On the census consultations

In 1882, novelist Leo Tolstoy, himself an enumerator in Moscow, described a census as “a mirror into which, willy nilly, the whole community, and each one of us, gaze”.

I have a piece published in the Conversation (UK) on the history, tradition and symbolism of the census. It is more of a background article than an actual position on the coming potential changes to the UK census.

I do have more specific views on how it should evolve – and in time I’ll probably blog about that – but as far as this piece goes, my overwhelming sentiment is that change should be gradual and well-tested.

UK Ethnicity Dot Map

London ethnicity dot map

« Take me back to the map! »

Frequently Asked Questions

What am I looking at?

Every person counted in the 2011 census of England, Wales and Northern Ireland is represented as a dot on this map – all 57,886,775 of them. Each dot’s location is near to a person’s usual residence, but the locations are not exact; public census results only report location to within a small area, usually containing a few hundred people. These are called ‘output areas’ in England and Wales, and ‘small areas’ in Northern Ireland. To create the map, I randomly place each person within their respective area. The colour of the dot reflects the person’s ethnicity as reported on the census.

Can I use this map?

Yes, with attribution. Consider it CC BY 3.0 licensed. The data is from the 2011 Census, via ONS (England & Wales) and NISRA (Northern Ireland) and you should cite them too, as the original source of the data.