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1971 Census

Description of film

A census can paint a comprehensive picture of the social and domestic conditions in a nation. Census returns are essential tools for effective policy, planning and decision-making purposes at both national and local level. Not only do the results enable the Government to track developments over a long period with considerable accuracy, they are essential for setting up the provision of health care, education and employment.


The first comprehensive census in the United Kingdom was taken in 1801, and since then a census has been taken every 10 years with the exception of 1941. Earlier census returns were simply headcounts, but from 1841 onwards census forms started to collect personal information, providing a snapshot of the population on a particular night. Therefore a census is a fundamental part of our national heritage and collective knowledge. However, in order to encourage people to provide honest detailed information the census records are closed to the public for 100 years. The 1901 census is therefore currently the latest census available.

Interesting or important points about the film

The purpose of the film was to remind people to fill out the census form for 25th April 1971 and provide vital and confidential information that can enable government to plan for the nation.

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Further information
CategoryPost-war to Present Day
Sub categoryBritain since 1945
Film1971 Census
SourceCrown copyright
ProducerCentral Office of Information for Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys