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Census data 1801-1991

Results from censuses before the 1960s are in printed reports. More recent output has been both printed and electronic, with increasing amounts becoming available online.

Printed reports

Printed reports, to be laid before Parliament and published, have been produced from all censuses. All findings were in printed reports until the 1966 Census, when it was first released on electronic media. The number of printed pages reached its maximum in 1991, but was reduced in 2001 with the rapid shift to electronic media.

A complete set of the printed report is available for public access by arrangement in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Library in Newport, and Census Customer Services will provide advice on obtaining figures from historic reports on request. There is no central list of library holdings of historic census reports, but the British Library holds a set, and university libraries may also hold the reports. Major local reference libraries often hold historic reports.


A limited selection of the findings of the 1991 Census is available online:

  • The 1991 catalogue of products and services is a list of the reports, originally published as hardcopy volumes, which are available on National Statistics Online.

  • Nomis®, the National Online Manpower Information System, provides detailed tables from the 2001 Census and also some detailed data from the 1981 and 1991 Censuses. This service is run on behalf of ONS by the University of Durham

  • Population counts are available for the 50 most populous urban areas (1991)

Three online features covering the 200 years of the census from 1801 to 2001:

  • Census bicentenary information: Historical information from a series of articles and area monitors

  • A vision of Britain through time: A website from the Great Britain Historical Geographic Information System (GIS) Project, based at the University of Portsmouth. Includes statistical trends calculated for current local authorities, historic maps, and census reports from 1801 to 1961 with direct access to the main tables

  • Online Historical Population Reports (OHPR): This collection provides online access to the complete British population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937. The collection goes far beyond the basic population reports with a wealth of textual and statistical material, which provides an in-depth view of the economy, society (through births, deaths and marriages), and medicine during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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