The 2011 census is expected to show a growing class divide amongst British Muslims and a slow but steady trend towards national averages in key areas.
Census information is collected for Parliament and so has considerable independence from the current government.
The next census will take place on Sunday 27 March 2011. Each household will receive a questionnaire to fill in, although it is estimated that something like a quarter will be completed online. This will be the second time the religion question will be asked, allowing for a comprehensive evidence based look at shifts in religious belonging, when data from 2011 is compared to that of 2001. Although there are attempts to adjust population figures twice a year by the ONS, they are not as robust as the census count every ten years itself.
For socio-religious groups like Muslims, who represent a much younger group than the Christian and Jewish groups, a significantly larger rise in population is expected as the comparatively younger Muslim citizens of 2001 start families. This social maturity is expected to account for the Muslim population rise more so than immigration, and is a trend we can expect from some other religious groups as well, such as with Sikhs. The 2011 census is also likely to evidence a growing class divide amongst British Muslims, increased residential mobility, a rise in the number of females at work, a rise in men and women of pensionable age, and a greater number of British births.
Despite the higher number of census forms completed online, we expect tabled results not to be available until late 2011 or, more possibly, early 2012. It is also not clear if the tables will replicate those of 2001 in the area of religion, to allow for an easier matching of results and, subsequently, the a closer match of social trends. Official special reports, such as on the subject of religion, can be expected quite a bit later. This can affect or delay key areas for analysis. Questions regarding changes in the complex make up and size of Muslim households for example, rely upon information matching that of the previous census.
To compare Census 2001's question topics with Census 2011 at a glance, click here.
For questions regarding the Census 2011 you can click here.
For information on the general scope and questions covered by the Census 2011 click here.
To see a specimen copy of the Census 2011 form (based on the national test copy) click here.
To view the consultation paper on the question of religion in the Census 2011 for England and Wales, click here.
To see an official project to assess the inclusion of a Kashmiri ethnic category in the Census 2011, click here.
To see an information paper on which ethnic categories to include in the Census 2011, click here.
To view the final recommendations to Parliament for questions in the Census 2011, click here.
To see a parliamentary paper on changes in the area of questions in the Census 2011 compared to the Census 2001, click here.