Research Output

Power to the Population? the population census under review.

  Many regard the population census as the backbone of national statistics. It is also regarded as a national institution; a data source held in high regard by the academic, policymaker, historian and genealogist alike. However, technological advances, pressure on resources and the availability of alternative information about the
demography of the population have led to a recent review of the census.
The results of this review have led the UK to develop a population census that in future will be conducted online and augmented by data derived from other government sources, for example, health and social care records, without the need for explicit consent of the population. It is, therefore, an opportune time to build upon
previous studies relating to privacy and the census and examine the impact that these confirmed changes to the population census in the UK will have on public perceptions of the confidential nature of the census, with a particular focus on information security, privacy and ethics.
This paper will discuss the results of a study examining public attitudes to an online census, information sharing between government agencies without explicit consent, and attitudes to private companies processing census data. The census office have
made changes to the census have with limited input from the public and lead us to question where ultimate power lies? Is it with those making the changes, or those providing information, to the census?

  • Date:

    18 January 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    International Academic Forum

  • Library of Congress:

    HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    304 Factors affecting social behavior

  • Funders:

    Arts and Humanities Research Council


Killick, L., Duff, A., Hall, H. & Deakin, M. (2016). Power to the Population? the population census under review. In ACTIS 2015, 27-34



Privacy; confidentiality; population census; information sharing; information society;

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