Skip navigation

Counting the population or describing society? A comparison of English and Welsh and French censuses

Counting the population or describing society? A comparison of English and Welsh and French censuses

Coast, Ernestina, Fanghanel, Alexandra ORCID: 0000-0002-4041-561X, Lelievre, Eva and Randall, Sara (2016) Counting the population or describing society? A comparison of English and Welsh and French censuses. European Journal of Population, 32 (2). pp. 165-188. ISSN 0168-6577 (Print), 1572-9885 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10680-015-9372-y)

[img]
Preview
PDF (Open Access Article)
30151 FANGHANEL_Counting_The_Population_Or_Describing_Society_(OA)_2016.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (494kB) | Preview

Abstract

Data collected at household level in censuses are used for a wide range of purposes including practical planning and academic analysis of changing social conditions. Comparability is a core demographic value, and to understand the limits of the comparability of census data across time and space, it is important to recognise if, how and why, concepts and definitions change between censuses. This paper examines definitions of the household in censuses in England and Wales (E&W) and France from 1960 to 2012 in order to investigate how census definitions have changed and to examine the drivers of such changes. Two research methods were used: (1) longitudinal analyses of census documentation since the 1960s and (2) in-depth interviews with key informants oriented around respondents’ roles in the collection and/or use of household data from censuses and surveys. We identify two contrasting national approaches to the data collection exercise that is called a census, which reflect political and institutional differences. These differences call into question the comparability of some aspects of census data across national boundaries, despite increased harmonisation of approaches to data collection. By comparing the evolution of the definitions of the “household” in censuses, we develop insight into the diversity of the priorities of census commissioners and designers, and consider the broader implications of this for producing comparable data.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: demography, france, england, wales, census
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Law & Criminology (LAC)
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2020 13:57
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/30151

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics