The purpose of this paper is to describe and explain the processes and decisions that were involved in the creation of the National Area Classification of 2001 Census Output Areas (OAs). The project was carried out on behalf of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by Daniel Vickers of the School of Geography, University of Leeds as part of his PhD. thesis. The paper describes the creation of the classification: selection of the variables, assembly of the classification database, the methods of standardisation and the clustering procedures, some discussion of alternative methodologies that were considered for use. The processes used for creating the clusters, their naming and description are outlined. The classification is mapped and visualised in a number of different ways. \ud The OA Classification fits into the ONS suite of area classifications complementing published classifications at Local Authority, Health Authority and Ward levels. The classification is freely available, and can be downloaded from the ONS Neighbourhood Statistics website at www.statistics.gov.uk. \u
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