A snapshot of demographic and social life in the UK

The population census is a vital resource for social scientific research and policy development, providing a snapshot of demographic and social life in the UK that helps inform government policy at local and central level.

Many of the UK census data we hold are available without registration or authentication, via the Open Government Licence.

Guidance and training about census data


Different types of census data held in the UK Data Service Collection:

Census aggregate data

Aggregate data provide area counts, usually of individuals or households with particular characteristics. Access information on census aggregate data.


Census flow data

Census flow data (also known as interaction data) are data that relate to flows of people between places. Access information on census flow data.


Census boundary data

We provide access to digitised boundary datasets and geographic look-up tables corresponding to the census geography of the UK. Digital boundaries are provided in common Geographical Information System (GIS) formats.


Census microdata

We provide access to census microdata, which are individual level data. Large samples of census records have been drawn and anonymised and are known as the Samples of Anonymised Records (SARs).

The Census Microdata Teaching Datasets for Great Britain were created from existing digital records from the 1981, 1971 and 1961 Censuses. They can be used as taster files for census data and are freely available for anyone to download under an Open Government Licence: