Reis, S. et al

UK gridded population 2011 based on Census 2011 and Land Cover Map 2015

This is the most recent version of this dataset (other versions )
This dataset contains gridded human population with a spatial resolution of 1 km x 1 km for the UK based on Census 2011 and Land Cover Map 2015 input data. Data on population distribution for the United Kingdom is available from statistical offices in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and provided to the public e.g. via the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Population data is typically provided in tabular form or, based on a range of different geographical units, in file types for geographical information systems (GIS), for instance as ESRI Shapefiles. The geographical units reflect administrative boundaries at different levels of detail, from Devolved Administration to Output Areas (OA), wards or intermediate geographies. While the presentation of data on the level of these geographical units is useful for statistical purposes, accounting for spatial variability for instance of environmental determinants of public health requires a more spatially homogeneous population distribution. For this purpose, the dataset presented here combines 2011 UK Census population data on Output Area level with Land Cover Map 2015 land-use classes 'urban' and 'suburban' to create a consistent and comprehensive gridded population data product at 1 km x 1 km spatial resolution. The mapping product is based on British National Grid (OSGB36 datum).

Publication date: 2017-11-22

Get the data

This dataset is made available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the data: ASCII grid

You must cite: Reis, S.; Liska, T.; Steinle, S.; Carnell, E.; Leaver, D.; Roberts, E.; Vieno, M.; Beck, R.; Dragosits, U. (2017). UK gridded population 2011 based on Census 2011 and Land Cover Map 2015. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


Contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right


Study area

Provenance & quality

Census data from the Office of National Statistics have been downloaded as CSV files.

Land Cover Map 2015 vector data has been obtained from CEH.

Output Area geography data (Extent of the Realm), were obtained for England & Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

The processing steps are detailed in the Supporting Documentation.

To ensure consistency of the final product, total population numbers were compared, at each processing step, with the official 2011 Census totals. In particular due to the clipping process, which merges data on different geographies, areas where population data are provided on administrative boundaries and areas which contain urban, suburban and urban industrial land use parcels, some inconsistencies are inevitable. In addition, the Land Cover Map has been generated in 2015 (with satellite data compiled prior to the release, whereas Census data was obtained in 2011. In the period in between, changes in residential areas will have emerged, which result in different urban or suburban land use data in LCM 2015 compared to the 2011 census (e.g. newly developed residential areas). While there is a difference between residential and workday populations in the Census dataset of 0.107%, the same population figure has been assumed for scaling. As a result, the final output file is consistent with the Census total population for the UK in 2011 within 0.0012% for residential and 0.0005% for workday populations respectively.


Supplemental information

This dataset is referenced in:

Reis, S., Liška, T., Vieno, M., Carnell, E. J., Beck, R., Clemens, T., … Heal, M. R. (2018). The influence of residential and workday population mobility on exposure to air pollution in the UK. Environment International, 121, 803–813.
Visser-Quinn, A., Beevers, L., Collet, L., Formetta, G., Smith, K., Wanders, N., … Kumar, R. (2019). Spatio-temporal analysis of compound hydro-hazard extremes across the UK. Advances in Water Resources, 130, 77–90.
Sumner, S., Bevan, P., Hart, A.G., & Isaac, N.J.B. (2019). Mapping species distributions in 2 weeks using citizen science. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 12(5), 382-388.
Watson, J., Zidek, J.V., & Shaddick, G. (2019). A general theory for preferential sampling in environmental networks. The Annals of Applied Statistics, 13(4), 2662-2700.

Correspondence/contact details

Dr. Stefan Reis
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bush Estate
EH26 0QB


Reis, S.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Liska, T.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Steinle, S.
Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM)
Carnell, E.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Leaver, D.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Roberts, E.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Vieno, M.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Beck, R.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Dragosits, U.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Other contacts

NERC EDS Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre

Additional metadata

Topic categories
Environmental risk Mapping Pollution
Population Distribution - Demography
Spatial representation types
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid
Last updated
25 June 2021 18:31