In an article written last Wednesday for Church Times, an Anglican newspaper, David Cameron claimed that Britain was a “Christian country”. In response fifty-five assorted public figures including academics, scientists and comedians wrote a letter to the Telegraph newspaper on Easter Sunday saying that it was no such thing and in fact: “repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities.”
That depends on how the question is asked. The results of the 2011 census supports Cameron, with narrow majorities in England and Wales, and Scotland and an overwhelming majority in Northern Ireland identifying as Christian. Yet the 2012 British Social Attitudes Survey (BSAS) places Christians in the minority comprising only 46 per cent of the population. Read more
Business users breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday after the UK’s statistics authorities announced they have decided against scrapping the 200-year-old census. They plan instead to replace paper forms mailed to households with an online questionnaire. Read more
Gentrification and commercial developments are breaking up Chinatowns in US and British cities, squeezing Chinese communities out of the vibrant neighbourhoods that grew up around earlier generations of migrants.
The changing demographics of New York City further highlight this pattern, with Asian communities having sprung up in Flushing and Queens, where they were traditionally focused in Lower Manhattan.
The animated maps above show decadal changes in the spread of localised Chinese and Asian communities in London, New York and San Francisco, created using data from the 2001 and 2011 editions of the UK census and the US censuses of 2000 and 2010. Read more
An interesting picture of the changing face of the UK housing market is provided by an analysis of census data by estate agency Savills, given exclusively to the FT.
The private rented sector is the main success story – it’s the only part of the market to have increased in value since the recession, and now makes up 17 per cent of the UK’s housing stock by units and 18 per cent by value, Savills found.
Today’s census data release offers a fascinating picture of linguistic diversity in England and Wales. In particular, it sheds useful light on London’s population.
The capital city differs strongly from the rest of the country in its demographic profile. But at a more granular level, the city contains some striking contrasts. In fact, in some ways it seems to be two cities, each living on top of, but almost invisible to, the other (a concept that will be familiar to fans of novelist China Mieville). Read more
Britain is increasingly becoming a country of people who are on the move in search of work, data from the 2011 census reveals.
Nearly 189,000 people in England and Wales are living away from home for work-related reasons, the census found. This is the second-largest category of people with second addresses (after students living away from home), and exceeds the 165,095 people who told the census they use a second address for holidays.
The census asked people whether they had a second address for the first time in 2011, so figures for previous decades are not available. However the Office for National Statistics noted that “an increasing number of people in the UK have more than one residence … This situation led to the need for a new question to collect information on second addresses … [to] help local authorities to plan local services.”
The results make it possible to identify areas of the country with the highest proportions of people with work-related second addresses. All but one of these areas are in London (see table 1, below).
A look at recent figures for the number of job vacancies per unemployment benefit claimant shows that these areas have wildly differing levels of job availability (table 2). This suggests that the search for employment opportunities is not the driving factor.
So what is the cause? Read more
Scrapping the UK census could seriously undermine politicians’ ability to formulate evidence-based social policy, a committee of MPs has warned.
The Office for National Statistics is currently considering whether to abolish the national census, which has taken place every 10 years since 1801 (except for 1941, when it was cancelled as a result of the Second World War). The government has suggested that the census is too expensive – the 2011 census cost £480m.
Alternative data collection methods under consideration include making greater use of local administrative data sets and internet research methods. The ONS will reach a conclusion in 2014 about whether to carry out the 2021 census.
The Commons Science & Technology Committee has looked into the possible alternatives to the census. In a new report, it said that the social science benefits of the census “outweigh the financial costs”. It was “not convinced that the use of administrative data would be a cheaper option over a 10-year census cycle”, it said. Read more
The population of England and Wales has grown by more than seven per cent since 2001, the first release of data from the 2011 census shows.
The estimate, based on the census taken on March 27 2011, recorded a population of 53.0 million in England and 3.1 million in Wales, representing an increase of 3.7 million in the decade since the 2001 census, which recorded a population of 52.4 million.
This increase of 7.1 per cent represents the largest growth in the population in England and Wales in any 10-year period since the 1911 census.