Public Views of Census Data and Population Predictiors

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Carol PORTEOUS, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Sarah CUNNINGHAM-BURLEY, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Understanding the (changing) population within a country, its demographic distribution and its characteristics, are considered essential in order to allocate resources and plan the future. One means to do this is by conducting a census. Census data are infrequently collected (every 5 or 10 years) but are frequently used by governments to understand the population and allocate resources. How do the citizens or public understand the role of, and conceptualise the census? Do these understandings and conceptualisations have implications for government and society?

This paper will report findings from a research project conducted with a panel of citizens in Scotland to explore their views of: the census as a measurement of population, census collection activities and views of plans for the next census in 2021. In addition, findings will also be reported on citizen views of new means of projecting and estimating population demographics using administrative data.

Key issues explored will be; the value of the census in an increasingly data driven society, the utility of census data in rapidly fluctuating populations and expectations held by citizens about the role of census