GKB: Geodemographics Knowledge Base

The dynamic nature of population change, advances in information technology, cost constraints and demand for more frequent and more detailed statistics are driving changes in methods for the provision of population and socio-demographic data in the UK.

ONS are investigating the feasibility of moving to a census based on administrative data after 2021. 

2016 ONS Research conference: Transforming the census — to 2021 and beyond

The aim of the conference was to inform stakeholders about the latest research, get feedback on the statistical design of the 2021 Census and Admin Data Census and reinforce confidence in the Census Transformation Programme’s delivery of a successful programme.
ONS presented research and plans around the move to a predominantly online census in 2021 and the potential move to an administrative data-based census after 2021. This included making the best use of all available data sources that are needed to produce better statistics for making better decisions.

Admin-based income statistics, England and Wales: tax year ending 2016 (published December 2018)

In these statistics, ONS brings together data from the Pay As You Earn and benefits systems to derive experimental estimates of gross and net income.

Administrative Data Census Project

The home page for the ONS project to investigate the feasibility of moving to a census based on administrative data after 2021. It includes links to work on methodology, data sources and progress assessments.

Administrative Data Census Research Outputs

The ONS page summarising experimental outputs produced as part of the research into using administrative data to produce population and census statistics in the future.

Administrative Data Census: annual assessments

The web page for ONS annual assessments on progress made towards development of an Administrative Data Census.

Beyond 2021 - transforming the Census

A blog by ONS discussing how ONS is refining its approach to gathering and using administrative data – information people have already supplied to other government bodies – to produce census-type outputs.

Census 2022: Transforming Small Area Socio-Economic Indicators through Big Data

This research project, being conducted at Southampton University, is looking to discover indicators that could help to estimate census variables, existing large-scale geo-coded transactional datasets such as telephone calls and smart meter usage. The project has tested the utility of a range of analytic techniques for deriving traditional and novel small area socio-economic indicators including relatively simple ratios and distribution measures as well as more experimental temporal sequence and profile analysis.

Information Collected by Commercial Companies: What Might Be of Value to ONS?

The recent census in the UK, taken in March 2011, may also have been our last – since the Office for National Statistics has announced that it intends to explore alternative more cost-effective options for ‘census taking’ in the future. In this paper, we consider what the options may be, based on approaches and experiences from other countries, and assess their implications for users. We start by reminding ourselves about the value of the census and the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach. We then identify the principal methods being followed in other countries, together with their advantages and disadvantages. This leads us to review methodological work in the UK, building up to the current ‘Beyond 2011’ ONS project. We focus on administrative records as a possible way of removing the need for a full population survey. Finally, we assess the options and discuss the implications for users in market research.

Occupied address (household) estimates from Administrative Data: 2011 and 2015 (published February 2017)

This ONS work presents results from continued research into a different methodology of estimating the household population using administrative data. This is part of a series of Administrative Data Census Research Outputs the first which was published in October 2015.

ONS Data source overviews

This ONS page summarises the data sources being used for the experimental Administrative Data Census research outputs, as well as those sources being evaluated for use in the 2021 Census.

Research outputs estimating the size of the population in England and Wales: 2016 release (published November 2016)

This presents ONS research and population statistics based on a different methodology to that currently followed in the production of official population statistics. A Statistical Population Dataset (SPD) makes use of linked administrative data to estimate population. These research outputs are NOT official statistics on the population.

Research Outputs: Income from PAYE and benefits (published December 2016)

At the end of 2016 ONS published their first Administrative Data Census research outputs on income. These outputs are the start of ONS research to assess whether it’s feasible to produce income outputs from administrative data. This release produces local authority level individual gross annual income distributions.

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