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Census: Essex

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the accuracy of figures for (a) Southend on Sea and (b) Essex in each of the last two censuses; what representations he has received on this in each of the last two years; and if he will make a statement. (159650)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 24 October 2007:

The National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what recent assessment has been made of the accuracy of census figures for (a) Southend on Sea and (b) Essex in each of the last two censuses and what representations have been received on this in each of the last two years, I am replying in her absence. (159650)

Following the 2001 Census for England and Wales, ONS undertook an extensive programme of work to investigate the reasons for the difference between the 2001 Census and the mid-year population estimates (MYEs) at both national and local levels. This research included a series of local authority studies carried out in 2004 which were designed to improve the MYEs in the areas that proved hardest to count in the Census. An extensive review was carried out for 32 local authorities, including Southend-on-Sea. The results of these studies showed that better estimates of the population could be made in 15 areas and an adjustment was made to the MYEs in these areas. For the great majority of areas, including Southend-on-Sea, it was found that the 2001 Census-based population estimate remains the best estimate of the population. A full report on these Local Authority Studies can be found at: .uk/downloads/theme_population/LAStudy_FullReport.pdf.

The Census 2001 Quality report for England and Wales provides information about all aspects of quality relating to the 2001 Census, It provides an overview of the quality issues and the studies and analyses that have been carried out to improve the quality of census data. The Quality report is held in the House of Commons Library or can be downloaded from;uk/census2001/proj_qr.asp

Official assessments of the quality of the 1991 Census were published in the 1991 Census General Report (ISBN 0-11-691616-8) and User Guide 58 (Undercoverage in Great Britain). These were carried out at national level and no assessment of quality was made for individual local authorities. The General Report is held in the House of Commons Library and User Guide 58 may be obtained from Census Customer Services at

The 1991 Census Validation Survey assessed the coverage of the Census and the quality of the Census information recorded about those people who were successfully enumerated. The 1991 Census Validation Survey: Quality Report (ISBN 0-11-691688-5) and 1991 Census Validation Survey: Coverage Report (ISBN 0-11-691591-9) Is held in the House of Commons Library,

With the completion of the Local Authority studies in 2004, no further assessment of the accuracy of the 2001 Census has been required, ONS are now working on developing the plans for the next Census in 2011.

In the two years since September 2005, ONS has received two letters from one local authority and one letter from a Parish Council specifically regarding the accuracy of the Census results. They have met with a further local authority to discuss their concerns. There have been no formal representations made to ONS specifically about the accuracy of the 1991 or 2001 Census during this time.