Census 2011: Irish in Britain Response
Achieving better representation of the Irish population in Britain has been a key priority for Irish in Britain. We played an integral role in lobbying for an Irish category to be introduced into the ethnic question for the first time in the 2001 survey. More recently we ran the How Irish Are You? Campaign in relation to the 2011 Census to encourage the Irish community from first and subsequent generations to tick the Irish box when asked about their heritage.
The 2011 census provided the best chance to gain the fullest picture of the community’s current make up in national statistics.
Irish identities in England were measured in a number of ways in Census 2011, and each question asked delivered slightly different totals. These identity–related statistics were released by in December 2012.
View Local Characteristics Tables for Census 2011
Successful lobbying of ONS to provide Irish health data
In May 2013, Irish in Britain had cause to complain to ONS about a Census 2011 table containing important data on health. Because of issues around disclosure the data was presented using 5 ethnic categories rather than the whole 18. One of these 5 was the White category, and, since this was not broken down into its constituent parts – one of which was White Irish category – data on the Irish remained invisible.
Following this complaint there were exchanges between Irish in Britain and ONS where the organisation explained its concerns to ONS and where ONS demonstrated a willingness to be as helpful as possible, within the confines of regulations concerning disclosure. As a result, ONS statisticians took an important decision. This was that, in any situation where a 5 category analysis was used, the White category would be broken down into its constituent parts: ‘White English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British’, ‘White Irish’, ‘Gypsy or Irish Traveller’, ‘Any Other White background’, making the ‘White Irish’ data visible.