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Middle Super Output Areas (MSOAs) were originally created for Census data, specifically for the output of census estimates. The Middle Super Output Areas are the third lowest geographical level at which census estimates are provided and sit above OAs (smallest) and LSOAs (second smallest). Many other government datasets have incorporated MSOAs as a standard release level. MSOAs can be used to compare locations due to their standardised sizes.

The minimum MSOA size is 5,000 households and 2,000 resident people. The total number of MSOAs is 6,791 for England, these are preceded with an ‘E’, and 410 for Wales, these are preceded with a ‘W’. MSOAs align to local authority district (LAD) boundaries, and also at the border between Scotland and England.