Monday, February 15, 2010

Will The UK Census Become Extinct in 2011?

Hello All -

I saw a great post by one of my fellow colleagues Chris Paton regarding the 2011 census in the UK and the possibility of it being the last one taken. There is an interesting article about this found in The Times newspaper
This article was linked by Chris as well.

This would be a dissappointment for at least the genealogy community. I know that taking a census is an expensive undertaking by the government, but it has been around since 1801. It is also can be viewed as unreliable as some people will try to be "funny" or feel it an invasion of their privacy and will give the wrong information on the questionaire. However, there are many who will be responsible and give the right information. If one looks at the previous public census returns from 1841-1901 in Scotland (1911 in England & Wales), these have incorrect information as well. However, for the most part the information will be fairly reliable.

The census is a valuable resource for the family historian and genealogist. It will be a very sad day if the UK government decides to scrap it. No doubt there would be something to take its place. You hope that they don't think about doing this in other counties such as the US. However, in the US the census is used more as a political tool to decide how many Congressman there will be, statistical analysis of the country, just to name a few. Also, it is required by the US Constitution.

It will be interesting to see if this happens or not - hopefully not. There are still honest people out there who will take the census seriously and not use it as a joke or an invasion of privacy. It has been taken for years, what is the big problem now?

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