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Census 2011 - Specialist Products


Microdata are small samples of data for whole households and individuals, which include some associated census characteristics but no information that could identify a household or individual.

As with previous Censuses, NISRA is committed to producing Microdata Samples of Anonymised Records (SARs) from the 2011 Census. This work is being advanced collaboratively with the other UK Census Offices and in conjunction with key users.

Teaching File

This file contains anonymised records on a limited set of variables for a random sample of 1 per cent of people in the 2011 Census output database for Northern Ireland. It is considerably less detailed than the file made available under end-user licence in 2001. It constitutes a 'taster' file, of particular use in teaching and is freely available for anyone to download under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

How to access the data

The Microdate Teaching File was published on 23 January 2014 and is available to download from the NINIS website:

More information on the teaching file can be found in the:

Secure Files

The secure microdata files consist of random samples of 10 per cent of people or households in the 2011 Census output database for Northern Ireland.

There are two secure microdata files:

  • an individual file which includes person level data on over 220 variables for over 180,000 individuals. The lowest level of geography available is Local Government District (LGD). Records include those resident in households and communal establishments.
  • a household file which includes person and household level data on over 200 variables for over 180,000 individuals within more than 74,000 households.
How to access the data

The secure microdata files represent the products with the highest level of detail and the largest sample size. They are protected by the highest level of access limitation and initially will be only available to approved researchers via the safe-setting within NISRA Headquarters, McAuley House. Other arrangements are being made across the rest of the UK.

To get access to the secure file you will need to submit a project proposal, become an approved researcher, complete safe researcher training and obtain BPSS security clearance. We have a dedicated team of Research Support Officers who can guide you through the process.

Safeguarded Files

The safeguarded microdata files consist of random samples of up to 5 per cent of individuals in the 2011 Census output database for Northern Ireland.

Two microdata safeguarded files will be available:

  • a file at the region level i.e. Northern Ireland; and
  • a file at a grouped LGD level, which will be at a lower level of geography but have less detail than the region file.

The regional file is currently planned for release in January/February 2015. The content of the grouped LGD file is currently being assessed by our Disclosure Control Team to ensure the data is sufficiently protected, more detail on the content of this file will be made available when this work is complete.

Access via UK Data Service

The safeguarded samples will be made available via download through the UK Data Service. Researchers wishing to use the UK Data Service will need to register and accept terms and conditions before accessing and downloading data.

All users must agree to the terms and conditions of the UK Data Service End User Licence before data can be accessed and downloaded.

Find out how to register at the UK Data Service.