On 26 October, the Office for National Statistics concluded a consultation process around plans that would see the abolishion of the decennial census, most recently taken in 2021. The proposal is to replace it with a ‘statistics system’ constructed by piecing together a wide range of databases currently collected by different government departments and commercial organisations.In a submission to the ONS which can be read here, History & Policy pointed out that the national census is not only an information source for today’s planners and analysts, but also a national treasure providing all citizens with access to an invaluable resource to know their families’ histories. H&P argues that while innovations to improve the nation’s short-term statistical knowledge may be desirable, this should not be done at the expense of maintaining the long-term cultural value of the decennial census for our own posterity.
H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.
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