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Does census data still have value almost ten years later?

2021 is on the horizon and that date means only one thing for small area data fans…the 2021 Census is nearly upon us! We have been eagerly awaiting an updated census, which will help give us an insight into the profound social and demographic changes that have occurred over the last decade. However, it will not be until 2023 that we can start getting our hands on some of the major data outputs at small-area level.

In the meantime, the 2011 Census continues to provide an (increasingly out of date) picture of the characteristics and challenges in local communities.

So why do those of us engaged in quantitative socio-economic research keep coming back to using census data?

Our Local Insight providers, OCSI or Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI) get a lot of questions about this and their Head of Research, Stefan Noble, has collated some of his thoughts.