The Future of the British Census in Jeopardy
In the United Kingdom, the iconic British census, held every ten years, may be on the verge of extinction. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is considering replacing this time-honored tradition with a network of public sector data sources, a proposal that has sparked concern among academics and statisticians. They question the accuracy, comprehensiveness, and accountability of the proposed administrative data system, which could lead to a fragmented and inaccurate data landscape. Critics argue that discontinuing the census would leave information gaps in tracking important characteristics, potentially affecting local funding allocation and demographic analysis. The decision lies with ministers and a committee of MPs who are currently evaluating the issue, making the future of the British census uncertain.