By Kathrin Levitan (auth.)
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Additional resources for A Cultural History of the British Census: Envisioning the Multitude in the Nineteenth Century
34 The government considered the 1801 census to be only partially successful, for some parishes did not send in returns. ”35 The innovations established in the 1811 census were thus ones of method, not content, and were meant to address the confusions that had resulted in 1801. Instead of asking for the numbers of people involved in different trades, the new schedules asked for the numbers of families. 36 The concern indicates that the government was primarily interested in what the local economy was based on and the general strength of the wartime economy, not in what individual people did.
Extending . . ”91 If numerical strength was important on the international scale, the other particulars would be important domestically, and would aid the government in legislating for the population. Since the administrators of the census were aware that the new method might be considered intrusive and would prove unpopular with some people, they promised that the individual results would be kept entirely confidential and would not be used for any purpose other than compiling an abstract of the whole.
77 The 1841 census and those following were conducted by this office, and the men who worked there had a great deal of control over the directions in which the census developed. The individual who had the greatest influence over the mid- century censuses was Dr. 78 He joined the RG as the head of the Statistical Department almost immediately after it was founded, and his duties there encompassed the preparation of the Office’s abstracts as well as the writing of most of the weekly, quarterly, and annual reports.