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1991 United Kingdom census

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Census 1991

← 1981 21 April 1991 2001 →

General information
CountryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
AuthorityOffice of Population Censuses and Surveys

A nationwide census, commonly known as Census 1991, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday 21 April 1991. This was the 19th UK census.

Census 1991 was organised by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys in England and Wales, the General Register Office for Scotland and the Census Office for Northern Ireland.[1] Detailed results by region, council area, ward and output area are available from their respective websites. The cost of the census was estimated at £140m,[2] or around £7 per household. 117,500 enumerators were employed to assist with collection of census forms in Great Britain.[3]

The 1991 census was the first UK census to have a question on ethnic group.[4] In the 1991 UK census 94.65% of people reported themselves as being White British, White Irish or White Other with 5.35% of people reporting themselves as coming from other minority groups.[5][6][7][8][9] Other new questions were on limiting long-term illness and term-time address for students. A question about central heating replaced the previously used question on outside toilets.[3]

The census was also noted for a significant undercount of the population. Despite being compulsory, a total of 572,000 people failed to respond to both the census form and follow-up interviews, 220,000 of them being males aged 20 to 29. It has been suggested that part of the lack of response could be due to people attempting to avoid registration for the poll tax.[10]

A total of 342 people were prosecuted for not completing their census returns.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Census Dissemination Unit Archived May 3, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ P. Boyle and D. Dorling. Guest editorial: the 2001 UK census: remarkable resource or bygone legacy of the 'pencil and paper era'? . Area, Volume 36, Number 2, June 2004, p104.
  3. ^ a b Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, General Register Office for Scotland (1992). 1991 Census Definitions Great Britain. London: HMSO. ISBN 0-11-691361-4.
  4. ^ A. Teague. Ethnic group: first results from the 1991 census. Population Trends, No. 72, Summer 1993. 12-17
  5. ^ "Diversity and Inclusion". Warwick University.
  6. ^ "Ethnicity and National Identity in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics.
  7. ^ "Britain's amazing technicolour dreamcoat". The Economist.
  8. ^ "Census 2011: British ethnicity mapped over time". Channel Four News. 11 December 2012.
  9. ^ "2011 Census Ethnicity Hub". Sandwell Trends. Archived from the original on 3 May 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  10. ^ The Independent. 'Missing million' indicates poll tax factor in census, 17 Oct 1992
  11. ^ BBC News. Thousands wait for census forms. 29 April 2001.

External links[edit]

Preceded by UK census
Succeeded by