Geographic levels

The term geography means the level at which data is shown e.g. ward, LSOA etc. 

This page provides a brief guide to the geographic levels as used on this website. 

The geographies are ordered from smallest to largest.

Output Areas, Lower Super Output Areas, Middle Super Output Areas, Civil Parishes, Wards, District, County

Output Areas (OAs)

Areas generated following the 2001 Census. 

The minimum OA size is 40 resident households and 100 resident people but the recommended size was rather larger at 125 households.  2001 Census OAs were built from clusters of adjacent unit postcodes but as they reflected the characteristics of the actual census data they could not be generated until after data processing.  They were designed to have similar population sizes and be as socially homogenous as possible (based on tenure of household and dwelling type).  Urban/rural mixes were avoided where possible (that is, OAs preferably consisted entirely of urban postcodes or entirely of rural postcodes).

From the 2011 Census, there are 252 OAs in the Malvern Hills district, this is an increase from 250 in 2001.  This is due to housing developments and population growth within the district, which causes the boundaries to be redrawn to ensure comparability.

More information about Output Areas can be found on the Office for National Statistics website.

Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs)

Lower Super Output Area (LSOAs) are units of geographic boundary developed by the Office for National Statistics and are aggregations of Output Areas. Output Areas are subdivisions of 2003 wards and each contains approximately 125 households (300 residents). LSOAs are the next largest area up and each contain a minimum population of 1,000 persons and on average (mean) contain a population of 1,500 persons. There are a total 32,482 LSOAs in England.

There are 45 LSOAs in the Malvern Hills district.

Middle Super Output Areas (MSOAs)

Middle Layer Super Output Areas are a geographic hierarchy designed to improve the reporting of small area statistics in England and Wales. Middle Layer Super Output Areas are built from groups of contiguous Lower Layer Super Output Areas. The minimum population is 5000 and the mean is 7200.

There are 11 MSOAs in the Malvern Hills district.

Civil Parishes

Civil parishes are the lowest tier of local government.  They vary in both geographical and population size.  These are administrative parishes, not ecclesiastical parishes - although some may be similar.

There are 68 civil parishes in the Malvern Hills district.  These are represented by 54 parish councils.  


Wards are the primary unit of British administrative and electoral geography.  Each ward is represented by one or more councillors.  There are 38 councillors in total that comprise Malvern Hills district council.

There are 22 wards in the Malvern Hills district.


The district refers to the administrative area of Malvern Hills District Council. 


The county of Worcestershire contains the districts of Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, RedditchWorcester cityWychavon and Wyre Forest.

This geography is used primarily to provide a comparison to local values.