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Census (Amendment) Act 2000

Existing legislation

14.The primary legislation that provides for the taking of a Census in England and Wales (and in Scotland) is the Census Act 1920. Under the provisions of Section 1(1) of this Act an Order in Council may prescribe:

  • the date on which the census is to be taken; and

  • the persons by whom and with respect to whom the census returns are to be made; and

  • the particulars to be stated in the returns.

15.The Schedule to the Census Act 1920 authorises the inclusion, in the Censuses for England and Wales (and for Scotland), of the following topics in respect of which particulars may be required:

  • Names, sex, age;

  • Occupation, profession, trade or employment;

  • Nationality, birthplace, race, language;

  • Place of abode and character of dwelling; and

  • Condition as to marriage, relation to head of family, issue born in marriage.

16.The inclusion in the Census of questions on other topics is also permitted under paragraph 6 of the Schedule to the Act which says:

Any other matters with respect to which it is desirable to obtain statistical information with a view to ascertaining the social or civil condition of the population.

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