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Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what (a) questions and (b) answer categories (i) used in the 2001 Census and (ii) to be used in the 2011 Census were not included in the 1991 Census. (290699)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, 8 September 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what (a) questions and (b) answer categories used in the (i) 2001 and (ii) 2011 Census were not included in the 1991 Census. (290699).


The following were the questions and answer categories included in the 2001 Census that were not included in the 1991 Census:

(a) Questions


general health

provision of unpaid care

time since last worked

type of landlord

whether schoolchild/student

lowest floor level of accommodation

size of workforce at place of work

(b) Answer categories

The format of the 2001 Census questionnaire was different in many ways from that used in the 1991 Census. For example, the Relationship question in 2001 had specific tick-boxes for each of the several types of relationship which in 1991 would have been recorded by the write-in facility under the category ‘other relative'.

The ethnic group question was much expanded and included: specific response categories for ‘British' and ‘Irish' under the ‘White' heading; three specific response tick-boxes under a new ‘Mixed' heading; and write-in categories under each of the main headings.

The questions on educational and professional qualification were also expanded to include several specific tick-box categories rather than write-in responses.

Some slight changes were also made to the response categories in the questions on Marital status, Students term-time address, Usual address one year ago, Economic activity in the week before the census. Type of accommodation.


The proposals for the 2011 Census have not yet been approved by Parliament. The draft Census Order which contains details of the questions to be asked in the 2011 Census is scheduled be laid before Parliament in October. The proposals for questions for the 2011 Census were set out in the White Paper Helping to shape tomorrow (Cm 7513) published and laid before Parliament on 11 December 2008, and which is available on the ONS website at:-

The White Paper proposes new questions on Type of central heating, Number of bedrooms, National identity, Type of passport held, Date of entry into the UK and Intended length of stay (for non-UK born). Language and Second residence.

You may also be interested to see the questionnaire to be used for the 2009 Census Rehearsal on 11 October which is available on the ONS website at:-

If you would like a paper copy of the 1991 Census and 2001 Census questionnaires we would be happy to send them to you.