Reis, S.; Steinle, S.; Carnell, E.; Leaver, D.; Vieno, M.; Beck, R.; Dragosits, U.

UK gridded population based on Census 2011 and Land Cover Map 2007

This dataset contains gridded population with a spatial resolution of 1 km x 1 km for the UK based on Census 2011 and Land Cover Map 2007 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 2007 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: 2016-02-15

Get the data

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

Format of the dataset : ASCII grid

You must cite: Reis, S.; Steinle, S.; Carnell, E.; Leaver, D.; Vieno, M.; Beck, R.; Dragosits, U. (2016). UK gridded population based on Census 2011 and Land Cover Map 2007. 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 2007 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 2007 (with satellite data compiled prior to the release, whereas Census data was obtained in 2011. In the period in between, additional residential areas will have emerged, which are not currently included in the land use data provided by LCM 2007. For the dataset, the discrepancy between total Census 2011 population figures and the resulting 1 km x 1 km gridded total accumulates to 0.47%. This value is applied as a scaling factor to the gridded dataset to generate a data product consistent with the Census total population for 2011.

Supplemental information

This dataset is referenced in:

Ots, R., Vieno, M., Allan, J. D., Reis, S., Nemitz, E., Young, D.E., … Heal, M.R. (2016). Model simulations of cooking organic aerosol (COA) over the UK using estimates of emissions based on measurements at two sites in London. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 16(21), 13773-13789
Lloyd, C.D., Catney, G., Williamson, P., & Bearman, N. (2017). Exploring the utility of grids for analysing long term population change. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 66, 1-12.
Ots, R., Heal, M.R., Young, D.E., Williams, L.R., Allan, J.D., Nemitz, E., … Vieno, M. (2018). Modelling carbonaceous aerosol from residential solid fuel burning with different assumptions for emissions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 18(7), 4497-4518
Nguyen, M. D., & Shin, W.-Y. (2019). An Improved Density-Based Approach to Spatio-Textual Clustering on Social Media. IEEE Access, 7, 27217–27230.
Cox, D. T. C., Bennie, J., Casalegno, S., Hudson, H. L., Anderson, K., & Gaston, K. J. (2019). Skewed contributions of individual trees to indirect nature experiences. Landscape and Urban Planning, 185, 28–34.
Cox, D. T. C., Hudson, H. L., Plummer, K. E., Siriwardena, G. M., Anderson, K., Hancock, S., … Gaston, K. J. (2018). Covariation in urban birds providing cultural services or disservices and people. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55(5), 2308–2319.
Walker, D., Fee, S. A., Hartley, G., Learmount, J., O’Hagan, M. J. H., Meredith, A. L., … Philbey, A. W. (2016). Serological and molecular epidemiology of canine adenovirus type 1 in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the United Kingdom. Scientific Reports, 6(1)

Correspondence/contact details

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


Reis, S.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Steinle, S.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Carnell, E.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Leaver, D.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Vieno, M.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Beck, R.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Dragosits, U.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre

Additional metadata

Topic categories
Mapping Pollution and Environmental Risk
Population Distribution - Demography
Spatial representation types
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid
Last updated