|Census 2011 – First Release of Data|
|Monday, 16 July 2012 17:34|
The first results of the 2011 Census have been released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shortly after being read to Parliament. The release of all census data will be staggered and this first release, covering England and Wales, looks at overall population and household counts by region, age and gender. The ONS reports to Parliament (not the Government) - personal census information is not shared with any other government department or body nationally or locally.
Census statistics take a ‘snapshot’ of the national picture, area by area, and subject by subject, to ensure civic planning and services can be better planned and delivered. Comparisons with previous censuses to assess social growth patterns and trends, especially with the census of 2001, are key. Given that the religion question was first asked in 2001, the 2011 Census also presents the first comprehensive analysis of patterns by religion that can be verified by the census. This first release does not, however, provide data by religion.
Person counts are sometimes divided into a ‘usual resident’ and a ‘short term resident’ - the main population base that is used for planning is the count of usual residents. A usual resident lives here permanently, or intends to stay for 12 months or more, or, has a permanent address here and intended to stay abroad for less than 12 months. A short term resident (sometimes also called ‘short term migrants’ though there are some definitional differences between the two terms) intends to stay from 3 to 11 months.
The 2011 Census provides a very reliable basis for planning and for statistical analysis, but public confidence in its reliability is important. In statistical terms, the population count is estimated with ‘95% confidence’ by the ONS, and the national population count to be accurate within +/- 85,000 persons, or 0.15%.
What does the data show?
According to the 2011 Census:
These represent high level findings and further data can be explored here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/index.html
Muslim Population Growth?
The 2001 census showed Britain’s Muslims to have the youngest age demographic, with one third under 16 years and 50% under 25 years. Sikhs had the second youngest age demographic and Jews had the oldest. It also showed Muslims living across all electoral constituents, with proportional counts varying greatly. In some areas of higher concentrations, high levels of unemployment and overcrowding could also be seen. Given the young age demographic and the uneven proportional counts, we expected Muslim households to show a significantly greater rate of population increase due to young adults having growing families, especially within a local authority assessment.
The first data release for the 2011 Census does not provide a population count by religion, but the data on local authorities recording the highest population growth suggests such a social trend. The 20 local (or unitary) authorities shown to have the highest population growth are set out below (authorities with a significant Muslim population have been italicised).
13 authorities out of the top 20, including the 5 highest counts, of local population growth have taken place in areas where there are significant, and often high concentrations, of Muslim residents. This impacts not only the planning of services and allocation of civic funds, but upon a range of related socio-economic and, where relevant, socio-religious factors. Factors that will continue to shape issues of topical, educational and social importance, in the economically challenged times that lie ahead.
If you wish, you may download this briefing paper in .pdf format by clicking here.