Census 2021 Multivariate Data Release: What’s Next in Local Insight

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has recently released multivariate data from the 2021 Census, and we have started to add key indicators to Local Insight. Multivariate data is important because it allows us to combine indicators to gain a deeper understanding of our communities. With a vast number of possible combinations, we would like to know what you are most interested in seeing in the tool.

The ONS has released the data in the form of an online build a custom dataset tool. This means you can choose which indicators you would like to combine, and which geographic level you’d like to see the data for.

However, this should be used with caution as there are gaps in the data for some indicator combinations at small area level. This may be due to data suppression, to avoid the risk of identifying individuals from the data. For instance, multivariate indicators related to sexuality and gender identity are not available below LA level. 

Multivariate data has relatively low numbers when compared to indicators with a single variant. This can lead to inaccuracies when apportioning and aggregating data for use with custom areas. Therefore, to make sure that the data we’re using is useful, we will only add multivariate indicators to Local Insight when they are available nationally at Output Area (OA) level. This allows for accurate aggregation for larger custom areas.

There is some multivariate data available at OA level for the following themes:

  • Economic activity status
  • Overcrowded housing
  • General health
  • Highest level of qualification
  • Occupation
  • Tenure
  • Unpaid care

For each of these themes, we will provide data for a range of groups including ethnicity, age, gender, household composition, disability and carers. For example, highest level of qualification by different age groups. We will also provide data for where those themes intersect with each other. For example, overcrowded housing by general health. As above, this is subject to the data being available at OA level.

Our research team is currently prioritising key combinations. We want to know which themes you are most interested in seeing so that we can add them to the tool more quickly. We are running a webinar on May 3rd at 11am focusing on the Census multivariate data, which you can sign up for here. Please let us know which themes are most important to you via this form.