The Census and Social Science
HC 322, Third Report of Session 2012-13 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence
- House of Commons - Science and Technology Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The report 'The Census and Social Science (HC 322)' is the result of an inquiry undertaken to consider the use of the data from the census by the Government, whether there were elements of the census that would be irreplaceable by other means and if the business of Government would be seriously impacted if census data was lost or changed.
The Committee is concerned that there is no chief advisor as with other sciences, or a Minister who could answer for Government as a whole, as to whether social science provisions are adequate and whether the data from the census and other sources was fit for purpose.
The key disadvantage of the census is the timeliness of the data. Yet census data provides a snapshot of the whole country at a moment in time. It enables detection of trends in the recent past, allows comparisons to be made of different areas in the country more accurately and provides a means to recruit to longitudinal studies.
Good use is being made of non-census surveys to provide equivalent data in a number of areas in a much shorter timescale, but these do not have the same breadth as the census and do not provide a national coverage or standard.
Social science could suffer if the census was to be discontinued without serious consideration as to how this data would be replaced. Though the absence of a census would also potentially stimulate a considerable amount of innovation in social science and examination of how to produce social data of an equivalent standard.
|Format||Paperback||Published||21 Sep 2012|
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