• Everything you need to know before using the 2011 Census microdata teaching file.

  • An essential list of all the variables, classifications and codes in the microdata teaching file from the 2011 Census in England and Wales.

  • A set of tables from the 2011 Census in England & Wales provided to draw comparison with data against each variable in the teaching file.

  • Explains the data expiration possibilities not offered by other 2011 Census statistical bulletins.

  • Provides a top level description of the 2011 Census microdata Teaching File and it's supporting information.

The Teaching File is a 2011 Census microdata product with a relatively small sample and a low level of detail. The 2011 Census microdata products provide an alternative source of data to the standard 2011 Census releases. Rather than providing data as tables of counts, microdata contain individual level records that have been treated to protect the confidentiality of the respondents. Only a sample of cases is available and individual records contain information on a limited number of topics.

The Teaching File contains anonymised records on a limited set of variables for a random sample of 1% of people in the 2011 Census output database for England and Wales. It is freely available for anyone to download under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Visit the Teaching File release page


The Teaching File meets demand from users for an accessible, non-disclosive microdata file to improve the use of census microdata. It also provides an educational tool of ‘real’ data to assist with the teaching of statistics and social sciences, and it will encourage wider use of census data in accordance with the Government’s Open Data commitments.


The information has been protected against the identification of individuals using only a sample, reducing detail through the use of broad categories and deliberately mixing and swapping details for any unusual records. This approach to protection was further supported by an independent assessment of the product.


For a definition of all terms used in these microdata, please refer to the 2011 Census Glossary.

For information about the variables, including source questions, please see the variables and classifications section of the 2011 Census Data User Guide.