Glossary:Revision of the degree of urbanisation

From Statistics Explained

The revision of the degree of urbanisation is the revision by the European Commission of the original degree of urbanisation, using population grid cells as the main criteria instead of LAU2s. This improves the accuracy and the comparability of this classification.

Distribution of local administrative units level 2 (LAU2) by degree of urbanisation (¹)(%)

The main criteria in the new methodology are:

  • thinly-populated area (alternative name: rural area): more than 50 % of the population lives in rural grid cells;
  • intermediate density area (alternative name: towns and suburbs or small urban area): less than 50 % of the population lives in rural grid cells and less than 50 % live in high-density clusters;
  • densely populated area (alternative names: cities or large urban area): at least 50 % lives in high-density clusters; in addition, each high-density cluster should have at least 75 % of its population in densely-populated LAU2s; this also ensures that all high-density clusters are represented by at least one densely-populated LAU2, even when this cluster represents less than 50 % of the population of that LAU2.

 In the above, the following definitions are used:

  • rural grid cell: grid cell outside urban clusters;
  • urban cluster: cluster of contiguous grid cells of 1 km2 with a density of at least 300 inhabitants per km2 and a minimum population of 5 000;
  • high-density cluster (alternative name: urban centre): contiguous grid cells of 1 km2 with a density of at least 1 500 inhabitants per km2 and a minimum population of 50 000

For more information, see the new Eurostat Labour force survey (LFS) Guidance note  (from page 137 onwards) on degree of urbanisation. This revised classification is implemented from reference year 2012 onwards.  

Further information

Related concepts

Statistical data