A nationwide census, known as
Census 2001, was conducted in the United
Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK census and
recorded a resident population of 58,789,194.
The 2001 UK census was organised by the Office for National Statistics
(ONS) in England and Wales, the General Register Office for Scotland
(GROS) and the
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency
(NISRA). Detailed results by region, council area, ward and output
area are available from their respective websites.
3 One Number Census
5.2 English identity
5.3 Welsh identity
5.4 Cornish identity
6 See also
8 External links
Similar to previous UK censuses, the 2001 census was organised by the
three statistical agencies, ONS, GROS, and NISRA, and coordinated at
the national level by the Office for National Statistics. The Orders
in Council to conduct the census, specifying the people and
information to be included in the census, were made under the
authority of the
Census Act 1920 in Great Britain, and the
(Northern Ireland) 1969 in Northern Ireland. In England and Wales
these regulations were made by the
Census Order 2000 (SI 744/2000), in
Scotland by the
Census (Scotland) Order 2000 (SSI 68/2000), and in
Northern Ireland by the
Census Order (Northern Ireland) 2000 (SRNI
The census was administered through self-completion forms, in most
cases delivered by enumerators to households and communal
establishments in the three weeks before census night on 29 April. For
the first time return by post was used as the main collection method,
with enumerators following up in person where the forms were not
returned. The postal response rate was 88% in England and Wales,
91% in Scotland, and 92% in Northern Ireland. A total of 81,000
field staff were employed across the UK (70,000 in England and Wales,
Scotland and 3,000 in Northern Ireland). The census was
conducted at the height of the foot-and-mouth crisis, which led to
extra precautions being adopted by the field staff, and suggestions
that the census may have to be postponed. However, it was reported
that the disease outbreak did not affect the effectiveness of the
The census was estimated to cost £259m over its 13-year cycle from
the start of planning in 1993 to the delivery of final results in
2006. Printing of the 30 million census forms was subcontracted
to Polestar Group, and processing of the returned census forms was
Lockheed Martin in a contract worth £54m. The
forms were initially scanned into digital format, then read with OMR
and OCR, with manual entry where the automatic process could not read
the forms. The forms were then pulped and recycled, and the digital
copies printed onto microfilm for storage and release after 100 years.
Once the data were returned to the statistics agencies it underwent
further processing to ensure consistency and to impute missing values.
The overall response rate for the census, that is the proportion of
the population who were included on a census form, was estimated to be
94% in England and Wales, 96.1% in Scotland and 95.2% in
Northern Ireland. This was due to a number of factors: households
with no response, households excluding residents from their returns,
and addresses not included in the enumeration. In Manchester for
example 25,000 people from 14,000 addresses were not enumerated
because the address database was two years out of date. The
Local Authority with the lowest response was Kensington and Chelsea
with 64%. Hackney had the next lowest response at 72%. Out of all
local authorities, the ten lowest response rates were all in
London. The results still represent 100 per cent of the
population, however, because some individuals not completing their
forms were instead identified by census enumerators, and through the
use of cross-matching with a follow-up survey.
One Number Census
The results from the 2001 census were produced using a methodology
known as the One Number Census. This was an attempt to adjust the
census counts and impute answers to allow for estimated
under-enumeration measured by the
Census Coverage Survey (sample size
320,000 households), resulting in a single set of population
Although the 1851 census had included a question about religion on a
separate response sheet, whose completion was not compulsory, the 2001
census was the first in Great Britain to ask about the religion of
respondents on the main census form. An amendment to
Census Act (the
Census (Amendment) Act 2000) was passed by
Parliament to allow the question to be asked, and to allow the
response to this question to be optional. The inclusion of the
question enabled the
Jedi census phenomenon
Jedi census phenomenon to take place in the
United Kingdom. In
England and Wales
England and Wales 390,127 people stated their
religion as Jedi, as did 14,052 people in Scotland. The
percentages of religious affiliations were:
Any other religion: 0.3%
15% declared themselves of no religion (including Jedi at 0.7%, so
more than declared themselves as Sikh,
Jewish or Buddhist) and 8% did
not respond to the question.
After the 2001 census it became clear that the statistics for those
adhering to the Neopagan group of religions were inaccurately
recorded. This was caused by a dilution of statistics, with some
adherents entering "Pagan" and others entering their individual
religions such as "Wiccan" or "Druid", which fall under the umbrella
term of "Pagan", leaving a significant number of people apparently
unaccounted for. The situation was worsened when the Heathenism
statistics were grouped in with
Atheism by the Office for National
Pagan Federation and the "PaganDash" campaign lobbied for a
separate tickbox for Paganism on the 2011 census, but were ultimately
The census ethnic groups included White (White British, White Irish,
Other White), Mixed (White and Black Caribbean, White and Black
African, White and Asian, Other Mixed), Asian or Asian British
(Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Other Asian), Black or Black British
(Black Caribbean, African, Other Black) and Chinese or Other Ethnic
% of total*
Other Asian (non-Chinese)
* Percentage of total UK population
Since the UK census relies on self-completion, the composition of
the other ethnic group category is not fixed. Analysis by the Office
for National Statistics of the 220,000 people in
England and Wales
England and Wales who
ticked the other ethnic group box in the 2001 census reveals that 53
per cent were born in the Far East, 10 per cent in the UK, 10 per cent
in the Middle East, and 7 per cent in Africa. People could write
in an ethnic group under the 'other' heading. 26 per cent did not
specify an ethnicity, but of the remainder 23 per cent wrote Filipino,
21 per cent Japanese, 11 per cent Vietnamese, 11 per cent Arab, 6 per
cent Middle Eastern and 4 per cent North African.
Controversy surrounding the classification of ethnic groups began as
early as 2000, when it was revealed that respondents in
Northern Ireland would be able to check a box describing themselves as
Scottish or Irish, an option not available for English
respondents. With an absence of an English tick-box, the only
other tickbox available was "white-British", "Irish", or "other".
However, if 'English' was written in under the "any other white
background" it was not clear whether it would be counted as an ethnic
group in same the way as the Welsh. Following criticism, English
was included as a tick-box option in the 2011 census.
It is sometimes claimed that the 2001 census revealed that two-thirds
of the population of
Wales described themselves as of Welsh
nationality. In fact, the 2001 census did not collect any
information on nationality. Controversy surrounding the classification
of ethnic group began as early as 2000, when it was revealed that
Northern Ireland would be able to check a
box describing themselves as Scottish or Irish, an option not
available for Welsh respondents. Prior to the census, Plaid
Cymru backed a petition calling for the inclusion of a Welsh tickbox
and for the National Assembly of
Wales to have primary law-making
powers and its own National Statistics Office. With an absence of
a Welsh tickbox, the only other tickbox available was "white-British",
"Irish", or "other".
For the first time in a UK census, those wishing to describe their
ethnicity as Cornish were given their own code number (06) on the 2001
UK census form, alongside those for people wishing to describe
themselves as English, Welsh, Irish or Scottish. About 34,000 people
in Cornwall and 3,500 people in the rest of the UK wrote on their
census forms in 2001 that they considered their ethnic group to be
Cornish. This represented nearly 7% of the population of Cornwall.
Various Cornish organisations were campaigning for the inclusion of
the Cornish tick box on the next census in 2011.
Demographics of England from the 2001 United Kingdom census
Demographics of Scotland
Jedi census phenomenon
List of United Kingdom censuses
Census 2001 Ethnic Codes
National Statistics Socio-economic Classification
^ a b Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (2004).
Census 2001 Definitions. London: The Stationery Office.
Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics (2005),
Census 2001: General report
for England and Wales. p. 40. ISBN 1-4039-8768-8.
^ General Register Office for Scotland, Taking Scotland's 2001 Census
– A Review: Part 2,
Census Operations Archived 25 November 2010 at
the Wayback Machine.. p. 19. June 2002.
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (2006), Northern
Census 2001: General Report Archived 17 February 2010 at the
Wayback Machine.. p. 16. London:HMSO. ISBN 0-337-08773-3
^ Paul Brown and Nicholas Watt. Threat to census as disease cases
grow. The Guardian. 1 March 2001.
^ BBC News.
Census shows Welsh language rise. 14 February 2003.
^ National Statistics. 2001
Census Field Operation Report. 26 November
^ Graham Vidler. The 2001
Population Archived 20 November
2006 at the Wayback Machine.. Research Paper 01/21. House of Commons
Library. ISSN 1368-8456
^ P. Boyle and D. Dorling. Guest editorial: the 2001 UK census:
remarkable resource or bygone legacy of the 'pencil and paper era'? .
Area, Volume 36, Number 2, June 2004, p. 104.
^ BBC News.
Census data security fear denied. 7 February 2008.
^ a b Office for National Statistics.
Census 2001: National and local
response rates, last revised 13 January 2006.
^ Bernard Baffour. Modelling
Census Under-Enumeration Archived 1
January 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. General Register Office for
Scotland, Occasional Paper No 13. October 2006. p2.
Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. The methodological
approach to the 2001
Census Archived 17 February 2010 at the Wayback
^ Boyle and Dorling (2004) p106.
^ BBC News.
Census 'lost' 25,000 people. 4 November 2003.
^ "The Big Number:
Census 2001 reveals UK population is 58,789,194"
(PDF). Office for National Statistics. 30 September 2002. p. 3.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2011. Retrieved 27
Census 2001". Retrieved 2008-11-01.
^ National Statistics: The One Number
Census - an estimate of the
^ National Statistics,
Census 2001, Legislation and the role of
Parliament, Nov 2005
^ Explanatory Notes to
Census (Amendment) Act 2000 Archived 7 July
2009 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "statistics.gov.uk". Ethnicity and Religion: Jedi. Retrieved 20
^ National Statistics Online - Religious Populations
Ethnic group statistics: A guide for the collection and
classification of ethnicity data" (PDF). Office for National
Statistics. 2003. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19
April 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
^ a b Gardener, David; Connolly, Helen (October 2005). "Who are the
'Other' ethnic groups?" (PDF). Office for National Statistics.
Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved
^ a b Johnston, Philip (23 April 2001). "Tory MP leads English protest
over census". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
^ English tick box, No 10 e-petition response Archived 11 January 2012
at the Wayback Machine.
Census tick-box for 'English' national identity Archived 6
January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
^ a b
Census shows Welsh language rise. Friday 14 February 2003.
^ a b c
Census equality backed by Plaid 23 September 2000 extracted
Census results 'defy tickbox row'. 30 September 2002. Retrieved
^ from The London School of Economics and Political Science website
^ Cornish demand tick box for 2011 Census
Census 2001 website (England & Wales)
Census 2001 National Report for
England and Wales
England and Wales from data.gov.uk
Census Results OnLine
Census of Population
Census Order 2000 (England & Wales)
Census in the United Kingdom
1969 (Northern Ireland)
Census Enumerators' Boo