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Comparability over time

The 2011-2001 Census questionnaire comparability report (2.43 Mb Pdf) is a brief guide to help users look at differences in census results across the 10-year period between 2001 and 2011. It will help to identify where differences may be a result of change in definition or response categories rather, than change in underlying population characteristics. The information is available to download. The report does not assess the impact on comparability arising from population changes.

For most topics, 2011 Census outputs will be comparable with those from 2001, and trends over time will be evident.

The questions from 2011 are shown alongside the questions asked in 2001. Changes in each question are reported, including tick box additions and changes in routing instructions, word changes and ordering. The impact on the data of any changes is noted and, where relevant, specific points of interest from questionnaire testing have been included.

2001-2011 Census comparator tool

This 2001-2011 Census comparator tool (3.55 Mb ZIP)  presents the 2011 Census key statistics in a visual format for geographies down to local authority level within England and Wales. The Excel files present the equivalent data from the 2001 Census (where available) to enable comparison between the censuses, and include graphs and charts. They are available to download in a zip file.

Please be aware this file has been updated due to technical issues. If you have downloaded the previous version (before January 2013) we recommend that this is not used. We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.

Pensionable age

The 2011 Census defines working age as between 16 to 64 for both men and women. The definition of pensionable age now refers to men and women aged 65 and over. Alternate measures of pensionable age will not be provided in the first four main stages of releasing 2011 Census statistics.

Some of the 2011 Census tables – based on those from 2001 – have been redesigned as a result of changes to pensionable age. Information will be provided in the metadata.

Users who require alternative definitions of pensionable age can request these through the commissioned table service. Requests for commissioned tables from the 2011 Census will be constrained by the statistics already released, the similarity to the statistics planned, the availability of the data, statistical disclosure control and resource availability. Commissioned tables can be pre-ordered from Census Customer Services.

Other changes between 2001 and 2011 Census outputs

There are some important changes to census outputs between 2011 and 2001:


Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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