I've seen and heard a lot of comments about the Census 2011 over the last month or so. Some of it positive, a fair amount of it is negative, some of it ridiculous; it is called the Census, not the Concensus you plonker!
I can understand people's scepticism about it, but personally I find it really exciting. As soon as The Boy is asleep (this may take some time, he's currently singing to his daddy upstairs, interspersed with occasionals squeals of glee and shouting), then hubby and I are going to sit down and fill it in in a ceremonial fashion.
The census is such an important way of collecting data; initially because of the impact to local services that it has. It is a crucial piece of data collection to ensure the correct and relevant provision and funding of public services. Health-care, child-care, public transport, schools, etc. How do you think they are able to predict the need for school places in the area if not for the census?
The aim is to get an idea of who is living in the UK on a specific day, and how they live their lives. Yes, some people may find it intrusive, but I find it fascinating and it just goes to highlight the impressive social, cultural and religious diversity that exists in Britain today.
Aside from the impact on today's services, just think about in the future. I've been researching my family tree over the past five years or so, and although I take a break every so often because it can become complex and confusing, whenever I return my first port of call is always the census records! Through the online collation and access of the records from 1911 and before, I have been able to find over 300 members of both my paternal and maternal family tree. I can trace the shift in social standing, find out what jobs they had, ascertain what happened to my great, great, great grandfather's children and where they lived. None of this would happen without the collation of information through the census.
Personally for me, this census is extremely exciting. Last census, I was about to embark on the biggest journey of my life! Ten years ago I was 23 and in my final year of my teaching degree, living at home with my mum and dad, borrowing my mum's car, jobless and in a long-distance relationship with an English bloke. This census I am married to that English bloke, a mother, a teacher, living in my own (ok, mortgaged) home, driving my own car. My world had changed and I can't wait to share that information on the census!