The Census and social science

The Science and Technology Committee launches a new inquiry examining the census and social science.


In July 2010 the Government announced that the Census, the official population count carried out by Government every 10 years, would be axed after 2011. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) set up the Beyond 2011 Programme to investigate and assess alternative options for producing the population and socio-demographic data required in England and Wales.

The Science and Technology Committee has agreed to conduct a short inquiry looking at the impact of ending the Census on social science research. It is anticipated that this will feed into the work of the ONS.

Terms of Reference

The Committee seeks written submissions on the following matters:

1. How do social scientists use Census data?

2. What impact will the ending of the Census have on social science research?

3. What alternatives to the Census would provide population and socio-demographic data of equivalent or higher quality?

4. What other existing sources of population and socio-demographic data could be improved upon?

Submitting written evidence

The Committee invites written submissions on these issues by noon on Wednesday 30 November 2011.

Each submission should:

a) be no more than 3,000 words in length;
b) be in Word format with as little use of colour or logos as possible;
c) have numbered paragraphs; and
d) include a declaration of interests.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked "Census". An additional paper copy should be sent in due course (not by the deadline) to:

The Clerk
Science and Technology Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank

Please note that:

• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

More information on submitting evidence to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

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