THE CENTRAL Statistics Office has explained why a question about distance travelled to work or school – which had revealed the spread of “commuterland” in 2006 – was dropped from this year’s census form.
A spokesman said Census 2011 would “still capture this information” because one question on the form asked people for the name and address of their place of work, school or college. This would be “geocoded” with home addresses.
“Consequently, with the new information, we will be able to provide great detail on daily commuting patterns [ie distance travelled, mode of transport used, time taken and time leaving home],” the spokesman said.
Referring to a suggestion that there should have been a question on “happiness/well-being”, he said the content of the census form was decided by a process whereby the CSO invited submissions from the public and interested organisations.
“Subsequently, a census advisory group was formed in October 2008, comprising representatives from central and local government, research bodies, the universities, social partners and relevant CSO staff.” This group examined 91 submissions and decided which questions should be tested in a census pilot in April 2009, involving 11,400 households in 32 enumeration areas. It then made its recommendations.
A question on “happiness/well-being” was not recommended by the group. However, it did recommend the inclusion of the general health question in Census 2011, which was strongly advocated by the Department of Health.
The CSO said it would undertake a publicly advertised consultation on content in advance of the next census. “As yet the Government has not indicated the date of the next census, but the consultation usually takes place approximately three years in advance.”