Following on from my recent post on how the Office for National Statistics “corrects” peoples gender and marital status in the Census, I asked them how often this had happened in the most recent three censuses.
They don’t know.
I’m finding it a little strange that the ONS would have their computers correct data in this way and not track how often it is occurring. The ONS previously claimed that “…the majority of respondents recording themselves as being in a polygamous relationship in a UK census do so erroneously, for example, ticking the wrong box for one household member on the relationships question.” Given that they do not track any information on such responses, their “recognition” that such relationships don’t exist may boil down to “Well, nobody who works here is in such a relationship, so they can’t possibly exist”.
(The answer they provided makes reference to impudation, but it’s a generic measure tracking overall error rates in the census, based on a more detailed follow up survey to check the results. It does not appear particularly relevant to the question.)
Yes, there’s also a follow up FoI request I have just submitted, asking what other corrections are made and how they are justified.