UK Data Service makes 2011 Census statistics available to all

Article dated: 11 April 2014

Researchers seeking statistics from the 2011 UK Census now have a portal providing free and open access.

The UK Data Service Census Support team are pleased to announce a further release of 2011 Census aggregate statistics through InFuse, an online tool that allows users to build queries and extract the data they need.

What's in this release

The latest release of aggregate statistics from the UK 2011 Census through InFuse includes multivariate data for England and Wales down to the output area level of geography from the third, fourth and fifth releases of 2011 Census aggregate statistics from the Office for National Statistics.

It also includes comparable univariate data across the UK down to the district level of geography from the key statistics and quick statistics for local authorities in the United Kingdom Part 1 release.

Topics include age, gender, migration, ethnicity, housing, identity, language, religion, health, unpaid care, short-term residents, workday populations, communal establishments, families and the labour market.

Open access

This release signals an important development in data access for the UK Data Service.

InFuse provides both academic and non-academic researchers with access to 2001 (England and Wales) and 2011 (UK) Census aggregate statistics under the Open Government Licence. This means there's no need to register or login to extract the data.

InFuse makes it quick and easy for the user to find and download information for places of interest across the UK and it is free of charge.

Improved features

Rather than making the aggregate statistics data available to users in the raw tabular formats supplied by the national statistical agencies, the UK Data Service Census Support team have been working to make the data more accessible and easier to locate and extract than through other interfaces.

Consequently, InFuse operates from a fundamentally restructured and integrated version of the 2011 aggregate statistics - it integrates and standardises data and geographies to enable unique features including:

  • searches for data across the whole collection by selecting combinations of variables rather than searching through hundreds of traditional census tables
  • selection of data for equivalent geographical areas across the UK in a single operation rather than separate operations for different countries

About the data

Aggregate statistics from the UK 2011 Census are the aggregate counts published by the three respective national statistical agencies responsible for the census data collection and processing in England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

They include counts of people and households with specific combinations of a wide range of demographic and socio-economic characteristics (males aged 25 to 29 who are full-time self-employed, for instance) for areas at scales ranging from the UK as a whole down to individual postcodes.

They represent an unparalleled resource of detailed, high quality information that is widely used to guide decisions in policy and practice across central and local government as well as in the commercial, academic and voluntary sectors.

The 2011 Census aggregate outputs are large and complex, making them difficult to understand and use effectively.

The three UK census agencies are producing thousands of constituent datasets and it is estimated that the InFuse collection will eventually contain around ten billion counts relating to two million areas arranged in multiple geographical hierarchies.

Characteristics will be defined in terms of over 100 topics divided into several thousand categories. Counts will be produced for several hundred thousand different combinations of categories. Data for many of these combinations of topics and categories will only be available for some of the areas.

Improvements to other Census Support tools

Changes have also been made to another data access tool, Casweb, allowing any user to have open access to the UK Data Service back catalogue of aggregate data from the 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001 Censuses.

In addition, users requiring origin-destination statistics or flow data from 2001, 1991 or 1991 censuses can now extract data from WICID by logging in using a guest account without the need to register for access to census statistics. The interaction data from the 2011 Census have not yet been released by the Office for National Statistics.


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