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Lessons learned from the 2001 Census

The way we took the 2011 Census reflects the available technology and the society we live in. It also takes account of the lessons learned during the 2001 Census.

These lessons are reflected in ONS's own evaluation reports, and in reports by the following organisations which can be downloaded from this page:

  • National Audit Office

  • Treasury Select Committee

  • Public Accounts Committee

  • Statistics Commission

  • Local Government Association

Cost-benefit justification

In its report on the 2001 Census, the Treasury Select Committee recommended that any future census be justified in cost-benefit terms.

The business case for the 2011 Census clearly demonstrated to the Government the unique value of the census, and that the benefits of having the information far outweigh the costs of its collection. To see more about the cost-benefit analysis, read the Treasury Select Committee report which is available to download.

For example, over £100 billion per year (over £1 trillion in the decade between censuses) has been allocated from central government to local authorities and to NHS Primary Care Trusts based on data from the 2001 Census. This demonstrates the value of census information in ensuring that this funding is distributed appropriately between different parts of the country to meet the needs of local populations.

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