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The future of the Census

Chris SkinnerProfessor Chris Skinner (pictured), Head of LSE’s Department of Statistics, has led an independent review of the methodology underlying the options for the future of the Census, on behalf of the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A Census has taken place in Great Britain since 1801. Options set out in a recent public consultation by the ONS could lead to a radical departure in England and Wales from the traditional approach that has obtained information on all individuals every 10 years until 2011.

In a report published today (Friday 1 November) Professor Skinner and his team, which included Michael Murphy, Professor of Demography at LSE, and demographic consultant John Hollis, explain that although results of ONS research to date are promising, the case for replacement of the traditional census model by the more radical option - combining administrative data with compulsory annual surveys - had not yet been established.

They conclude that a number of methodological challenges that had been identified would need first to be addressed if this option is to be pursued.

The team’s full report can be found on the ONS website. An associated statement from the Royal Statistical Society can be found here.

1 November 2013