How critical is the census?

By Chris Mahony | 25 March 2020

The state of permanent revolution that defines the information age leaves venerable institutions dating back centuries needing to prove their relevance.

The 10-yearly census is no exception, facing as it does, regular demands from politicians for it to justify its £250m cost. Following the big national data-sharing exercises of both 2001 and 2011, MPs and ministers suggested radical reform – or even scrapping the census. The Treasury Select Committee asked the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to provide ‘robust evidence to justify expenditure of over £250m’.

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