2009 Census Rehearsal

Further information on the planning and evaluation of the 2009 Census Rehearsal, including the rehearsal questionnaire.

To make sure the 2011 Census on 27 March 2011 ran smoothly, NISRA carried out a trial, a dress rehearsal, to test our systems and processes.



The rehearsal took place on Sunday 11 October 2009 in two areas of Northern Ireland – Derriaghy and Moy & Benburb, and included some 5,000 households. They were chosen as rehearsal areas because together they highlighted how well census processes and systems worked in both urban and rural areas.

The rehearsal was voluntary, and we relied on the public’s co-operation to make it a success. Participation in the rehearsal meant we were able to test our processes to ensure that the 2011 Census worked well.

Online responses

For the first time, you were able to complete your census questionnaire online, and the rehearsal tested this facility. In 2011 you had the option of completing and returning a paper questionnaire, or submitting your questionnaire online.

Rehearsal timeline
Month Activity
  • Posting of pre-delivery card (21 September 2009)
  • Start of questionnaire delivery (28 September 2009)
  • 2009 Census Rehearsal Day (11 October 2009)
  • Census questionnaire return deadline (21 October 2009)
  • Start of field follow-up (21 October 2009)
  • End of census collection period (20 November 2009)