10 things you didn’t know about the UK census

1 min Read Published: 28 Mar 2011

Last night every household was expected to complete the UK census which counts all people and households in the country. It provides population statistics from a national to neighbourhood level for government, local authorities, business and communities. Its completion is compulsory so if you have not completed yours already then do so ASAP otherwise you could be facing a hefty fine. In the meantime, here are some interesting census related facts:

1 - The first UK census was in 1801 carried out partly to ascertain the number of men able to fight in the Napoleonic wars.

2 - Since 1801 censuses have taken place every ten years with the exception of 1941, due to the Second World War.

3 - The first four censuses (1801-1831) were mainly statistical and contained virtually no personal information.

4 - The 1841 census was the first to record names of all individuals in a household.

5 - In 1911 the Women's Freedom League, a suffragette organisation, launched a campaign to boycott the census. They encouraged women to go to all-night parties or stay at a friends house to avoid the census.

6 - In 1966 the UK trialled an alternative form of enumeration known as the "longform/short form whereby every household was given a short form to complete, while a sample of the population had to complete a longer, more detailed, form.

7 - In the last census (2001) 94% of the population completed it with a further 4% completed as a result of a follow up by census enumerators .

8 - The current fine for refusing to complete the census is up t o£1,000

9 - The 2011 census is the first that has the option to be completed online.

10 - There are 56 translation booklets available in various languages but the actual questionnaire must be completed in English

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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