Definition: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics

Geographic Information Systems

The Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) was established by Eurostat to provide a single uniform breakdown of territorial units for the production of regional statistics for the European Union.

The NUTS  classification was created and developed according to the following principles:

a) The NUTS favours institutional breakdowns.
Different criteria may be used in subdividing national territory into regions. These are normally split between normative and analytic criteria:
 - normative regions;
 - analytical (or functional) regions;
 - institutional divisions.

b) The NUTS favours regional units of a general character.
A territorial unit specific to certain fields of activity (mining regions, rail traffic regions, farming regions, labour-market regions, etc.) may sometimes be used in certain Member States. NUTS excludes specific territorial units and local units in favour of regional units of a general nature.

c) The NUTS is a five-level hierarchical classification (three regional levels and two local levels).
Since this is a hierarchical classification, the NUTS subdivides each Member State into a whole number of NUTS 1 regions, each of which is in turn subdivided into a whole number of NUTS 2 regions and so on.
Eurostat, "Regions - Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics - NUTS", 1999 Edition

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