England - Non-metropolitan counties and the ONSPD (Postcode data)

I have a large amount of data records which have a postcode on them that I'm in the process of trying to visualise on an England map.

The first map view I'm doing is naturally regional view. This is fairly trivial because the ONSPD (Ordnance Survey) postcode data has a Government regional field therefore I can lookup where each postcode belongs.

The issue I'm having is doing the same for the non-metropolitan counties that belong to each region. It seems that the ONSPD data does not seem to have a direct mapping to them. It maps to counties but those counties do not cover the whole of England.

The shapefile I have for the counties looks as such :

As you can see, this fills the entire England map and as those of you who have experience with the English county system there are shapefiles for counties that do not cover the whole of England etc.

I tried to contact the Office for National Statistics but they were unhelpful thus far. They simply asked me to have a look at their resources. I explained how I had gone through their website and the different type of county map files. I've also looked at the documentation on the ONSPD but unable to find a county level field which every postcode in England is mapped to. The county mapping they have of the postcodes looks like this :

Not including the Greater London boundaries (it's boroughs) it does not map onto the above linked shapefile.

Hopefully my question has made sense and someone else who has tried to visualise data on a county level for England has had the same issue.

You could always get the postal code data from Wikileaks. It is dated now but hey.,841,177_post_codes_together_with_precise_geographic_coordinates_and_other_information,_8_Jul_2009

UK government database of all 1,841,177 UK postcodes together with latitude and longitude, grid references, county, district, ward, NHS codes and regions, Ordnance Survey reference, and date of introduction. The database was last updated on July 8, 2009 and is over 100,000 pages in size.

The database is structured as a plain text file, with each entry taking one line and with distinct fields separated by commas. The very first line specifies the order of the 17 fields of information about each postcode.

I do not endorse the use of leaked data.

Administrative geography of the United Kingdom

The administrative geography of the United Kingdom is complex, multi-layered and non-uniform. The United Kingdom, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe, consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For local government in the United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own system of administrative and geographic demarcation. Consequently, there is "no common stratum of administrative unit encompassing the United Kingdom". [1]

Because there is no written document that comprehensively encompasses the British constitution, and owing to a convoluted history of the formation of the United Kingdom, a variety of terms are used to refer to its constituent parts, which are sometimes called the four countries of the United Kingdom. [2] The four are sometimes collectively referred to as the Home Nations, particularly in sporting contexts. Although the four countries are important for legal and governmental purposes, they are not comparable to administrative subdivisions of most other countries.

Historically, the subnational divisions of the UK have been the county [3] and the ecclesiastical parish, whilst following the emergence of a unified parliament of the United Kingdom, the ward and constituency have been pan-UK political subdivisions. More contemporary divisions include Lieutenancy areas and the statistical territories defined with the modern NUTS:UK and ISO 3166-2:GB systems.


Local government Edit

Cumbria, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex and Worcestershire are non-metropolitan counties of multiple districts with a county council. In these counties most services are provided by the county council and the district councils have a more limited role. Their areas each correspond exactly to ceremonial counties.

There are six metropolitan counties which are based on the major English conurbations and they also correspond exactly to a ceremonial county and have multiple districts (commonly referred to as metropolitan boroughs), but do not have county councils. They are Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. In these counties the district councils provide the majority of services.

Similarly, Berkshire is a non-metropolitan county with no county council and multiple districts. It maps directly to the ceremonial county of Berkshire.

Bristol, Herefordshire, Isle of Wight, Northumberland and Rutland are ceremonial counties consisting of a non-metropolitan county of a single district, and are known as unitary authorities. [7]

Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Devon, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset and Staffordshire are non-metropolitan counties with multiple districts and a county council, where one or more districts have been split off to form unitary authorities. The effect is that the corresponding ceremonial county is larger than the non-metropolitan county of the same name and the county council is responsible for providing services in only part of the county.

In Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Dorset, Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire, Shropshire and Wiltshire the bulk of the area is a unitary authority which shares the name of the ceremonial county, and the rest of county is part of one or more other unitary authorities.

In total, there are 39 unitary authorities that do not have the same name as any of the ceremonial counties. Bedfordshire, Cheshire and Northamptonshire are counties that consist of a number of unitary authorities, none of which has the same name as the ceremonial county.

The City of London and Greater London are anomalous as ceremonial counties that do not correspond to any metropolitan or non-metropolitan counties, and pre-date their creation.

Institutions Edit

The metropolitan counties have passenger transport executives to manage public transport, a role undertaken by the local authorities of non-metropolitan counties and Transport for London in Greater London.

Large ceremonial counties often correspond to a single police force. For example, the four unitary authorities which make up Cheshire correspond to the same area as the Cheshire Constabulary. Some counties are grouped together for this purpose, such as Northumberland with Tyne and Wear to form the Northumbria Police area. In other areas a group of unitary authorities in several counties are grouped together to form police force areas, such as the Cleveland Police and Humberside Police. Greater London and the City of London each have their own police forces, the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police.

The fire service is operated on a similar county basis, and the ambulance service is organised by the regions of England.

Most ceremonial counties form part of a single region, although Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire are divided between regions. Economic development is delivered using the regions, as is strategic planning.

Comparative areas and populations Edit

As of 2009, the largest county by area is North Yorkshire and the smallest is the City of London. The smallest county with multiple districts is Tyne and Wear and the smallest non-metropolitan county with a county council is Buckinghamshire. The county with the highest population is Greater London and the lowest is the City of London.

Greater London and the metropolitan counties are all in the 15 largest by population and the 15 smallest by area. Greater London has the highest population density, while the lowest is found in Northumberland. By area, the largest ceremonial county consisting of a single-district non-metropolitan county is Northumberland and the smallest is Bristol. By population the largest such county is Bristol and the smallest is Rutland.

Slough is the smallest unitary authority by area that is not also a ceremonial county and Cheshire East is the largest. Hartlepool is the smallest such unitary authority by population and Cheshire West and Chester is the largest. The sui generis Isles of Scilly is smaller both in terms of area and population. The highest population density of any metropolitan or non-metropolitan county is found in Portsmouth and the lowest is found in Northumberland.

Origins Edit

Most English counties were established in the Middle Ages sometime between the 7th and 11th centuries. The early divisions form most of the current counties, albeit with adapted boundaries. [8] Counties were used for the administration of justice, the organisation of the military, local government and parliamentary representation. Some larger counties were divided early on for many purposes, including Yorkshire (into Ridings), Lincolnshire (into Parts) and Sussex (into East and West). In 1832, the Great Reform Act divided larger counties for parliamentary purposes. Changes in the administration of the Poor Law in 1832 and later the implementation of sanitary authorities caused the use of traditional divisions for civil administration to wane. The like-named and broadly similarly shaped registration counties existed for these purposes from 1851 and were used for census reporting from 1851 to 1911. Their boundaries differed from existing counties as they were formed from the combined areas of smaller registration districts, which crossed historic county boundaries.

By the late nineteenth century, there was increasing pressure to reform the structure of English counties. A boundary commission was appointed in 1887 to review all English and Welsh counties, and a Local Government Bill was introduced to parliament in the following year. The resulting Local Government Act 1888 divided the counties into administrative counties, controlled by county councils and independent areas known as county boroughs. [9]

The county councils took over many of the functions of the Quarter Sessions courts, as well as being given further powers over the years. The County of London was created from parts of Kent, Middlesex and Surrey. [10] Each county borough was technically an administrative county of a single district, whilst a number of counties were divided into more than one administrative county they were Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, Sussex and Yorkshire.

The counties used for purposes other than local government, such as lieutenancy, also changed, being either a single administrative county or a grouping of administrative counties and associated county boroughs. The one exception was the City of London, which alone among counties corporate retained a separate lieutenancy and although part of the administrative County of London was also a county of itself for all other purposes. In legislation after 1888 the unqualified use of the term "county" refers to these entities, although the informal term "geographical county" was also used to distinguish them from administrative counties. They were shown on Ordnance Survey maps of the time under both titles, and are equivalent to the modern ceremonial counties.

There were considerable boundary changes between the counties over the years, with areas being exchanged and suburban areas in one county being annexed by county boroughs in another. A major realignment came in 1931, when the boundaries between Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire were adjusted by the Provisional Order Confirmation (Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire) Act which transferred 26 parishes between the three counties, largely to eliminate exclaves.

Proposals and reform Edit

A Local Government Boundary Commission was set up in 1945 with the power to merge, create or divide all existing administrative counties and county boroughs. If the commission's recommendations had been carried out the county map of England would have been completely redrawn. The review process was instead abandoned after the 1950 general election. A Royal Commission on Local Government in Greater London was established in 1957 and a Local Government Commission for England in 1958 to recommend new local government structures.

The major outcomes of the work of the commissions came in 1965: The original County of London was abolished and was replaced by the Greater London administrative area, which also included most of the remaining part of Middlesex and areas formerly part of Surrey, Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire Huntingdonshire was merged with the Soke of Peterborough to form Huntingdon and Peterborough, and the original Cambridgeshire was merged with the Isle of Ely to form Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely. A Royal Commission on Local Government in England was set up in 1966 and reported in 1969, and broadly recommended the complete redrawing of local government areas in England, abandoning the existing counties. Due to a change in government, the report did not translate into legislation.

On 1 April 1974, the Local Government Act 1972 came into force. This abolished the existing local government structure of administrative counties and county boroughs in England and Wales outside Greater London, replacing it with a new entirely 'two-tier' system. It created a new set of 45 counties, six of which were metropolitan and 39 of which were non-metropolitan. The historic county boundaries were retained wherever it was practicable. [2]

However, some of the counties established by the Act were entirely new, such as Avon, Cleveland, Cumbria, Hereford and Worcester, and Humberside, along with the new metropolitan counties of Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire based on the major conurbations. The counties of Cumberland, Herefordshire, Rutland, Westmorland, Huntingdon & Peterborough and Worcestershire were disestablished. The abolition of the county boroughs resulted in the distinction made between the counties for lieutenancy and those for county councils becoming unnecessary. Section 216 of the Act adopted the new counties for ceremonial and judicial purposes, replacing the previous non-administrative counties.

The Royal Mail was unable to follow the changes to county boundaries in 1965 and 1974 due to cost constraints and because several new counties had names that were too similar to post towns. The main differences were that Hereford and Worcester, Greater Manchester and Greater London could not be adopted and that Humberside had to be split into North Humberside and South Humberside.

Additionally, a number of anomalies were created where villages with a post town in another county took the county of the post town for postal addressing purposes. This meant that for directing the mail, England was divided into a somewhat different set of county boundaries from those established in the reforms. There was also a series of official county name abbreviations sanctioned for use. The use of these postal counties was abandoned by the Royal Mail in 1996.

Further changes Edit

The metropolitan counties ceased to have county councils in 1986 and a further reform in the 1990s allowed the creation of non-metropolitan counties of a single district. These became known as unitary authorities and effectively re-established county boroughs. The reform caused the geographic counties to be defined separately once again, and they became known as ceremonial counties.

As well as unitary authorities covering large towns, some small counties such as Rutland and Herefordshire were re-established as unitary authorities. In 2009 unitary authorities were created to replace each of the county councils of Cornwall, County Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire. Bedfordshire and Cheshire were thus abolished as non-metropolitan counties but are retained as ceremonial counties, divided between their unitary authorities.

From 2019, further structural changes have been made or are planned.

There is no well-established series of official symbols or flags covering all the counties. From 1889 the newly-created county councils could apply to the College of Arms for coats of arms, often incorporating traditional symbols associated with the county. This practice continued as new county councils were created in 1965 and 1974. However these armorial bearings belong to the incorporated body of the county council and not to the geographic area of the counties themselves. As county councils have been abolished, and unitary authorities have been carved out, some of these symbols have become obsolete or effectively no longer represent the whole ceremonial county. A recent series of flags, with varying levels of official adoption, have been established in many of the counties by competition or public poll. County days are a recent innovation in some areas.

There are 17 first-class men's county cricket teams that are based on historical English counties. These compete in the County Championship and in the other top-level domestic competitions organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board along with the 18th first-class cricket county - Glamorgan in Wales. There are also 19 English minor county teams which, along with a Wales Minor Counties side, compete for the Minor Counties Championship. The County Football Associations are roughly based on English counties, with exceptions such as the combinations of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and Leicestershire and Rutland.

Outline Map of England

The above blank map represents the country of England, located in the southern region of the United Kingdom. The above map can be downloaded, printed, and used for geography education purposes like map-pointing and coloring activities.

The above outline map represents the country of England, located in the southern region of the United Kingdom.


Among most U.S. jurisdictions analyzed, COVID-19 vaccination coverage was lower overall, among all age groups, and among men and women in rural compared with urban counties. Coverage among adults aged &ge65 years was higher than among younger adults in both rural and urban areas, likely because of vaccine eligibility criteria that prioritized older adults earlier in the implementation of the vaccination program before vaccination was expanded to other age groups. Notably, vaccination coverage among women in both urban and rural areas was higher than that among men, possibly because of the increased likelihood of women seeking and using preventive care services (6), or women working in sectors that were prioritized for early vaccination, such as health care and education. ¶¶ Because residents of rural communities are at increased risk for severe COVID-19&ndashassociated illness and death (2,3), vaccination disparities between urban and rural areas might hinder efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 nationally.

Travel outside county of residence was used as a marker of potential vaccine access difficulties that might be exacerbated in rural areas with sparse vaccination sites. Analysis using the six-level urban-rural classification identified that a higher percentage of persons in the most rural counties traveled to nonadjacent counties for vaccination compared with those in the most urban counties, which might be related to challenges with vaccine access and the dearth of pharmacies in some rural areas (7). In addition, more persons in suburban (i.e., large fringe metropolitan) areas traveled outside their county of residence for vaccination the reasons for this are unclear.

Although vaccination coverage was higher in urban counties compared with that in rural counties in most jurisdictions, five jurisdictions had similar vaccination rates between urban and rural counties and in another five, the rate in rural counties surpassed that of urban counties. Jurisdictional characteristics reported in news media that might have contributed to increased vaccination coverage in rural areas included implementing tailored approaches based on local needs, partnering with local community-based organizations and faith leaders, and engaging with underserved populations directly and through partners.*** ,&dagger&dagger&dagger Local jurisdictions are collaborating with CDC to improve access to COVID-19 vaccines in rural areas by identifying and addressing barriers to vaccination. CDC is also using multiple channels to distribute vaccines, such as federal partners (e.g., the Indian Health Service and the Health Resources and Services Administration) and the Federal Retail Pharmacy program. §§§

Vaccine hesitancy in rural areas is a major barrier that public health practitioners, health care providers, and local partners need to address to achieve vaccination equity. In March 2021, a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that vaccine hesitancy was highest in rural communities, with 21% of rural residents stating that they would &ldquodefinitely not&rdquo get a vaccine compared with 10% of urban residents. Among the rural respondents, 45% of younger adults (aged 18&ndash64 years) stated that they would &ldquodefinitely not&rdquo get a vaccine compared with 8% of older adults (aged 60&ndash69 years) (8). Rural residents who reported that they would &ldquodefinitely not&rdquo get a vaccine were more likely to report not having a college degree and earning <$40,000 per year (8). Notably, 86% of rural residents report they trust their own health care providers for information on COVID-19 vaccines, which highlights the importance of public health practitioners working with established outpatient health care systems in rural areas (9). Through its Vaccinate with Confidence initiative, CDC continues to support rural jurisdictions and local partners in their efforts to improve access to, and bolster trust and confidence in, COVID-19 vaccines. ¶¶¶

The findings in this report are subject to at least five limitations. First, vaccination coverage is not representative of the entire United States, because county of residence was missing for 9.2% of persons.**** Second, each jurisdiction prioritized population subgroups for vaccination differently, which might have also contributed to vaccination coverage differences between urban and rural populations. Third, COVID-19 vaccine supply changed substantially during the observed time period, and persons may have been willing to travel farther for vaccination at the beginning of this time period when vaccine supplies were low, compared with later time periods. Fourth, race and ethnicity were unknown for approximately 40% of persons with available county information therefore, vaccination coverage could not be calculated on the basis of race and ethnicity. Improved data completeness is critical to measure and address racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination coverage. Finally, the NCHS urban-rural classification was developed in 2013, and counties that were classified as rural in 2013 might not be classified as rural during 2020&ndash2021.

Disparities in COVID-19 vaccination between urban and rural communities can hinder progress toward ending the pandemic. Public health practitioners should continue collaborating with health care providers, pharmacies, community-based organizations, faith leaders, and local employers &dagger&dagger&dagger&dagger to address vaccine hesitancy and ensure equitable vaccine access and distribution, particularly in rural areas (10). These focused, multipartner efforts can help increase nationwide vaccination coverage and reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19.


After about 500 AD, England comprised seven Anglo-Saxon territories—Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex—often referred to as the heptarchy. The boundaries of some of these, which later unified as the Kingdom of England, roughly coincide with those of modern regions. During Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate in the 1650s, the rule of the Major-Generals created 10 regions in England and Wales of similar size to the modern regions. [4]

Proposals for administrative regions within England were mooted by the British government prior to the First World War. In 1912, the Third Home Rule Bill was passing through parliament. The Bill was expected to introduce a devolved parliament for Ireland, and as a consequence calls were made for similar structures to be introduced in Great Britain or "Home Rule All Round". On 12 September the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, gave a speech in which he proposed 10 or 12 regional parliaments for the United Kingdom. Within England, he suggested that London, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the Midlands would make natural regions. [5] [6] While the creation of regional parliaments never became official policy, it was for a while widely anticipated and various schemes for dividing England devised. [7] [8] By the 1930s, several competing systems of regions were adopted by central government for such purposes as census of population, agriculture, electricity supply, civil defence and the regulation of road traffic. [9] Nine "standard regions" were set up in 1946, in which central government bodies, statutory undertakings and regional bodies were expected to cooperate. [10] However, these had declined in importance by the late 1950s. [11]

Creation of some form of provinces or regions for England was an intermittent theme of post-Second World War British governments. The Redcliffe-Maud Report proposed the creation of eight provinces in England, which would see power devolved from central government. Edward Heath's administration in the 1970s did not create a regional structure in the Local Government Act 1972, waiting for the Royal Commission on the Constitution, after which government efforts were concentrated on a constitutional settlement in Scotland and Wales for the rest of the decade. In England, the majority of the Commission "suggested regional coordinating and advisory councils for England, consisting largely of indirectly elected representatives of local authorities and operating along the lines of the Welsh advisory council". One-fifth of the advisory councils would be nominees from central government. The boundaries suggested were the "eight now [in 1973] existing for economic planning purposes, modified to make boundaries to conform with the new county structure". [12] [13] A minority report by Lord Crowther-Hunt and Alan T. Peacock suggested instead seven regional assemblies and governments within Great Britain (five within England), which would take over substantial amounts of the central government. [14]

Some elements of regional development and economic planning began to be established in England from the mid-1960s onwards. In most of the standard regions, Economic Planning Councils and Boards were set up, comprising appointed members from local authorities, business, trade unions and universities, and in the early 1970s these produced a number of regional and sub-regional planning studies. [10] These institutions continued to operate until they were abolished by the incoming Conservative government in 1979. However, by the mid-1980s local authorities in most regions had jointly established standing conferences to consider regional planning issues. Regional initiatives were bolstered by the 1986 Government Green Paper and 1989 White Paper on The Future of Development Plans, which proposed the introduction of strong regional guidance within the planning system, [10] and by the Government's issuing of Strategic Guidance at a regional level, from 1986 onwards. [11]

In April 1994, the John Major ministry created a set of ten Government Office Regions for England. Prior to 1994, although various central government departments had different regional offices, the regions they used tended to be different and ad hoc. The stated purpose was as a way of co-ordinating the various regional offices more effectively: they initially involved the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Employment, Department of Transport and the Department for the Environment. [15] Following the Labour Party's victory in the 1997 general election, the government created regional development agencies. Around a decade later the Labour administration also founded the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs) with £185m of devolved funding to enhance councils' capacity to improve and take the lead in their own improvement.

The Maastricht Treaty encouraged the creation of regional boundaries for selection of members for the Committee of the Regions of the European Union: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had each constituted a region, but England represents such a large proportion of the population of the United Kingdom that further division was thought necessary. The English regions, which initially numbered ten, also replaced the Standard Statistical Regions. Merseyside originally constituted a region in itself, but in 1998 it was merged into the North West England region, creating the nine present-day regions. [16] The nine regions were used as England's European Parliament constituencies from 1999 until Britain's departure from the European Union [17] and as statistical NUTS level 1 regions. Since 1 July 2006, there have also been ten strategic health authorities, each of which corresponds to a region, except for South East England, which is divided into western and eastern parts.

Geography Facts About England

England is a part of Europe's United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland), and it is located on the island of Great Britain. England is not considered a separate nation, as it is governed by the United Kingdom. It is bordered by Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. England has coastlines along the Celtic, North, and Irish Seas and the English Channel, and its area includes more than 100 small islands.
England has a long history with human settlement dating back to prehistoric times, and it became a unified region in 927. It was then the independent Kingdom of England until 1707 when the Kingdom of Great Britain was founded. In 1800 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed, and after some political and social instability in Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was formed in 1927. Do not use the term England if you are referring to the United Kingdom as a whole. The names are not interchangeable.
The following is a list of 10 geographic facts to know about England:
1) Today England is governed as a constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary democracy within the United Kingdom, and it is controlled directly by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. England has not had its own government since 1707 when it joined Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.
2) Several different political subdivisions attend to local administration within England's borders. There are four different levels within these divisions, the highest level of which are the nine regions of England. These include the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East, South East, South West, and London. Below the regions in the hierarchy are England's 48 ceremonial counties, followed by metropolitan counties and civil parishes.
3) England has one of the largest economies in the world, and it is very mixed, with sectors in manufacturing and service. London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is also one of the world's largest financial centers. England's economy is the largest in the United Kingdom, and the main industries are finance and banking, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, shipbuilding, tourism, and software/information technology.
4) Its population of more than 55 million people (2016 estimate) makes England the largest geographical region in the United Kingdom. It has a population density of 1,054 persons per square mile (407 persons per square km), and the largest city in England is London, at 8.8 million people and growing.
5) The main language spoken in England is English however, there are many regional dialects of English used throughout England. In addition, recent large numbers of immigrants have introduced several new languages to England. The most common of these are Punjabi and Urdu.
6) Throughout most of its history, the people of England have been mainly Christian in religion, and today the Anglican Christian Church of England is England's established church. This church also has a constitutional position within the United Kingdom. Other religions practiced in England include Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Buddhism, the Bahá'í Faith, the Rastafari Movement, and Neopaganism.
7) England makes up about two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and the offshore areas of the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly. It has a total area of 50,346 square miles (130,395 sq km) and a topography that consists mainly of gently rolling hills and lowlands. There are also several large rivers in England, one of which is the famous Thames River, which runs through London. This river is also the longest river in England.
8) The climate is considered temperate maritime, and it has mild summers and winters. Precipitation is also common throughout much of the year. England's climate is moderated by its maritime location and the presence of the Gulf Stream. The average January low temperature is 34 F (1 C), and the average July high temperature is 70 F (21 C).
9) England is separated from France and continental Europe by a 21-mile (34 km) gap. However, they are physically connected to each other by the Channel Tunnel near Folkestone. The Channel Tunnel is the longest undersea tunnel in the world.
10) Many of the universities in England are some of the world's highest ranked. These include the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, the University of Oxford, and University College London.

CDC: More obesity in U.S. rural counties than in urban counties

Adults living in non-metropolitan (rural) counties are still more likely to be obese than adults in metro (urban) counties, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report in today&rsquos MMWR.

The findings, based on 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) data, are consistent with previous findings published in 2012 using 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data.

Key findings

  • Obesity prevalence was significantly higher among adults living in rural counties (34.2 percent) than among those living in metropolitan counties (28.7 percent).
  • The greatest differences in prevalence were in the South and Northeast regions.
  • The findings held true for adults in most sociodemographic categories, including age, sex, and household income.

The analysis compared obesity based on self-reported weight and height among adults living in metropolitan (e.g., urban) and nonmetropolitan (e.g., rural) counties in the United States in 2016.

The report identifies differences in obesity prevalence by metropolitan status within states, census regions and divisions, and sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., age, sex, race/ethnicity, and education).

What can be done to address this issue?

Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some cancers and arthritis. Understanding regional variation in obesity prevalence by metropolitan residence status can help inform interventions and targeting of obesity prevention resources.

Exploring geographic variation in lung cancer incidence in Kentucky using a spatial scan statistic: elevated risk in the Appalachian coal-mining region

Objectives: We examined geographic patterns of lung cancer incidence in Kentucky. Recent research has suggested that the coal-mining industry contributes to lung cancer risk in Appalachia. We focused on the southeastern portion of the state, which has some of the highest lung cancer rates in the nation.

Methods: We implemented a spatial scan statistic to identify areas with lung cancer incidence rates that were higher than expected, after adjusting for age, gender, and smoking. The Kentucky Cancer Registry supplied information on cases (1995-2007). The U.S. Census (2000) and several years of Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data (1996-2006) provided county-level population and smoking data. We compared the results with coal-mining data from the Mining Safety and Health Administration and public water utility data from the Kentucky Division of Water.

Results: We identified three clusters of counties with higher-than-expected rates. Cluster 1 (relative risk [RR] = 1.21, p<0.01) included 12 counties in southeastern Kentucky. Cluster 2 (RR=1.17, p<0.01) included three nearby counties in the same region. Several of the 15 counties in Cluster 3 (RR=1.04, p=0.01) were part of the Louisville, Kentucky, or Cincinnati, Ohio, metropolitan areas. All of the counties in Clusters 1 and 2 produced significant amounts of coal.

Conclusion: Environmental exposures related to the coal-mining industry could contribute to the high incidence of lung cancer in southeastern Kentucky. Lack of evidence for this effect in western Kentucky could be due to regional differences in mining practices and access to public water utilities. Future research should collect biological specimens and environmental samples to test for the presence of trace elements and other lung carcinogens.


ERS researchers and others who analyze conditions in "rural" America most often study conditions in nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) areas, defined on the basis of counties. Counties are the standard building block for collecting economic data and for conducting research to track and explain regional population and economic trends. Nonmetro counties (see the map below) include some combination of:

  1. open countryside,
  2. rural towns (places with fewer than 2,500 people), and
  3. urban areas with populations ranging from 2,500 to 49,999 that are not part of larger labor market areas (metropolitan areas).

In addition to conducting research that uses the basic metro-nonmetro dichotomy, ERS has developed multi-level county classifications to measure rurality in more detail and to assess the economic and social diversity of nonmetro America. Some of these classification schemes have been used to determine eligibility for Federal programs that assist rural areas. They include the:

For some research and program applications, counties are too large to accurately distinguish rural and urban settlement patterns. The U.S. Census Bureau uses much smaller geographic building blocks to define rural areas as open country and settlements with fewer than 2,500 residents. Most counties, whether metro or nonmetro, contain a combination of urban and rural populations.

Building on the urban-rural definition, ERS has developed sub-county classifications that more accurately delineate different levels of rurality and address program eligibility concerns. They include the: