June 2013. The initial file incorrectly contained two entries for postcode E3 2UG - E3 2UG (single space between E3 and 2UG) and E3 2UG (double space between E3 and 2UG). T The counts for these two entries, when combined provide the correct counts for this postcode.This error has now been corrected, the counts combined and the format E3 2UG (double space between E3 and 2UG) used for the new entry as this is the standard format. ONS apologises for any inconvenience caused.

More Information

More information on results from the 2011 Census is available on the National Statistics website www.ons.gov.uk. More information on this and other products is available from:

Census Customer Services
Segensworth Road
PO15 5RR

Telephone: ++44 (0)1329 444972
Fax: ++44 (0)1633 652981
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E-mail: census.customerservices@ons.gov.uk