a highly mobile population
We consider the problems faced by some Local Authorities
in estimating their highly mobile populations. We note that there
were substantial problems in generating accurate population estimates
in some areas during the 2001 Census. We also consider the methods
used to estimate local populations between each census and conclude
that such estimates (mid-year population estimates) are not fit
for purpose as they fail to properly account for internal migration.
We raise concerns that the allocation of funding to Local Authorities
could be based on inadequate information. We recommend that the
new Statistics Authority establish as an immediate priority the
provision of local population statistics that more accurately
reflect the full range of information available about local populations
and the effects of internal migration.
Short-term migration and the International Passenger
We discuss the usefulness of the mid-year population
estimates, based on the 'usually resident' population. We highlight
that such estimates do not include short-term migrants. and do
not fully meet the needs of Local Authorities and commercial users.
We call on the Statistics Authority to investigate the feasibility
of producing population estimates based on different measures
of population, such as estimates which include short-term migrants
and estimates which include the day-time population of Local Authorities.
We raise concern about use of the International Passenger Survey
in estimating international migration. We conclude that the Survey
is not fit for this new purpose and recommend that the Statistics
Authority replace the International Passenger Survey with a new
Survey that is more comprehensive and more suited to the accurate
measurement of international movements affecting the size of the
resident population of the United Kingdom.
We note that the development of computerised administrative
records in the UK has moved on rapidly in recent years and the
Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 has established conditions
under which such information could be used for statistical purposes.
We recommend that the Government work with the Statistics Authority
to ensure that strong ethical safeguards are put in place to protect
the personal information held by Government departments. We also
call on the Statistics Authority to set out the action that the
Authority will take to develop the Government's administrative
databases to provide a more accurate and cost effective method
of monitoring the population.
National address register
We note that the accuracy of the 2011 Census is dependent
on the production of a national address register. We raise concern
that no progress has been made to develop such a register. We
recommend that the Government consult the Statistics Authority
and others to remove any outstanding obstacles to the production
of a national address register.
The future of the Census
We assess the current challenges facing the Statistics
Authority in conducting the 2011 Census and conclude that the
traditional census has almost had its day. We recommend that
the Statistics Authority set strategic objectives to ensure that
the data currently gathered throughout the UK can be used to produce
annual population statistics that are of a quality that will enable
the 2011 Census to be the last census in the UK where the population
is counted through the collection of census forms.