2021 Census to take snapshot of Abingdon – 1921 Census details published soon

We will complete our census return on 21st March 2021. Somebody investigating our family history in one hundred years time (or whenever the census is released) will see that we live at the same address as ten years ago, and that our professions have changed. In 2021, they will also be able to see for the first time whether we served in the armed forces, our sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The 1921 census was the only time the census was delayed (until June) and that was due to industrial unrest.

New questions in 1921 included more details about profession: what materials people worked in, place of work and their employer’s name. For those over the age of 15 there was information about marital status, and whether divorced. For those under 15 the census recorded whether both parents were alive or if either or both parents had died. It also had detailed questions on education including whether people were in full-time or part-time education.

The 1921 census summary for the Borough of Abingdon showed the inhabitants to number 7,167, an increase of 358 from 1911. Females numbered 3,896, and males 3,271.

Commenting on the summary statistics, released in September 1921, a local newspaper said, ‘It is evident that all of them cannot get married unless they go further afield. The single man who shows a preference for the single life will have to run the gauntlet and if the feminine majority care to exercise their powers, they will no doubt impose a heavy tax on bachelors. Women came into many occupations during the war, and many of them continued to be employed. They have cultivated the spirit of independence and are claiming equality of opportunity. The males have no longer any right to pose as the superior sex’.

The individual details of the 1921 census have not been published yet but will be within the next year on findmypast.com. This delay is supposedly for reasons of privacy. However a lot of the details of people now over 100 years old will be already in the public domain from other sources.

5 thoughts on “2021 Census to take snapshot of Abingdon – 1921 Census details published soon

  1. Janet

    This census will not be accurate as there are thousands of illegal immigrants in the country who will not complete the census. Also there are many houses that have been turned into HMO’, (houses of multiple occupation) where landlords do not want people to know how many are in the house. I found some of the questions peculiar, for instance it seemed to concentrate on gender and sexuality. What use this will be I am not sure.

    1. Hester

      Janet, I wouldn’t imagine that there has ever been a census which is 100% accurate – there will always have been people with something to hide, or people unable to complete it properly. I am not sure what the point of your remark is – other than to have another go at “illegal immigrants”.

  2. PPJS

    Roland kept house for us while we were on a three-month sabbatical world trip. He couldn’t find a job as an accountant (for which he was qualified), so he worked stacking shelves in supermarkets, looked after people’s gardens, visited the elderly and was unfailingly courteous and uncomplaining.

    He was born in the People’s Democratic Republic of Congo (a French colonial territory). He emigrated to France but racist attitudes there led him to take a chance in the UK. He was illegal because his French citizenship had not been finalized. He lived here for nine years working hard and never claiming any benefits. Eventually, noises from the Home Office made life intolerable – even for Roland. I drove him and his few belongings back to France. Our lives were the richer for having known him and the poorer for having lost him.

    I don’t think that I could have lived his life as cheerfully and well as he did. But he was illegal and had a conspicuous skin tone, so we got rid of him. You have to be desperate to leave home, family, language, customs, your normal food, shelter and the rest to flee to a country where you have nothing.

    Roland and others like him will never appear on the census. I wish you could have met him, Janet.

  3. Anne D

    Thank you very much indeed for your contribution PPJS, from your own experiece.
    My only quibble with the census is that it only seems to recognise employment/work which is paid. Looking around Abingdon, as in any town, there are so, so many people working within/for organisations/charities in so many ways – giving hours of their time on a regular basis. There seems to be no way for this huge contribution to the common good to be recorded/reflected in the census

    1. Abi south

      Its is not captured by the census because it is irrelevant to the census. The aim is to take a snapshot of the country over time for planning and historical reference. Salaries, jobs, religion, ethnicity, gender, age etc all contribute to this. While community work and volunteering is extremely valuable to society it is not something that will factor into planning/infrastructure allocation.


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