The UK census: necessity or luxury for social and spatial understanding?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Census data offer a wealth of information about how society is changing from decade to decade, and the release of the UK's 2011 Census data has provided us with unique information about what the UK as a nation now looks like down to the smallest geographical areas. However, the Census cannot tell us everything and its very existence is currently under review as alternative data sources have emerged, potentially drawing to an end one of the historic cornerstones of UK social and spatial research and understanding. This article illustrates some of the ways that UK Census data can offer new social understanding. It considers some of the key ‘blind spots’ of the Census alongside its strengths. The article also offers an update on the review by the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) ‘Beyond 2011’ project (ONS, 2013a) that is due to report to Parliament in 2014 and may herald the end of the UK Census.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • UK census
  • census data
  • unique information


Dive into the research topics of 'The UK census: necessity or luxury for social and spatial understanding?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this