Four works with the 2011 Census to reach out to students in universities and colleges across England and Wales. This week, our very own Connie Muttock, with us on work experience, got involved with this piece of writing celebrating the importance of the census.
Whilst filling out the census with my Mum last week, I got a pleasing sense that I was being marked in history; that one day, my great, great granddaughter will research the census of fifty years before, looking for her ancestry, and find my name. This thought made me wonder that despite my charming, all be it, frivolous little daydream, is there any real point in the census, any use in taking your time to fill out information you may not necessarily want to share? So I did some research, and it turns out, there is.
Firstly, how would we get demographic statistics if no one recorded their information? Most of the facts and figures you read regarding population, poverty rates, 2020 predictions, dependency ratios,( GNP per capita?) – these are all created using information from the census. And these statistics aren’t just used for reports; all the local councils in England and Wales use the census to better understand the needs of their community, and so ensure they get appropriate funding to provide for them. The locations of new schools, youth centres, hospitals, nurseries and many more community facilities are determined with the support of the census population statistics. Education authorities will use the Census to estimate how many five year olds will start school every autumn, and how many classes, teachers and resources they’ll need. Even the London Fire Brigade use the census to work out the amount of resources needed in each location to respond to fire in the quickest way possible, thus saving lives and protecting property.
In short, the census is used to divvy up millions of pounds of government money, build well-needed facilities, update schooling, and improve Fire Brigade services. So a few houses short of the actual population, and your community; your family could lose out- it’s essential everyone takes part.
To find out more about how students can get involved with the 2011 Census, visit www.census.gov.uk/2011students.