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UK censuses: Frequently asked questions

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1. What is the UK? What about Great Britain?

The United Kingdom (UK) comprises the countries of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Great Britain comprises the countries of England, Wales and Scotland.

 

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2. Where do I go for further information?

For UK, England & Wales:

Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Census Customer Services   
Tel: 01329 444972 
Fax: 01633 652981 
Minicom: 01329 444517
Email: Census.CustomerServices@ons.gsi.gov.uk 
Postal address: Room 4300S, ONS, Segensworth Road, Titchfield, Hampshire, PO15 5RR

Websites:

UK Censuses homepage

2011 Census homepage, England and Wales

For Northern Ireland:

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)

Tel: 028 9034 8160
Email: census.nisra@dfpni.gov.uk
Website: www.nisranew.nisra.gov.uk/census

For Scotland:

National Records of Scotland (NRS)

Tel: 0131 314 4254
Email: customer@gro-scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/census

 

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3. What is included in this release?

The 31 July release of UK 2011 Census statistics provides unrounded population estimates by single year of age and sex and unrounded household estimates for the UK, its constituent countries and local authorities (or equivalent). Tables equivalent to those published on 17 December 2012 and 21 March 2013 are included in this release, but with unrounded and single year of age figures. In addition, a historic interactive UK population pyramid (1951 – 2011) has been produced and the interactive comparator tool has been updated.

 

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4. What is different from the earlier releases of UK data?

UK statistics are being released in stages, when comparable data are available for all constituent countries. The 31 July release provides unrounded single year of age data and covers the UK population and household figures of earlier releases:

17 December 2012: Population estimates by sex and five year age group (rounded to the nearest thousand).

21 March 2013: Population estimates by sex and five year age group (rounded to the nearest hundred) and household estimates (rounded to the nearest ten) for the UK.

Due to rounding in these earlier releases, final unrounded data may be slightly different.  Percentage figures are similarly affected.

 

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5. What will be released next for the UK?

The next release of UK 2011 Census statistics will provide Key and Quick statistics.

 

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6. What are the plans for future UK outputs?

ONS plans to publish a broad range of material for the UK, when equivalent or similar data become available for all the countries of the UK.  Where possible these will be consistent datasets for the whole of the UK, including appropriate geographic breakdowns, collated in one place.  These data will be available on the ONS website.  We also aim to include a range of metadata and analysis, as well as providing a UK service to customers. An outline of the timetable for subsequent UK releases has been published via the ONS census prospectus.

 

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7. What are the quality assurance measures for the UK data?

2011 Census estimates have been quality assured extensively, using other national and local sources of information for comparison and review by a series of quality assurance panels.

The UK statistics have been compiled by ONS from the three Census Offices (NRS, NISRA and ONS).  The data used for UK statistics have been checked by each of these offices to ensure that they are the same as their individual published datasets.  The compilation of these aggregate datasets into a single set of UK tables has been quality checked by another division within ONS to ensure that no errors occur in the compilation process.

Further information about the methodology and quality assurance processes for the 2011 Censuses in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are available from their respective websites.

 

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8. What are the differences between geographies in the countries?

Local government bodies are known by different names in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In England,  unitary authorities, metropolitan districts , non-metropolitan areas and London boroughs comprise the local authority tier of local government. In Wales, they are unitary authorities. In Scotland, they are council areas and in Northern Ireland they are district council areas.

Further information on these and other geographies in the UK can be found in the ONS Geography beginners guide.

 

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9. Was the census more successful in any particular country?

The census was successful in each of the countries of the UK, with the data collected targeted to meet specific national needs.

 

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10. Was anything different about the 2011 Census in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

The census in all UK countries has been undertaken in a consistent manner.  However, there are differences in some of the questions asked, processing, and detailed methodology.  Further information is available from the individual websites.

As regards to differences between England and Wales: people in Wales were able to choose to complete their questionnaire (on paper or online) in Welsh, if they wished. Enquiry lines, advice and online guidance were also available in Welsh. An extra question was asked of people living in Wales, about the Welsh language.

ONS worked with many organisations in both England and Wales during the development and operation of the 2011 Census to reflect interests from both countries, such as establishing a Census Advisory Group for Wales that included representatives from Welsh Language Board, local authorities, businesses and voluntary organisations.

More information about the 2011 Census in Wales is available on the ONS website.

 

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11. Who else can see my data, as Scotland and Northern Ireland have now passed it to ONS?

In order to produce UK releases ONS have used only data that were published on or before the day of each UK release. These data do not disclose any details about individuals. Extensive security measures are taken to protect census data and these are described for each country on the following websites:

 

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