Census Geography Services inc Postcode Directories

Alternative Title: 
Supersedes National Statistics Postcode Directory (NSPD)

Census Geography Services provides access to and support for all census geography products (1971-2011) including:

  • Boundary Data Selector, to download and make maps from boundary datasets from early 1800's to the present
  • Geographic lookup tables available to download
  • Searching metadata records
  • Thematic Mapper, to create choropleth thematic maps
  • Postcode Directories

Postcode Directories (for example the National Statistics Postcode Directory or All Fields Postcode Directory) provide a look up table of postcodes in the United Kingdom. The directory links them to a wide range of geographical units and other indicators. Fields cover administrative, electoral and census units. Postzon information, including a full UK National Grid reference is provided. Each entry also contains the date when the postcode was introduced or terminated.

From August 2012 onwards there are 2 different types of National Statistics Postcode Directories available for download. The Office for National Statistics Postcode Directory (ONSPD) Open edition, and the National Statistics Postcode Look-up (NSPL). The NSPL is also available with either lookups to 2001 or 2011 Census geographies. The method used to assign geographies to individual postcodes differs between the ONSPD and the NSPL. ONS provide a very readable ONSPD/NSPL Methodology document which describes these methodologies. Most academic users of postcode directories should continue to use the ONSPD. The NSPL should only be used by producers of National Statistics.

Spatial Coverage: 
United Kingdom
Data Creator: 
Office for National Statistics.
Time Period: 

Boundary datasets from early 1800s onwards.

Postcode Directories: Annual dataset from 1980 to current year. Quarterly from 2005.


Details of the boundary datasets available are listed at census.edina.ac.uk/licenses.html (login for the full listing of datasets available to academic users).Further information on Postcode Directories see the Office of National Statistics: Postcode Products.


National Statistics Postcode Directory should be used for comparisons of geographic areas within the United Kingdom.

Data Access: 

Registration is no longer required.