Census microdata


We provide access to cross-sectional census microdata, these are anonymised individual level records sampled from a single census. They are large individual level files which resemble the sort of data that might be collected directly from a questionnaire.  Because individual records contain a wide range of individual and household characteristics, the data enable multivariate analyses for a wide range or purposes.  

The UK Data Service holds contemporary data from the 1991 to 2011 Censuses and microdata samples from 1961 onwards are planned. 

SAR files are available at four levels, two of which can currently be accessed through the UK Data Service in the same manner as survey data.

Access census microdata via the uk Data service

End User Licence data are available to registered users who have agreed to the licence conditions. Overseas applications must be approved by the data depositors.

The key analysis datasets are;




Additionally, specialist datasets for users interested in imputation were made available for 2001.  These are larger files as they contain an imputation flag variable for each original variable.  As they are otherwise identical, general users are advised to user the smaller standard files.

The 2001 household file is available under Special Licence; users must be approved researchers in order to access this file.


2011 taster files known as the Teaching files are available as open data in .csv format from: 

These files contain limited detail and are based on a 1% sample of individuals


Users should also be aware that there are also more detailed versions of the data available only within an Office for National Statistics safe setting. Applications to use these data as an approved researcher should be made directly to the Office for National Statistics.

  • 2011: To find out more or apply for the 10% 2011 Individual and Household Secure microdata for England and Wales see the ONS secure microdata page. 
  • 2001 census microdata is available via the Virtual microdata laboratory, unlike other data available in the virtual microdata laboratory they are not available through the UK Data Service. 

    If you are considering using the 2001 data you might be interested in testing your syntax on a dataset which was designed for this purpose - see the CAMS test file.


Users interested in census microdata for 1851-1911 should consult the separate ICeM site.  

Users interested in longitudinal census microdata which link individual records over time are advised to consult the CALLS site 

page last updated 17 December 2014

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