A Classification of Workplace Zones from the 2011 Censuses for the United Kingdom (UK)

Published by: Office for National Statistics (ONS) and University of Southampton, in collaboration with National Records of Scotland (NRS) and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Available from: The workplace-based area classification web pages on ONS’ website

Description: The Classification of Workplace Zones for the UK (COWZ-UK) is a geodemographic classification of the characteristics of Workplace Zones (WZs), based on data from the 2011 Censuses of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. COWZ-UK categorises WZs based on their similarity across a range of census variables. It comprises a two-tier hierarchy of 7 Supergroups and 29 Groups.

COWZ-UK extends the methods used to create the Classification of Workplace Zones for England and Wales (COWZ-EW) in order to produce a UK-wide classification. Except for some minor differences in the definitions of variables in Scotland and Northern Ireland compared to England and Wales, the input variables and methods employed in COWZ-UK are almost identical to those in COWZ-EW. The final classification is also very similar, but has modifications to the number of Group-level clusters and to some cluster names to reflect the different characteristics in the UK version. Note that the coding convention used in COWZ-UK is deliberately different to that of COWZ-EW in order to clearly differentiate between the two classifications. More detail on the methodology can be found in the COWZ-UK User Guide.

Please note that corrections were made in March 2023 (version 2) to the Group radial plots in Annex C on the ONS website, linked above. The Group labels and descriptions are unchanged.

Licence: COWZ-UK is made available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. You may re-use this information free of charge, in any format or medium under the terms of the licence.

Data Citation: Office for National Statistics (2018) 2011 workplace-based area classification, Office for National Statistics, Titchfield, UK.

Adapted from data from the Office for National Statistics licensed under the Open Government Licence v.3.0. 2011 Census Workplace Zone boundaries, 2011 Census data tables © Crown copyright and database right 2015