Census output geography

Understanding census statistical output geography.


Census statistical outputs need to be produced for a variety of geographies in Northern Ireland to maximise the utility of the data and realise key benefits. These geographies range in size from neighbourhoods to large administrative units, such as Local Government Districts (LGDs).

A public consultation on our Census 2021 outputs strategy took place in 2018 and indicated a user need to update the Small Area and Super Output Area geographies developed for the 2011 Census. As a result, NISRA has developed two new statistical output geographies to support the dissemination of Census 2021 statistics.

New statistical output geographies

The two new statistical output geographies for Census 2021 are named Data Zone (DZ2021) and Super Data Zone (SDZ2021).

Read our information papers to find out how the new statistical output geographies have been developed, and how other Northern Ireland geographies can be approximated.

Digital boundaries

The Data Zone and Super Data Zone digital boundaries are available in a range of formats, including shapefile, GeoJSON, and geodatabase.

Users can download digital boundaries for:

Census 2021 data

To accompany the release of the new statistical output geographies, Census Office published person and household estimates from Census 2021. Data are available for Data Zone, Super Data Zone, and District Electoral Area.

The census area explorer has been updated with person and household estimates for the new geographies.

Further Census 2021 data involving these new geographies will be available in summer 2023. The Census 2021 outputs prospectus will be updated as more information becomes available on the future release plans.