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 1981 to 2011 Censuses and microdata samples from 1961 onwards.

Microdata 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:

2011: For each census office
for England and Wales

for Scotland

for Northern Ireland

2001: UK files

1991: Great Britain and Northern Ireland

1981: Great Britain

1971: Great Britain

1961: Great Britain

Secure Access data are available through the Secure Lab arrangements.

2001: England and Wales

1981: Great Britain

1971: Great Britain

1961: Great Britain

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.


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

The England and Wales teaching file, Scotland teaching file and Northern Ireland teaching file are also available in SPSS and Stata format from the UK Data Service. England and Scotland are also available in Nesstar.

1981, 1971, 1961 OPEN DATA

The Census Microdata Teaching Datasets for Great Britain were created from existing digital records from the 1981, 1971 and 1961 Censuses. They can be used as 'taster' files for Census data and are freely available for anyone to download under an Open Government Licence:


Users should also be aware that there are also more detailed versions of the data available only within safe settings. Applications to use these data as an approved researcher should be made directly to the Office for National Statistics for 2001 and to the relevant Census office for data from the 2011 Census.

The SRS sites are - Titchfield near Fareham, Newport Wales, Belfast Northern Ireland, Glasgow Scotland and Pimlico London.

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 30 November 2018

Back to top