What is the census?
The census provides information on the size and characteristics of the population of Jersey. It is the Island’s biggest statistics gathering exercise. It asks everyone the same questions on the same day, to get a snapshot of the population. The figures help shape everyone’s future as the basis for effective public services for the next decade.
Why do we have a census?
The census is used to provide a count of the population of Jersey at a point in time. The census finds out basic population characteristics such as age, gender and tenure of residents in Jersey.
This information is vital to help our government prioritise policies, allocate resources and plan services according to the needs of the Island. Services which rely on census data for future planning include:
- health services
- transport services
Who uses the statistics?
Census statistics provide valuable information for government and private organisations as well as the general public. For example:
- government departments rely on accurate population data in order to plan and develop public services
- the age structure of the population is important for planning and prioritising health and social services, including pension provision
- information about travel to and from work and car ownership highlights the pressures on the transport system and how road and public transport could be improved to meet local needs
- the basic structure of the population of Jersey is a vital baseline to ensure the accuracy of sample surveys (for example the Jersey Annual Social Survey)
- census data provides a baseline for the Statistics Unit's annual population update, which also uses information from schools, health and the labour market to calculate the year to year changes in the population level
- schools need to plan for the future using accurate data on numbers of women of child-bearing age and fertility rates
- businesses use population data in order to define the local market and labour force
- census information is publicly available in aggregate (grouped) form. Genealogists and family members use 100 year old census data to explore family histories
The first formal Jersey Census was held in 1821, when 26,800 people were found to be living in Jersey. Up until 1971 censuses in Jersey were carried out every 10 years and then every 5 years until 2001. In 2006 the States of Jersey took the decision to return to a 10-yearly census.
Why can't you get all this census information from other government data sources?
The census is unique because it is the only survey to include everyone in the Island. It asks the same questions of us all and in doing so builds a reliable picture of Jersey as a whole, as well as groups of people and local communities within it.
The information that the census provides is not currently available from other sources.