The following information provides an introduction to the Suffolk Observatory, and aims to answer some commonly asked questions. If your question is not answered here, please contact us at:

    • The Suffolk Boundaries Map shows the boundaries we use on the Suffolk Observatory, plus additional commonly-used boundaries (MSOA and Parliamentary Constituency).
    • The Electoral Boundaries Map shows the local electoral boundaries we use on the Suffolk Observatory, plus details of current County Councillors.

The video below gives a brief introduction to the Suffolk Observatory, which was presented at the SALC Conference 2023:

What is the Suffolk Observatory?

The Suffolk Observatory contains all Suffolk’s vital statistics; it is the one-stop-shop for data, statistics and reports all about Suffolk provided by a variety of organisations. Through data, reports and analysis, the Suffolk Observatory provides a comprehensive picture of Suffolk.

What can I use the data for?

The data can be used by anyone. You may find it particularly useful for writing reports and presentations, informing strategic and business planning, preparing funding applications or supporting academic research. Reproduction of information is subject to the terms of the Open Government Licence.

What geographies are published on the Suffolk Observatory?

Data is published for the following geographies in Suffolk. Where we abbreviate the names to acronyms, the acronym is provided in brackets after the full geography type.

What types of data are published?

To make the site easier to navigate, data has been published by core themes:

You can link to them via the hyperlinks above, or via the ‘Data’ link in the main menu of the homepage.

Can I export data into maps?

Yes! At the top of each data theme (for example population) there will be an option to ‘map’. When you click on this, you get taken to the mapping tool. You can then select what data you want to map, define how you want to display the data (using classify) and then ‘print’ it.

  • We have found the best way to download data is to select ‘A3 Landscape’ and ‘JPEG/pdf’ in the print option.
  • Click on ‘print preview’ and wait approximately 20 seconds.
  • A ‘print preview ready’ message will display.
  • When you open the link you will see that the Suffolk Observatory automatically adds a title, the legend and scale and copyright information.
  • Then you can copy and paste/ print this as required

What is the custom area reporter?

The custom area reporter enables you to select multiple geographic areas (either wards or lower super output areas) and combine the data for them to produce a profile for a bespoke area. You can select multiple areas by clicking on them, or use the polygon, box, circle or radius tools.

What is the data explorer?

The data explorer is another way to get data out of the Suffolk Observatory! If you’re looking at multiple data sets, or want the data for multiple years, you may find this tool useful. Use the filter or search to refine what data you are looking for. Please be aware, this may run a bit more slowly than the rest of the site, as it looks through all the data on the Suffolk Observatory!

Where can I find detailed reports?

On our sister site ‘Healthy Suffolk’. This is the home of the Health and Wellbeing Board, and the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for Suffolk. To see what reports are available please visit:

Is the data up to date?

We try to keep the data as up to date as possible. This includes automatically feeding data from sites such as the Office for National Statistics and Department for Education.

You can find the date that the data was produced alongside the data. It is usually in brackets if its in an infographic for example (2018). Alternatively it can be found at the bottom left of a chart or table for example; Date: 2018. You can also find it if you look in the metadata.

What is the blue ‘i’ symbol?

The blue ‘i’ in a circle represents a link to the metadata for the data you are looking at. It contains a link to useful information such as the name of the dataset, when the data was published, and a link to the original source of the data.

How accessible is this website?

The Suffolk Observatory are committed to making this website as accessible as possible. For more information on this, visit the accessibility page.

How do I compare Suffolk to other areas?

The Suffolk Observatory is primarily focused on data for the county of Suffolk, so does not support comparing data to other counties, except through regional or national averages. To compare Suffolk data to other counties, we recommend using the LG Inform website.

How do I contact you?

You can email the SODA team with your questions or queries: