Profiling Places Wales

  • Understanding the places where we live and work

Place based evidence is essential, both to plan and deliver services and to understand how places are changing over time. This tool provides a range of information about towns and places across Wales. Learn more about the tool and its development. Using the menu to the right choose the town or place you are interested in. The tool will also offer you the opportunity to compare one place with another.

We are keen to hear the views of users, as we seek to add further data and extend its functionality.

Please choose a place



Place based evidence is essential, both to plan and deliver services and to understand how places are changing over time. This is being brought into stronger focus in recent work to better understand well-being at a community level. However, painting a picture of a place and being able to distinguish its characteristics from those of other places brings its challenges. Firstly, how best to define our places in a consistent way, while providing information on a geographical basis which service providers (and citizens) will recognise as towns, communities, etc. Secondly, the challenge of limited robust quantitative data being available at a sub-local authority level.

So, where are we now? Feedback from demonstrations of the pilot tool over the Spring and Summer of 2018 was very positive so we went ahead with the development and launch of a fully bilingual beta tool covering ‘places’ across Wales.

We have continued to receive valuable feedback and this feedback has helped us update and develop the tool further. Further updates and developments were launched with the newest version of the tool in March 2020.

While aimed at supporting local government and its partners, we hope it will be useful to a wider audience.

We have revised our threshold to only include BUAs with a population of 2,000 or more (Census 2011 population) based on the current lack of available data for those places with a Census population of less than 2,000. We will review this for future iterations of our tool.

There are currently 189 places profiled in Profiling Places Wales.


Data Cymru is part of the local government family in Wales. We believe that information and intelligence can be used effectively to deliver and improve services. Our role seeks to ensure that local government in Wales and its partners make effective use of robust and timely data to support decision making and determine priorities.

We offer a range of specialist support designed to help organisations find and use data effectively, including:

  • Help to source, collect, or collate data
  • Data analysis
  • Effective data presentation
  • Advice on the best ways to undertake research
  • Help to find out what citizens, service users/customers think
  • Training your staff in relevant topics such as Basic Statistics, Presenting Data, Managing Performance, Survey Design & Analysis, Questionnaire Design etc.
  • Providing cost-effective access to a range of commercial data sets.



The places in our tool have been defined using the ONS built-up area (BUA) geography. This means we have a consistent approach across Wales and it allows us to maximise the data we can show in the tool. However, such an approach means that there will be some ‘places’ which may not be widely recognised as such.

Census data for BUAs in England and Wales, previously known as ‘urban areas’, have been produced every 10 years since 1981. ONS define built-up areas as ‘land which is irreversibly urban in character’, meaning that they are characteristic of a town or city. More information about the methodology used to define BUAs including built-up area sub-divisions (BUASDs) is available here.

At the time of the Census in 2011, 95% of the resident population of England and Wales lived in BUAs, with the smallest BUAs having a population of just over 100, and the largest having a population of nearly 9.8 million. For Wales the figure was 89% of the resident population.

Census data for BUAs are provided on a Census output area best-fit basis. This means that figures are aggregated up from whole output areas that have been best-fit to the areas, rather than the actual figure for the area itself. Consequently, best-fit estimates for areas with a population of greater than 1,500 people are likely to be more robust than the estimates for smaller areas.

ONS suggest “caution is needed when using statistics for built-up areas and sub-divisions with a population of less than 1,500 people”. However, some of the data we want to use is derived from Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) level data (rather than aggregates of output level data). Consequently, we’ve limited the tool to places with a Census population of 2,000 or more. As a result, some small settlements which users might expect to find may not be present in our tool. More information from Welsh Government on the ‘Best fit of Lower Super Output Areas to Built-up Areas’ is available here.


In addition to Census data, there are a number of more contemporary data sets available at the BUA geography. We have also produced some bespoke sets for our tool using a LSOA to BUA best-fit ‘look up’. We hope to encourage the development of more data at the BUA level.

Feedback from our pilot work confirmed that data aggregated at a BUA level can be less useful for our larger towns and cities. To make the tool more useful for such places, we have included a range of disaggregated data at the LSOA geography. Our population threshold for including the disaggregated data has now been lowered to 20,000. We’ll continue to look to develop this functionality further in future iterations of the tool.



We have an exciting route map planned for the tool, with a long-term focus on its potential to support understanding of the data coming out the 2021 Census. In the meantime, we’ll be looking for input from users as we seek to add further data and extend its functionality.

Please let us have your views and ideas.

Contact details

Data Cymru
One Canal Parade
Dumballs Road
CF10 5BF
United Kingdom
Phone: 029 2090 9500