The census

The Census is records containing information about the population of the United Kingdom. Every ten years the government completes a survey to gather this information.

From 1841 to 1901, the census has contained personal information about residents in the UK. Before this time the Census only gives information about population numbers.

What is on the Census?

The information on the Census differs for each survey taken by the government.

1841

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Age (for those over the age of 15, age was rounded to nearest 5 years)
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Where born (simply same county, in another county of England or Wales, Scotland, Ireland, or foreign)

1851

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Relationship to head of houshold
  • If disabled, nature of disability

1861 – 1881

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Relationship to head of houshold
  • If disabled, nature of disability
  • Number of rooms with one or more windows (Scotland only)

1891

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Relationship to head of houshold
  • If disabled, nature of disability
  • Number of rooms with one or more windows (Scotland only)
  • Whether language spoken is Gaelic and/or English (Scotland only)
  • Whether language spoken is Welsh and/or English (Wales only)

1901

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Relationship to head of houshold
  • If disabled, nature of disability
  • Number of rooms with one or more windows (Scotland only)
  • Whether language spoken is Gaelic and/or English (Scotland only)
  • Whether language spoken is Welsh and/or English (Wales only)
  • Religion (Ireland only)
  • Literacy level (Ireland only)
  • Ability to speak or write Irish (Ireland only)

Where can I find the Census?

There are different places where you can access the Census, depending on which area of the country you are located.

If you are located in England or Wales:

  • Census records from 1841 to 1891 for Wales are held in the National Library of Wales.
  • Contact the National Library of Wales:
    • National Library of Wales
    • Ceredigion
    • Wales
    • SY23 3BU
    • Telephone: 01970 632 800
    • Website: www.llgc.org.uk
  • Census records are also available online from the National Archive. Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/census for further details.
  • If you are located in Scotland:

    • Census records for Scotland are held on microfilm by the General Register Office of Scotland.
    • Contact the General Register Office for Scotland:

    Indexes to the census records are available on the Scotland