The most recent Census in Northern Ireland took place on Sunday 27 March 2011. This was the same date as the rest of the UK
to help produce consistent results for the UK as a whole, as well as for each country.
Legislation is required to allow the Census to take place: a Census Order and Regulations,
which are approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Why do we have a Census?
The census is unique as it provides important information on the population and nature of Northern Ireland as well as small areas and population groups.
This information is used extensively across the public, private and voluntary sectors and has many important uses including:
Acting as a benchmark for demographic statistics by providing a base count of the population;
Informing policy and funding decisions, and supporting delivery and evaluation work across all parts
of Government, including housing, education, health, transport and emergency services;
Providing a base for population and housing projections, which are required for planning and decision
making for front line services between censuses;
Supporting equality monitoring by providing demographic information for geographical areas and
Identifying and targeting areas of need and disadvantage;
Benchmarking and improving the quality of information collected from other data sources such as
administrative systems, address registers and sample surveys;
Providing information on small population subgroups, such as ethnic minority populations, for which
sample surveys cannot provide robust statistics; and