While much of the ONS’s current work is focused on preparing for the 2021 Census, they are still keen to obtain value from historical censuses by opening up data.
Today a suite of 1981 Census microdata has been made available at the UK Data Service and in the ONS’s Virtual Microdata Laboratory (VML). The files are small samples of data for whole households and individuals, and contain a range of socio-demographic characteristics but no information that could identify a household or individual. Access to the different microdata samples varies according to the size of the sample and the level of detail contained in it – details below.
The microdata samples were created as part of the ‘Enhancing and Enriching Historic Census Microdata’ project which was led by the UK Data Archive with the University of Manchester. ONS and the National Records of Scotland have supported this work in order to make better use of existing data and to advance research based on census data. Microdata products enable researchers to look at combinations of characteristics that are not generally available from the standard census tables and to perform different types of analyses not possible from standard tabulations.
The UK Data Service and the VML will be supplied with microdata samples from the 1971 and 1961 Censuses in the coming months. Together, the samples will create a rich research resource for the analysis of social change over the last 50 years.
||Sample size (%)
||Lowest level of geography
||Who can access the data under current arrangements
|1981 Census – [GB] Public SAR||1||Region||Open Government Licence||
|1981 Census – [GB] Individual Safeguarded SAR||5||Merged LAD||End User Licence||
|1981 Census – [GB] Household Safeguarded SAR||0.95||Region||End User Licence||
|1981 Census – [GB] Secure SAR||9||LAD||Controlled access (via UK Data Service Secure Lab or VML)||