As part of its ongoing engagement with users, ONS has developed a tool to allow users to calculate precision of estimates for specific socio-demographic characteristics of interest. This can be used to provide an indication of the level of precision that would be achieved (using an annual survey with a simple random sample design) for an estimate of a population group of a given size within a geographic area with a known population.
One of the applications of this tool is to use it as a means of identifying statistically significant differences between geographic areas. An example in the form of a case study has been provided alongside the tool that compares estimates for a particular characteristic at a small geographic level within an LA. This example demonstrates how the proposed survey would be able to measure some differences better than others, with greater frequency and precision.
We plan to further develop this tool in light of discussions with users. So please share your views and ideas on how the tool could be improved, along with posting examples of how you would use it for areas and topics of particular interest to you on this website. This information is vital to aid further discussion on user requirements for small area data.
Please note that the approach used here is underpinned by various statistical assumptions and any estimates thus produced should be seen as indicative only.