THE CENSUS OF POPULATION
What is the Census of Population?
The Census is a simple questionnaire survey of the whole of the
UK population held every ten years. The last census was held in April 1991
and the next is planned for April 2001. The Census is administered separately
in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, but most of the statistics
published are common to all countries.
The Census covers a wide range of topics describing the characteristics
of the British population. Subjects covered include demography, households,
families, housing, ethnicity, birthplace, migration, illness, economic
status, occupation, industry, workplace, transport mode to work, cars and
Why are Census data important?
Census data are available in computer format for a variety of geographies
and spatial scales.
Administrative areas: small areas, wards, districts, counties,
regions and countries.
Postal areas: postcodes, output areas, postal sectors, postal
districts and postal areas.
Electoral areas: wards, Parliamentary constituencies and European
Census data describe the state of the whole nation, small area by
area. No other data set provides such comprehensive spatial coverage.
The data are extremely relevant for policy analysis. They are used
by government in the allocation of £billions of public expenditure.
The data are very valuable commercially. They are essential ingredients
in marketing analysis and retail modelling.
Key reading on the 1991 Census of Population
Researchers and students need to be trained in census use and analysis
to meet the demands for such skills in public and private organizations.
For a full description see: The 1991 Census Userís Guide (HMSO,
London, 1993) edited by Angela Dale and Catherine Marsh.
For advice on census analysis see: Census Usersí Handbook (GeoInformation
International, Cambridge, 1995) edited by Stan Openshaw.
For an account of derived data and analysis tools added to the 1991 Census
data see: The Census Data System (The Stationery Office, London,
forthcoming 2000), edited by Phil Rees, David Martin and Paul Williamson.
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