Today is Census Day.
Once every ten years, we in the UK have to fill out a census. The Office for National Statistics will collect, collate and condense the data into little vats that will be easily digestible so government bodies and local authorities can plan for the future. Plus, the results are released (in a generic sense) for the general public to see how the UK is evolving.
So what will Census 2011 reveal? What do I think?
Well, I think our birth rates will show a slight increase. At the moment we have the fourth or fifth highest birth rate in the EU, but it has been steadily increasing. Will we hit the magical 2.0 children per woman? Who knows? But my generation is having children, anecdotal evidence shows this. As a generation we are far more open to that idea, and it is not just career but family that also permeates our minds.
London's population will probably be booming. Probably around the 7.8 million mark (from 7.2 million in 2001). Now that may not seem like a lot, but for a city that does not have the development of Mumbai or Shanghai, over 500,000 people in ten years is a massive figure. And something that the planners have not yet got to grips with. Sort it out Mayor Boris! It is only a matter of time until we hit the 8 million mark...
I expect employment to be down. Hopefully this is only a blip, but the recession will show up in the Census data this year, as more people will be putting unemployed or studying on their forms.
And I expect car use to have remained stagnant. Again, a reflection of the current economic times with the added factor of booming petrol prices. The census will probably show more people using public transport, motorbikes or cycles to get to work.
Religion will be interesting. In 2001, the Jedi's took over the census, but this will probably not return this year. But along with your personal relationship, this is one of the few bits on the census that does not incur a fine if not answered, so I expect a lot of people to not even bother.
Most of all, I expect the Census to be wildly inaccurate. We know that what we write down will be visible in 100 years time. So in the best traditions of Britain, expect a lot more keeping up with the Joneses. Our census forms will not be outright lies, but we will definitely tweak our responses to look far more respectable that we actually are...