Census preparations to go ahead for 2011

The UK Statistics Authority has confirmed that preparations for the 2011 Census in England and Wales on 27 March 2011 “will now press ahead with all speed”:

The Statistics Authority is determined that, with the full support of the Government and all the other parties concerned, the 2011 Census will be the success that the country needs it to be, and will provide the information about our population which can only be derived from the full-scale Census, which has now been confirmed.

This came in response to an answer by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Rt. Hon. Francis Maude MP, to a Written Parliamentary Question.
However, the 2011 Census could be the last of its type: the Office for National Statistics says on its Beyond 2011 Project page,

While supporting the need for a 2011 Census, users are concerned that the current approach may not be the best way to collect population data looking forward beyond 2011. It is clear rapid changes in society and greater availability of alternative data about the population are leading to new requirements for population statistics. Data users want a greater range of statistics to be available more frequently, to provide an accurate picture of population change.

The Beyond 2011 project aims to address these concerns and will develop a range of options for the production of population statistics beyond the 2011 Census. It is considering how a number of different data sources could be used to produce the key information needed to support effective decision-making.

The Telegraph reported earlier this month that the Census in its current form is to be scrapped after more than 200 years, as the Government seeks a bettter, quicker and cheaper way of providing data on the population.

By the way, Hansard records that there is at least one Jedi Member of Parliament: Jamie Reed, Labour MP for Copeland. In his maiden speech in 2005, he commented on the proposed Racial and Religious Hatred Bill:

…as the first Jedi Member of this place, I look forward to the protection under the law that will be provided to me by the Bill.

Collators for the last census included a special code to register Jedis after an email campaign to include Jedi as a religion in the run-up to the 2001 survey led to 390,000 respondents listing it as their faith.

Questions for next year’s Census will ask about people’s households, nationality, faith and marital status as well as the name, sex and date of birth of any visitors staying overnight.

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One Comment

  • Terry Gilbert 29th Jul '10 - 11:56pm

    The disappointing thing is the way the question on faith is asked, which discourages those of no faith from stating that this is their view. Thus ‘C of E’ is vastly overstated, and ‘none’ is vastly under-represented. It all helps to fuel silly campaigns like the Jedi one. AIUI, the census people have refused to change it for next year, so the same thing will probably happen again. As a humanist, even I may be tempted to pretend that I ‘feel the force, Luke…’

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