- Census in the United Kingdom
United Kingdomhas taken a censusof its population every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941 (during the Second World War). In addition to providing a wealth of interesting information about aspects of the make-up of the country, the results of the census plays an important part in the calculation of resource allocation to regional and local service providers, by governments in the United Kingdomand European Unionlevels.
In the 7th century,
Dál Riata(parts of what is now Scotlandand Northern Ireland) was the first territory in what is now the UK to conduct a census, with what was called the "Tradition of the Men of Alba" "( Senchus fer n-Alban)". Englandtook its first Census when the Domesday Bookwas compiled in 1086 for tax purposes.
The UK census as we know it today started in 1801 (championed by
John Rickmanwho managed the first four up to 1831), partly to ascertain the number of men able to fight in the Napoleonic wars, partly over concerns stemming from " An Essay on the Principle of Population" by Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus (1798). Rickman's 12 reasons - set out in 1798 and repeated in Parliamentary debates - for conducting a UK census included the following justifications:
* 'the intimate knowledge of any country must form the rational basis of legislation and diplomacy'
* 'an industrious population is the basic power and resource of any nation, and therefore its size needs to be known'
* 'the number of men who were required for conscription to the militia in different areas should reflect the area's population'
* 'there were defence reasons for wanting to know the number of seamen'
* 'the need to plan the production of corn and thus to know the number of people who had to be fed'
* 'a census would indicate the Government's intention to promote the public good' and
* 'the life insurance industry would be stimulated by the results.'
The census has been conducted every ten years since 1801 and most recently in 2001 "(see
United Kingdom Census 2001)". The first four censuses (1801-1831) were mainly statistical. That is, they were mainly headcounts and contained virtually no personal information; a very small number of older records exist in local record offices as by-products of the notes made by enumerators in the production of those earlier censuses, these might list all persons or just the heads of households. The 1841 Census was the first to intentionally record names of all individuals in a household or institution;
World War II, there was no census in 1941. However, following the passage into law (on 5 September 1939) of the National Registration Act 1939a population count was carried out on 29 September 1939, which was, in effect, a census.
Although the 1931 census was taken on 26th April 1931 the returns were destroyed by fire (in an accident and not after bombing) during the Second World War. [ [http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/GOONS/2007-01/1168380983 RootsWeb] ]
The census is undertaken by the government for policy and planning purposes, and the results are also published in printed reports and on the ONS (GROS and NISRA in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively) website. Public access to the census returns is restricted under the terms of the 100-year rule (
Lord Chancellor's Instrument no.12, issued in 1966 under S.5 (1) of the Public Records Act 1958) and the most recent returns made available to researchers are those of the United Kingdom Census 1901.
However, the 1901 and 1911 censuses for Northern Ireland have been available for inspection since 1960 and the 19th century Scottish censuses were all released after 50-80 years of closure. In exceptional circumstances the
Registrar Generalfor England and Wales does release specific information from 70-, 80-, or 90-year old closed censuses (including the 1911 census).
It has been argued that in England and Wales no attempts were made by ministers and civil servants strictly to enforce the 100-year census closure policy until 2005, five years after the
Freedom of Information Act 2000was passed, which some have argued abolished the 100-year rule. However, personal information provided in confidence is clearly exempted if its disclosure could result in a successful prosecution for breach of confidence. [ [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00036--g.htm#41 Freedom of Information Act 2000, Section 41] ] The 1911 Census is now partially accessible following a decision by the Information Commissioner's Office . [http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/decisionnotices/2006/101391_dn_rt_changes.pdf] A March 2007 internet petitionto reduce the classified period for census data from 100 years to 70 years received a response from the government explaining why this was not possible. [ [http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/CensusInfoFreed Petition to reduce the classified period for census data from 100 years to 70 years] ]
In January 2002, the much-anticipated [http://www.1901censusonline.com England & Wales census for 1901] went online. Within minutes it was inaccessible because of server and network load, and it had to be taken offline. Later in the year, after upgrades had been made, it came back online.
The census is usually very accurate, and, with a fine of up to £1,000 for those who do not complete it, filled in by a high percentage of the population. There may be exceptions in the case of the following censuses:: The
Women's Freedom League, a suffragetteorganisation campaigning for female suffrage in the United Kingdom, organised a boycott of the 1911 census, and women were encouraged to go to all-night parties or to stay at friends' houses in order to avoid completing the census.: Some people avoided the census conducted during the year of the poll tax (1991), in case it was used for enforcing the tax.
Although the 1851 census had included a question about religion on a separate response sheet, whose completion was not compulsory, the 2001 census was the first in which the government asked about religion on the main census form. New legislation was enacted through the
Census (Amendment) Act 2000to allow the question to be asked, and to make its response optional. Perhaps encouraged by a chain letter that started in New Zealand, 390,000 people entered their religion as "Jedi Knight" (more than any of Sikhs, Buddhists or Jews), with some areas registering up to 2.6% of people as Jedi. Thus, 'Jedi' was fourth largest reported religion in the country."(See: Jedi census phenomenon)".
Controversially, the Northern Ireland census included a supplementary question on what religion a person was brought up in for those stating no religion in response to the main question.
Demographics of England from the 2001 United Kingdom census
UK Census dates
List of United Kingdom censuses
Demographics of the United Kingdom
Demographics of England from the 2001 United Kingdom census
Jedi census phenomenon
Population of Englandhistorical population estimates
Census Act 1920
Census Enumerators' Books(historical)
Census of Ireland, 1911
Citizen Information Project
* [http://www.findmypast.com/home.jsp Findmypast.com] , a website with UK censuses, birth, marriage and death indexes, parish records, passenger lists and other genealogical resources.
* [http://www.1911census.co.uk/ Official 1911 census website]
* [http://www.statistics.gov.uk The Office for National Statistics] , which is responsible for the Census in England and Wales
** [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/default.asp Census 2001 website] (England & Wales)
** [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/cb_8.asp Bicentenary of the Census in the UK]
* [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/1911census/?homepage=news The National Archives]
* [http://www.nisra.gov.uk/census/censushistory/index.html The Census Office for Northern Ireland]
** [http://www.nisra.gov.uk/census/start.html Northern Ireland Census of Population]
* [http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk The General Register Office for Scotland] which has been responsible for the taking of the census in Scotland since 1861.
* [http://www.scrol.gov.uk/scrol/common/home.jsp Scotland's Census Results OnLine]
* [http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/CensusInfoFreed/ Online petition]
* [http://home.clara.net/denis.mccready/ Campaign to disclose the 1911 Census]
* [http://www.1911census.info 1911Census.Info] Unofficial census news site
* [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2000/20000744.htm The Census Order 2000] (England & Wales)
* [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/20000036.htm Text of the Freedom of Information Act 2000] from the
Office of Public Sector Information
* [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmhaff/130/13004.htm House of Commons] The Fourth Report of the Select Committee on Home Affairs of the UK Parliament noting the 1939 Registration Act and the historical background associated with proposals for the (re)introduction of identity cards in the UK.
* [http://www.statewatch.org/news/2003/jul/26ukid.htm Statewatch] for information about the National Registration Act of 1939, the information that was required to be collected, and the issuing of identity cards.
* [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk A Vision of Britain through Time] Selected statistics from British censuses presented as local time series, plus [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/census searchable full text] of selected reports 1801-1961.
* [http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/text/contents_page.jsp?t_id=Cen_Guide&show=ALL Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966] On-line version of official guide.
* [http://www.histpop.org Online Historical Population Reports Project (OHPR)] Digital library of British census reports, 1801-1937.
* [http://www.censusfinder.com/united_kingdom.htm United Kingdom Census Records] Historical UK census records online.
* [http://www.dcsv.co.uk/pcens.htm UK Census for Family Historians]
* [http://www.192.com 192.com] Over 600 million records including historical UK census data.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Demography of the United Kingdom — Population pyramid in 2010 This article is about the demographic features of the population of the United Kingdom, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other … Wikipedia
Culture of the United Kingdom — The Proms is an eight week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts, on the last night with some traditional patriotic music of the United Kingdom. … Wikipedia
Subdivisions of the United Kingdom — The subdivisions of the United Kingdom are complex, multi layered and non uniform. As a result of a lack of a formal British constitution, and owing to a convoluted history of the formation of the United Kingdom, a variety of terms exist which… … Wikipedia
Racism in the United Kingdom — The United Kingdom has long had a history of racism, from mediæval times, through years of the slave trade to the modern day.Mediæval EnglandAn apartheid like system existed in early Anglo Saxon England, which prevented the native British genes… … Wikipedia
Postcodes in the United Kingdom — The postal codes used in the United Kingdom are known as postcodes. They are alphanumeric and were introduced by the Royal Mail over a 15 year period from 11th October 1959 to 1974. A full postcode is known as a postcode unit and usually… … Wikipedia
1801 in the United Kingdom — The year 1801 saw the establishment of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the union of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as other events detailed below.Incumbents*Monarch George III of the United Kingdom *Prime… … Wikipedia
Religion in the United Kingdom — Westminster Abbey is used for the coronation of British monarchs Religion in the United Kingdom and the states that pre dated the UK, was dominated by forms of Christianity for over 1,400 years. Although a majority of citizens still … Wikipedia
Languages of the United Kingdom — Languages of country = United Kingdom official = English [Citation url=http://www.thecommonwealth.org/YearbookHomeInternal/139560/ title=United Kingdom; Key Facts publisher=Commonwealth Secretariat accessdate=2008 04 23] main = English >90%… … Wikipedia
Colombians in the United Kingdom — Colombians in the United Kingdom … Wikipedia
Hinduism in the United Kingdom — In the 2001 UK census there were 558,342 Hindus in the United Kingdom [ [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=954 UK 2001 census] ] . The Hindu Forum of Britain has extrapolated this in 2006 to a figure of 750,000 Hindus based on the… … Wikipedia