Super Output Areas (SOAs) are a set of geographies designed specifically for statistical purposes. There are two layers:
Lower Layer- referred to as Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs) - LSOAs have an average population of 1,600. There are a total of 321 LSOAs within Cumbria.
Middle Layer- Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs) - MSOAs have an average population of 7,800. There are a total of 64 MSOAs within Cumbria and these are built up from the county's LSOAs.
The key feature about SOAs is that the boundaries rarely change. This means they are useful if you want to monitor data over time. All census variables are available for these geographies, and in recent years many other data sets have become available at these levels too.
The main drawback of SOAs is that they do not have meaningful names - they are a set of codes - and therefore it might be difficult for people to know where they actually are without looking at a map of them.
To view a map of Cumbria's SOA boundaries, please visit our Maps and Boundaries (external link) page and use our interactive Cumbria Geography Atlas (external link); once you load the atlas via the Maps & Boundaries page you will need to click on the check boxes to show either 'Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs)' or 'Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs)' in the legend window of the atlas.