Poly and trans folk and the Census

I rather suspect that for both these categories, the demographic is so vanishingly small that it will disappear into the noise, but having filled in the Census last night I was interested in how some of the data is processed, so I fired off a Freedom of Information request.

Firstly, poly households:

1a) If a household consists of a polygamous relationship, will the data be accepted by the Census system? For example, if P1 and P2 are married or in a civil partnership and P3 indicates they are a partner of both P1 and P2, is this considered a valid response or will the “partner” response be ignored and not entered?

1b) If the data will be accepted and entered into the census computer systems, will it be either reported on or (In summary form) available via an FoI request?

In short: Will you be able to answer the question “How many poly households are there in the UK?” I doubt many people will accurately answer the question so the ONS figures won’t mean much. However, I don’t know if there have been any previous surveys in this area. (If anyone is aware of any, let me know!)

Having just started to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I do wonder if there are more people quietly getting on with their lives in such relationships than is usually reported on. Even more so than Trans issues, there doesn’t seem to be much of a poly community because stable poly relationships tend not to be the kind of thing one can really seek out. They just kind of happen and people are either open to being poly or not.

Someone is bound to disagree with me on the previous paragraph so I’ll caveat it now: In my own opinion, of course.

(Our census has been done on paper. Does anyone know if the online version restricts your answers at all and would not allow the response I’ve described above?)

Secondly question:

2) If there is an apparent mismatch between the indicated sex and marital status of individuals, how will this be entered into the system and handled? For example, if two individuals indicate sex as female but also indicate they are married, will this be entered into the census system as a marriage or as a same-sex civil partnership?

Translation: How many people are so militantly pro-equal-marriage that they’ll tick “married” despite technically being civil partnered. (And Vice-Versa, but I guess that’s a smaller group) There will also be people who have transitioned but have not received a GRC as they do not wish to divorce or are unable to obtain a GRC for any of the myriad other reasons, but there is no way of distinguishing between these two groups from census return data.

I expect to be disappointed with the response – I generally am with FoI requests like this – but they are potentially interesting topics if something useful does come of it.

6 comments

    1. Err, how can “householder” be ambiguous?

      But yes, lots of people seem to have had genuine problems figuring it out. It’s not even 100% clear if they meant people staying overnight Saturday/Sunday or Sunday/Monday. (I chose to interpret it as the latter)

      1. Well it’s some language along the lines of someone who’s responsible for the tenancy and paying the bills.

        Surely in most shared houses, everyone is on a shared tenancy, and jointly responsible for paying the bills?

    1. Yup, changed it from a Typogryph-based theme a few days ago as I wasn’t liking the general layout so much any more, in particular the fonts, and line spacing.

      Seems to have worked, people are more willing to comment here now. (Or I’ve just got my blogging Mojo back in the last few days)

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